High praise for Sussex Youth Offending Team

THE WORK of the East Sussex Youth Offending Team has been praised by Government inspectors.

After a rigorous inspection of services, the HM Inspectorate of Probation said the team was making full and effective use of resources to support and help young people.

It had also developed ‘a wide range of high-quality interventions supported by strong partnership working’.

In the inspection findings Andrew Briggs, HM Chief Inspector of Probation, said the results were ‘encouraging’. Furthermore, he added he was confident the YOT was able to improve further.

The findings were welcomed by the Chief Executive of East Sussex County Council and Chair of the East Sussex YOT, Becky Shaw.

She said, “Overall I am delighted with these findings.

“I know how hard YOT staff work to support and help young people - to divert them away from offending and on to a more positive path. But to have that endorsed by independent inspectors is especially pleasing.

“The work of the team can be extremely complex with the circumstances and needs of individual young people often very different. ”

Cllr David Elkin, county council lead member for children’s and adults’ services, also welcomed the results but acknowledged improvements still needed to be made.

He added, “These results are indeed very encouraging and are a testament to the hard work of the team and volunteers who support them. We will not be complacent, however.”

The YOT is a partnership that brings together workers from the county children’s services department, Sussex Police, probation service, NHS and voluntary sector.

Its aim is to prevent children and young people aged 10–17 from offending.

The inspectors carrying out the Core Case Inspection of youth offending work in the county spent a week examining more than 60 cases and interviewing case managers.

A total of 89 young people completed a questionnaire and 11 victims were asked to comment on the service they received from the YOT.

The vast majority told inspectors they felt positive about the service and felt less likely to reoffend as a result of their involvement with the YOT. Equally, all victims felt their needs had been into account and they had a chance to talk about worries.

Overall the inspection findings showed East Sussex YOT was performing above the national average across the three key areas of focus.

In terms of its work protecting young people the YOT was performing well enough 70% of the time (68% national average), while in respect of actions to protect the public it was performing well 66% of the time (63% national average).

The work being done to make each individual less likely to re-offend was done well enough 76% of the time (70% national average).

The inspection report also highlighted areas where the YOT could improve its performance including more work to ensure improved assessment and sentence planning procedures were fully implemented. It concluded moderate improvement was required in the YOT’s work protecting children and the public, and only minimal improvement to its work preventing re-offending.