Agenda item

Gloucestershire Youth Offending Service (YOS) Recovery Plan

The committee discussed the HMIP Inspection Report at its meeting on 5 March 2020.



At its meeting on 5 March 2020, the committee considered the Gloucestershire Youth Offending Partnership Improvement Plan, published in February 2020 in response to HM Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) inspection of the Gloucestershire Youth Offending Service in October 2019.


HMIP is an independent inspectorate, reporting on the quality of services and effectiveness of work with adults and children and young people who are sentenced by the courts. The findings are reported to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the Youth Justice Board (YJB).


The findings of the inspection carried out in October 2019 rated the service as ‘Requiring Improvement’. The HMIP report had highlighted many positive aspects of Gloucestershire’s Youth Justice Service and had been one point short of being rated ‘Good’. Ratings are based on 3 broad areas; (i) the arrangements for organisational delivery of the service; (ii) the quality of work done with children and young people that have been sentenced by the courts; and (iii) the quality of out-of-court disposal work.


To view the discussion at the committee meeting on 5 March 2020, (including the final HMIP inspection report), please refer to the link on published on the Gloucestershire County Council (GGC) website here.


Andy Dempsey: Director of Partnerships and Strategy at GCC, gave an update on the progress of the recovery planning, (relaxed in the Autumn in response to the Covid-19 pandemic), and introduced the Gloucestershire YOS Recovery Plan published in September 2020, setting out the working arrangements for representatives on the Gloucestershire Youth Justice Partnership Board to respond to the challenges of Covid-19.


Commending the work of the newly appointed Head of Service: Youth Justice and Community, Karon McCarthy, it was explained that the recovery plan should be considered as a ‘response’ document rather than as a recovery plan at this current time.


Key comments made during the discussion, included:


a)    Prior to the national easing of duties, the response to the HMIP inspection in 2019 had been very positive in relation to overall delivery of the Gloucestershire Youth Offending Service;


b)    Given the impact of the pandemic and noting the reduction in offending during the first period of lockdown, it was still too early to report on the medium to long term improvements anticipated from the recovery proposals;


c)    Responding to concerns about the impact of the pandemic on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, it was agreed efforts to gain/maintain the trust of young (BAME) offenders would be a critical piece of work for the Partnership Board going forward. A member suggested this aspect of work form part of regular updates to the committee regarding the YOS recovery process – Action by Andy Dempsey


d)    The suggestion that staff receive supplementary training on working with young offenders from BAME communities was noted. Acknowledging concerns about increased levels of anxieties when experiencing trauma or change, members were reassured that every effort was being made to give young offenders, (from all backgrounds), the support they needed and made to feel safe. It was agreed to pursue feasible options for providing BAME related training. Action by Karon McCarthy: Head of Service, Youth Justice and Community.


e)    Questioning the impact of the pandemic on the health and wellbeing of GCC staff, members were reassured that frontline staff benefitted from careful supervision and given the necessary support if experiencing stress or illness;


f)     Determined not to let the momentum slip on progressing the recovery process, it was reported that the multi-agency youth justice partnership board had continued to meet, (via remote access), throughout the pandemic and had received regular reports on performance;


g)    One positive impact highlighted during the pandemic had been the work of the Children First Diversionary Programme in successfully alleviating the backlog of court cases experienced in other localities and minimising the risk of young people re-offending.


The update was noted, supplemented by the suggestion that data gathered following publication of the recovery plan be included in regular updates to the committee. Monitoring the progress of the recovery plan, (including any actions taken in response to the pandemic), to be added to the committee work plan as an item for consideration at future meetings. Action by – Andrea Clarke

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