Home Children and Young People Praise for Knowsley’s Youth Offending Service

Praise for Knowsley’s Youth Offending Service

by Cathy Sheel

Knowsley’s Youth Offending Service (YOS) has been rated ‘Good’ by HM Inspectorate of Probation following a week-long visit in January 2023.

The inspection included a review of the arrangements for organisational delivery of the service, the quality of work done with children sentenced by the courts, and the quality of out-of-court disposal work.

The overall inspection rating was “Good”, but five areas were judged to be “Outstanding” including staff, assessment (both court disposals and out of court disposals), planning, implementation and delivery.

Cllr Margaret Harvey, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said “I am delighted with the positive outcome of this inspection and that the hard work and efforts of our team have been recognised. I have read many inspection reports in my time and this one really stands out to me as highlighting areas of really positive practice.”

Inspectors noted:-

  • The YOS Board is clear about the vision for the service and the Chair demonstrates a depth of knowledge and is driving the performance of the board forward.
  • The assessment of children on court and out-of-court disposals was of a consistently high standard and the YOS has an excellent understanding of what is required to assess and engage children and families.
  • Health services provided through an integrated health and wellbeing team are of a high standard.
  • Staff and managers take a ‘child first’ approach and know their children well.
  • YOS staff who work in court are knowledgeable, effective and proactive.
  • Assessment activity was consistently strong across children’s desistance (the process of abstaining from crime).
  • Case managers had built strong relationships with the children and their families.
  • The service manager is an inspirational leader who has prioritised the wellbeing of staff during a period of organisational change.
  • Staff and volunteers feel valued and the service promotes a culture of care and compassion both for its staff and for the children and families that it works with.

Inspectors recognised the establishment of the Prevention Team, with investment of £650,000 from the Council, demonstrating the borough-wide commitment to intervening at the earliest opportunity to support children who are on the cusp of criminality and exploitation.

Cllr Harvey added “Inspectors noted the strong relationships between our staff, children and families and that we understand the child’s needs. It was also pleasing to receive the positive feedback from the Court highlighting our staff’s knowledge and comprehensive reports including detailed recommendations on disposals. This really is an incredibly positive report and our staff should, quite rightly, be proud of their achievements.”