Members of HM Inspectorate of Probation visited Wolverhampton in October to assess the service 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 three 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.
And they rated it ‘Good’ overall, with five specific aspects judged to be 'Outstanding', six '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 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 just three recommendations for areas of improvement and an action plan is being prepared to implement these.
Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “Wolverhampton YOT is a service driven by committed and dedicated staff.
“They have proven what can be achieved by a youth offending team, despite the challenges of Covid-19, to continuously deliver high-quality work – that not only benefits the child, but the local community.
"The work of Wolverhampton YOT is delivered to a high standard. The youth justice workers go over and above to meaningfully engage with children under their supervision, particularly those with complex needs.”
Councillor Beverley Momenabadi, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “This is an excellent report which reflects well on the fantastic work that members of the Youth Offending Team do, day in and day out, to rehabilitate youngsters who have become involved in crime, and to protect members of the public.
"We are continuously looking to improve the services provided by our Youth Offending Team and we thank the inspectors for their valuable feedback and their recommendations for areas where we can raise standards even further.
“An action plan is being prepared which will enable us to build on our already strong foundations and ensure the Youth Offending Team continues to deliver a high-quality service for children, young people and their families in Wolverhampton."