Youth offending teams have made a good start in addressing
offending by young people, but a lack of joint working with social
services is leaving vulnerable children at risk, inspections have
found, writes Paul Stephenson.
The first annual report of the Yot inspection programme, led by
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation, found that many of
the children and young people seen by Yot staff were in need of
protection and safeguarding. However, even in the cases of looked
after children, liaison with social services only occurred in 61
per cent of cases.
The report, based on the first 11 inspections of Yots, says the
inspectors heard “anecdotal evidence from YOT staff that only
children and young people at the highest and most immediate risk
were accepted as referrals”. It says this did not allow for
intervention where there was significant need.
Overall, the inspectors found Yots were fulfilling their role in
preventing offending, helped by effective partnership working. Only
26 per cent of cases examined by inspectors had re-offended during
the course of their contact with the Yot, and 61 per cent said they
had “definitely” stopped offending.
The Yots were praised for the “creatively designed
intervention programmes” which provided opportunities to
challenge offending behaviour. In one Yot, children and young
people met the victims of road traffic accidents as part of a
project focusing on vehicle crime.
John Coughlan, Telford and Wrekin social services director and
Association of Directors of Social Services lead on youth crime,
said the concerns about lack of referrals were worrying, but
probably reflected the pressures on children’s services.
He said: “The pressure on mainstream children’s
services is intense at the moment. It may reflect prioritising
around younger children or older children with needs.”
Annual report from:-