Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Youth Offending Team (YOT) has been rated ‘Outstanding’ by HM Inspectorate of Probation.
The multi-agency service supports children and young people who receive out of court disposals, statutory court orders and custodial remands or sentences. It sees the Council, the Police, the Probation Service and local health services work together to keep people safe, reduce reoffending, and help children and young people stay out of the justice system.
Inspectors awarded the service the highest overall rating of ‘Outstanding’ following a four-day inspection in September 2020.
What did inspectors find?
The YOT was inspected across three key areas - organisational delivery, court disposals and out-of-court disposals.
Inspectors praised the ‘strong partnership’ of the team which enables them to address priority concerns. They also recognised that ‘highly motivated’ staff are delivering ‘excellent’ services to children and families, managers have ‘high aspirations’ for children and ‘a good understanding of their needs and how best to meet them’.
When assessing the quality of work done with children sentenced by the courts, inspectors were impressed by the way children and their parents or carers were ‘meaningfully involved’ in the assessment, planning, delivery and reviewing of interventions to prevent reoffending.
The team's assessments were ‘well balanced, focusing equally on the welfare of children and managing risk of harm to others’. The consideration given to victims and restorative justice by the YOT was also highlighted as a strength.
In cases of out-of-court disposals, inspectors noted the attention given to the child’s understanding, and that of their parents and carers, of the implications of receiving an out-of-court disposal, such as a caution. The quality of joint working arrangements with the police was also highly rated.
What does the Council think of the rating?
The Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Lisa Evans, said: “The ‘Outstanding’ rating is a huge credit to the Youth Offending Team and their work with children, young people and their families to reduce and prevent youth crime and keep people in the Borough safe.
“Of course, it’s also testament to the strong working relationships we have with our partner organisations. It’s their shared dedication to support young people through difficult circumstances as well as take into consideration the need for justice that has helped to secure this rating.
“I’d like to congratulate the team on this fantastic achievement. I’m sure it’s a proud moment for them and I am very pleased to see them continuing at such high standards to protect our communities and improve the future prospects of our young people.”