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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 24 February, 2014

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

HM Inspectorate of Probation Inspection Report: Quality Screening by the Youth Offending Service in the Vale of Glamorgan

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To inform Cabinet that HM Inspectorate of Probation has published its report following a Short Quality Screening Inspection of youth offending work in the Vale of Glamorgan undertaken in December 2013. 

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet notes the content of the inspection report, which highlights the substantial improvements made by the Youth Offending Service since the previous Core Case Inspection in 2010.

2.         That Cabinet refers the report to the Housing and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1 &2  To ensure that members of the Cabinet and Housing and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee are able to exercise effective oversight of the Youth Offending Service (YOS) and to achieve continuing improvements in performance.

Background

2.         The Crime and Disorder Act 1998, Section 39(1) placed a duty on each Local Authority, acting with its statutory partners (Police, Probation and Health) to establish Youth Offending Teams in their local area to deliver youth justice services. 

3.         The YOS is the main vehicle through which youth justice services in the local authority area are coordinated and delivered.  The YOS Management Board, made up of senior representatives from each of the statutory partners, oversees the operation of the service and the funding arrangements.  It is currently chaired by the Director of Social Services.

4.         Youth Offending Services are subject to inspection by HM Inspectorate of Probation, which provides assurance to Government Ministers and to the public regarding the effectiveness of work with those who offend or are likely to offend.

5.         An Inspectorate team undertook a Short Quality Screening Inspection of youth offending work in the Vale of Glamorgan in December 2013.  A copy of the inspection report is attached at Appendix A and the inspection criteria at Appendix B.

6.         Approximately thirty Short Quality Screening Inspections are carried out a year, all of them at very short notice.  Full Joint Inspections are now normally reserved for Youth Offending Services whose performance gives cause for concern.

Relevant Issues and Options

7.         The Short Quality Screening Inspection focuses on four themes:

·               Reducing the likelihood of re-offending

·               Protecting the public

·               Protecting the child or young person

·               Ensuring that the sentence is served.

8.         The inspectors concluded that children and young people are being well served by the quality of assessments, reports and plans being produced by the Vale of Glamorgan YOS.  Staff are committed to delivering high quality services and are well supported in their work by management and a range of partners.  Despite carrying a vacancy for a considerable period of time, there is effective management oversight in place regarding improvement activity, which underpins good practice.  Inspectors judged staff supervision and quality assurance arrangements had made a positive impact in almost all of the cases inspected.

9.         The key strengths identified during the inspection were:

·               the quality of Pre Sentence Reports (PSRs) prepared for the Court;

·               the engagement of children and young people and parents/carers in assessments;

·               risk of harm and vulnerability issues were being managed effectively in most cases; and

·               clear attention was being given to addressing sentence compliance and non-engagement issues.

10.      Good practice was identified in a number of cases, as highlighted within the report.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

11.      The performance reported in the attached report was achieved within allocated resources.  Members will be aware that the funding arrangements for the YOS are complex and dependent upon high levels of external grant funding, which is potentially at risk of reduction and cuts.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

12.      There are no sustainability or climate change implications as a result of this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

13.      The YOS is a statutory service as required by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. It is a highly regulated, non-devolved service overseen by the Ministry of Justice via the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales.

Crime and Disorder Implications

14.      The work of the YOS assists in the reduction of crime by children and young people.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

15.      The only area identified as requiring further improvement was in relation to integrating diversity issues into assessments and plans.  The Youth Offending Service intends to address this issue through additional training for staff during the course of the next twelve months.

Corporate/Service Objectives

16.      Corporate Plan 2013-17 outcome: 'Residents and citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan feel safe and are safe within their community'.

Policy Framework and Budget

17.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

18.      The provision of Youth Offending Services is a Vale wide responsibility and there are no specific implications for individual wards.  The YOS Management Board is aware of the inspection report.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

19.         19.       Housing and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee.

Background Papers

20.         20.       None.

Contact Officer:

Paula Barnett, YOS Manager

Officers Consulted:

Members of the Youth Offending Service Management Board

Rachel Evans, Head of Children and Young People Services

Responsible Officer

Phillip Evans, Director of Social Services

 

 

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