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Youth justice service work recognised by inspectorate

09 June 2020

Councillor Kieran Heakin.

The Rochdale and Bury youth justice service (YJS) has received the highest youth justice inspection score, to date, across the North West.

The joint service for Rochdale and Bury is made up of staff employed by the council's children's social care service, Probation Service, police, the education service and health partners, all of whom are there to work with young people involved in the criminal justice system aged 10-18. Together they all work to reduce the level and impact of youth crime across Rochdale and Bury.

HMI Probation, the criminal justice watchdog, rated the joint service 'good' following a recent pilot inspection and stated that assessments of out of court disposals, low level crimes dealt with outside of court through community resolutions or youth cautions, was 'outstanding'.

The inspection outcome is great news for children and families who experience the service and it is also a major reflection of the strong relationships and joint working that takes place across the whole of Rochdale and Bury's children's social care teams.  

'We have been investing in innovative ideas and projects on youth violence reduction'

Councillor Kieran Heakin, cabinet member for children's services at Rochdale Borough Council, said; "This is a pleasing report and the hard work of our youth justice team is recognised. We have been investing in innovative ideas and projects on youth violence reduction which we continue to see a key area of work. We note the recommendations and we will work on implementing them so that we can continue to make our service even better."

The inspectorate recognised the high level of skill and commitment of practitioners and managers in the service, as well as the contribution of partner agencies, including our youth justice partnership board members, who have been critical in driving forward positive outcomes for children.

'We were impressed by senior leaders, managers and staff at this service'

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: "We were impressed by senior leaders, managers and staff at this service. The Management Board is jointly led by senior representatives from Bury and Rochdale local authorities. This arrangement works well and ensures the Management Board keeps the needs of children at the heart of the service.

"Managers and staff are skilled and experienced, and they are passionate about their work. They are committed to supporting children who often come from difficult backgrounds to move away from offending. The YJS works closely with partners to ensure children access relevant support. This will, in turn, help them to move away from crime."

The inspection report highlights some recommendations for improvement that, when addressed, has the potential for the service to be judged outstanding in the future. An action plan to meet those recommendations will be developed for the youth justice partnership board to approve at an upcoming meeting.