Councillors have given their backing to an action plan to further improve the already 'Good' rated Wolverhampton Youth Offending Team (YOT).

Members of HM Inspectorate of Probation visited Wolverhampton in October to assess the services provided by the multi agency team, comprising staff from health, social care and education services, the police and the National Probation Service who work with 10 to 17 year olds involved in the criminal justice system. 

They inspected the YOT across 3 broad areas: 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. 

They highlighted its ‘committed and dedicated’ staff and rated the service ‘Good’ overall, with 5 specific aspects judged to be 'Outstanding', 6 'Good' and one 'Requiring Improvement'. The quality of resettlement policy and provision was also inspected and separately rated as ‘Outstanding’.

Inspectors found 'an effective service, with strengths apparent across assessment and service delivery' and an 'excellent understanding' of what is needed to deliver services and interventions. Staff go 'over and above’ what is required to engage with children, young people and their families. 

They found that the YOT adapted quickly to the impact of Covid-19, ensuring that children and their families continued to be supported throughout the pandemic. And they praised the use of restorative justice, which brings together the young person and the victim to encourage an understanding of an offence, as being 'particularly strong' in Wolverhampton.

Inspectors made 3 recommendations for areas of improvement and the action plan is intended to address these. It was approved by members of the council's Cabinet this evening (Wednesday 23 March).

Emma Bennett, Executive Director of Families, said: "The inspection reflected well on the excellent work of the Youth Offending Team in rehabilitating youngsters who have become involved in crime, and in protecting members of the public.

"However, we and the other agencies involved want our Youth Offending Team to the be the best it can possibly be. The action plan outlines the steps we will take in response to the recommendations made by HM Inspectorate of Probation and will help us strengthen this important service still further.”