Published: Thursday, 4th June 2020

Medway’s Youth Offending Team is making ‘determined’ efforts to improve its work with children and young people who have offended.

HM Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) carried out a routine inspection of the Medway Youth Offending Team (YOT) between 24 and 28 February 2020 and published the report on 4 June 2020.

YOTs work with 10–17-year-olds who have either been sentenced by a court or who have come to the attention of the police because of their offending behaviour, but have not been charged and instead dealt with out of court.

Medway has a Youth Justice Partnership Board in place to oversee the work of the YOT. The board is made up of representatives from key agencies including local authority social care and education services, the police, the National Probation Service and local health services. The primary focus of the board is to  support children to move away from offending.

During the inspection, HMIP looked at 12 aspects of the YOT’s work and made five recommendations in their report, which will support Medway YOT and its partner agencies with the ongoing improvement work to further support the needs of the young people it works with.

HMIP gave an overall rating of ‘Requires Improvement’, however, inspectors did recognise that the YOT works well in a number of key areas and is making steady progress to develop service provision.

Inspectors noted that senior managers demonstrated ‘willingness and ability to advocate for children and young people to achieve the best outcomes for them’ and that they saw examples of ‘excellent case management and practitioners working well to understand the behaviour of children and young people and their aspirations for the future’.

The report also recognises that Medway’s YOT has a strong commitment to improving the service.

We are committed to improving the lives of the young people we work with

James Williams, Director of Public Health at Medway Council and chair of The Youth Justice Partnership Board, said: “We are pleased that HMIP inspectors recognised the efforts of the Youth Offending Service to support the needs of young people and that we make an ‘effective contribution’ to out-of-court processes. The team have worked hard to reduce reoffending and I am pleased this is recognised in the report. However, we recognise that further improvements are needed. We have a robust improvement plan in place. We will continue to work with our partners in the Youth Justice Improvement Board to ensure the recommendations continue to be implemented as quickly as possible. This report will help us to improve our collaboration and ensure children and young people who have offended are receiving the most appropriate support from the relevant agency. We are committed to improving the lives of the children and young people we are working with.”

We want every child in Medway to achieve their full potential

Cllr Josie Iles, Leader Member for Children’s Services at Medway Council, said: “Medway is a popular place to bring up a family as it remains safe and offers opportunities and support for young people to thrive. Unfortunately some young people do find themselves on the wrong path, however the overall rate of children and young people entering the criminal justice system in Medway is small.

“Although it is disappointing that our overall outcome on the support we provide for young offenders requires improvement, it is encouraging that we were one point away from a more positive rating. We have already started working on the inspectors’ recommendations to make immediate improvements and we would welcome them back in the coming month to view our progress.

“We want every child in Medway to achieve their full potential and our YOT is dedicated to helping young people break patterns of offending and support them to change their behaviour to build a brighter future.”

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