A government report has criticised the work of Surrey’s Youth Offending Service. The report highlighted that more work needs to be done to ensure we have the right response to meet the level of offending, around collecting data, staff readiness to respond to issues of safety and wellbeing, and around ensuring the safety of children and young people. This service is provided by Surrey County Council in partnership with Surrey Police, the NHS and the Probation Service. HM Inspectorate of Probation rated the service as ‘inadequate’.
Surrey County Council accepts the findings of the report and recognises the need for improvement. An action plan has already been put into place with work underway on addressing the issues that have now been highlighted. The report also noted that staff were motivated to deliver good-quality services and engaged well with children and families, and there was praise for the work Surrey did in preventing children from reoffending.
In response to the report, Councillor Mary Lewis, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families said: “This is not good enough for children and young people in Surrey and Surrey County Council and I take this judgement very seriously.” Watch her full statement here.
Details of the changes referred to in the video statement are –
• Newly formed Targeted Youth Support teams and Safeguarding Adolescent teams
• Managers and staff will now be using the same assessment tool as other Youth Offending teams. This means the risks presented to the public and the safeguarding risks faced by these young people are more consistently assessed.
• A High Risk Panel has been introduced for management of young people who present a risk to others or whose safety and wellbeing is at risk.
• All youth justice cases are now allocated to staff with skills and experience in this area, and all are supervised by experienced team managers.
• All statutory work has had a new quality-check.
• Young people in the service will have better access to education, substance misuse and mental health support services through strengthened pathways and partnerships.