SOLIHULL Youth Justice Service (YJS) has received an overall rating of ‘Requires improvement’ following an inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation.
During the inspection, they found evidence of activities that are enabling the YJS to learn from the experiences of children and their parents or carers.
This has created a culture that acknowledges and values the voices of children and their families.
Inspectors found there was a need to ensure that these views are heard at board level and this information is used to further drive improvements in service practice and strategic developments.
They also found assessment and planning activities for children dealt with by the courts to be variable.
Assessments to support desistance did not always ask the right questions to gain an understanding of why a child offended or routinely address the structural barriers that had caused a child to offend in the first place.
In too many cases, activity associated with keeping other people safe needed to be more robust.
Too often, practitioners relied on self-reporting which led to weaker judgements, putting actual and potential victims at risk of harm.
Interim Chief Inspector of Probation, Sue McAllister said: “We acknowledge that Solihull YJS has undergone significant changes and challenges in recent years.
“Staffing was cut by 50 per cent in 2015 which put undeniable strain on the service.
“However, in the last 12 months the service has shown promising signs of recovery.
“Solihull YJS is benefitting from strong leadership and staff are compassionate, positive advocates for the children they supervise.
“Solihull YJS is an improving service which should be proud of the progress it is making; it is to its credit that it received seven ‘Good’ ratings across a number of standards in this inspection.”
Leader of Solihull Council, Councillor Ian Courts, said: “It is pleasing to see seven out of the 12 areas that were inspected were rated as Good.
“Five recommendations were made by the inspectors and are targeted at both the service and the Board.
“The inspectors could see we have a good foundation to build on, so we are confident we can make the necessary improvements and ensure we are providing a good service for Solihull children and young people within the youth justice system.”