22 June 2024

Wiltshire Youth Justice Service rated as good following inspection

Wiltshire’s Youth Justice Service has achieved a Good rating after inspectors found the service “place children at the centre of its work” and staff and volunteers are “excellent ambassadors for the children they support.”

The Youth Justice Service (YJS) includes staff from various organisations, including Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Police, and the Probation Service. Staff work with children who are involved in or at risk of offending behaviour to prevent or change behaviour.

The service also works with those affected by crime.

It sits within Wiltshire Council Families and Children’s Services as part of the Young People’s Service, which brings the Emerald child exploitation/missing team, YJS, and the children on the edge of care ‘stronger families’ team together, creating a specialist service for vulnerable children and young people.

Inspectors gave an overall rating of good with outstanding in resettlement policy and provision. Resettlement service helps a child shape a more positive identity and build on individual strengths and resources to help them remain safe and live a crime-free life and reduce the likelihood of further offending.

Inspectors said: “Individualised interventions, supported by a trauma-informed approach, ensure that children’s diversity needs are understood well, and that measures are put in place to help them flourish.

Staff and volunteers are, without doubt, the organisation’s most valuable assets. They are optimistic and nurture a ‘can do’ attitude with children. They are excellent ambassadors for the children they support.”

The inspectors also found:

  • The Youth Justice Service executive management board is led by a passionate chair, with highly dedicated board members who work well to advocate for YJS children in their own organisation.
  • Provision of services to support children is broad and a range of services are available for children.
  • Active listening to the voices of children and their parents or carers is “impressive”
  • Children regularly attend the executive board to share first hand their experiences.

Inspectors have also set out recommendations including improving the quality of assessment and planning and effective management oversight.

Cllr Peter Hutton, Portfolio Holder for Safeguarding, said: “This independent rating of Good shows we are getting this right for our children and young people.

I want to thank the dedicated staff and volunteers who bring this service alive and have made a positive difference. Inspectors also noted that Wiltshire Council is the only local authority in the UK currently to have a fifth category for child protection, ‘risk outside the home’.

This aligns with our council business plan focussing on prevention to tackle these issues head on, and we can see that providing early support is making a positive difference.

We’re not complacent and we will continue to work hard together to keep improving so children and young people, their families and those affected by crime are supported and able to make positive changes.”

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns