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Ealing Youth Justice Service rated as “Requires improvement” as Ealing Council says it “recognises that it can do more”

A new inspection of Ealing Youth Justice Service (YJS) by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation has given it an overall rating of ‘Requires improvement’ despite a number of areas where it was rated as ‘Good’.

In a statement, Ealing Council said it “recognises that it can do more.

According to inspectors, the quality of Ealing YJS resettlement work – which covers the services needed to be in place when a child is released from custody such as accommodation needs – got a ‘Good’ rating.

Click here to read the full report.

Under areas such as Governance and leadership, the service was rated as ‘Requires improvement’ while for Assessment in Out-of-court-disposals, it was rated as ‘Inadequate’

Ealing Youth Justice Service (YJS)
Ealing Youth Justice Service (YJS)

Ealing Youth Justice Service (YJS) is provided by Ealing Council and its aim is to prevent young people aged between 10 and 17 years from offending, and to reduce re-offending by young people already known to the police and the courts.

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “Ealing Youth Justice Service is on the right path. They are a dedicated team with ambitions and talent to succeed. We saw some excellent work with children, by staff dedicated to supporting children to achieve their aspirations.”

There were nine recommendations which His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation made:

The Ealing Youth Justice Service should:
1. develop and embed effective management oversight and quality assurance processes to ensure they add value in improving the following of processes and the quality of case manager practice
2. work with police partners to undertake a fundamental review of out-of-court disposal policies, guidance, and provision
3. improve out-of-court disposal assessments of risks to and from the child, to ensure that all risks are fully understood and adequately analysed
4. build on the current excellent work around addressing disproportionality and extend this to ensure all over-represented groups are adequately covered, including cared-for children and those with neurodiverse needs.

The YJS management board should:
5. increase connectivity with YJS practice by greater awareness, oversight and support of operational delivery.

The Metropolitan Police service should:
6. ensure consistent representation at board level and commit to strengthening their strategic contribution and collaboration with the YJS
7. complete a full review of out-of-court policy and provision in collaboration with the YJS and ensure all out-of-court practice and provision is effective and closely aligned with the YJS child first principles.

The Probation Service should:
8. work with the YJS to develop effective localised policies and pathways to improve service delivery (particularly transitions) and bridge the gap between the services.
9. ensure consistent representation at and contribution to the YJS management board.

Following the report, Neil Reynolds, chair of Ealing Green Party told EALING.NEWS: “The council needs to lay out a clear plan to ensure the youth justice service improves further. Whilst it is welcome the hard work of staff was recognised in some areas, it is important that weaknesses identified are tackled urgently.”

In a statement in response to the inspection, Ealing Council said:

“The council thanks the inspectors for their constructive feedback and is pleased that they recognised many strengths within Ealing’s Youth Justice Service (YJS).

“The Chief Inspector of Probation, Justin Russell said: “Ealing Youth Justice Service is on the right path. They are a dedicated team with ambitions and talent to succeed. We saw some excellent work with children, by staff dedicated to supporting children to achieve their aspirations.”

“The inspectors recognised that in comparison with most others, young people in Ealing who have a brush with the law have strong results in being diverted from the criminal justice system or being helped in successfully leaving it completely.

“They highlighted the impressive outcomes in education, training, and employment (ETE) provision for children at risk of criminality, which meant most were thriving in ETE by the end of their work with the YJS. They also noted that it was positive to see that children and their families have a voice and influence in Ealing, and that the council places importance on hearing from those who access the service; routinely seeking feedback which is analysed and used to shape service delivery.

“The inspectors also acknowledged that the council is addressing the fact that a disproportionate number of black and mixed heritage boys end up in the criminal justice system. They identified that the council’s evidenced-based plan sets out actions for positive systemic change. But the council recognises that it can do more for care leavers and neurodiverse young people.

“The inspectors’ recommendations for improvement focus on more robust and stronger record keeping, to ensure that the council and its partners are clear on what their plans are for each young person. It has taken on board the recommendations and the council’s draft improvement plan builds on its strengths and addresses the areas for improvement.

“The report demonstrated that both the Metropolitan Police and Probation Service need to make improvements, too. Both organisations are under pressure and have real issues recruiting and retaining staff, but young people need to come first, so they must live up to their responsibilities.

“The council is working to deliver better training that meets the development needs of all staff – including those of its partners. The improvement plan will be overseen by the Youth Justice Board to ensure strong governance.”

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