Havering youth offender service praised by inspectors


Prison - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The borough’s youth offending service has been rated “good” by inspectors, just months after being brought back in house following a “disastrous” merger with Barking and Dagenham.

Officers from HM Inspectorate of Probation paid a three-day visit in July and analysed 20 cases for their report.

Havering’s re-offending rate in 2014/15 was 41.9 per cent, an increase on the previous year and higher than the 36.6pc national average.

The service had been outsourced to Barking and Dagenham but was brought back in house last year.

The report by Helen Mercer, assistant chief of inspectors, said: “Overall, we found good assessments of offending behaviour and public protection that had improved since the last inspection.

“Case managers knew young people well and engaged with them and their parents/carers enabling them to understand what was contributing to offending.

“We found good support for children to access education, training or employment and for substance misuse. Parents were seen as being central to the young person and were supported to help their child to stop offending.”

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Areas for improvement included management providing clear direction and adequate supervision to staff and the assessments of vulnerability must consider if and how offending behaviour contributes to a child or young person’s vulnerability.

Seventeen of the 20 children were of “medium” vulnerability and a quarter were in possession of or known to have used weapons.

“While the risk of harm this posed to others was considered, the implications for the individual’s vulnerability were not always recognised,” the report said.

A number of the young people have come to live in the area because of their involvement in serious youth violence in other London boroughs.

The strongest area of the service was making sure sentences were served – action is taken to encourage youngsters to comply with orders and enforcement action is taken if they do not.