Swindon Borough Council has received high praise following the latest inspection of its Youth Justice Service (YJS).
Inspectors from HM Inspectorate of Probation labelled the service ‘a credit to the town’ and gave it an ‘Outstanding’ rating (the highest it can give) after a recent visit.
The YJS works with children aged 10 to 17 and supervises many with complex needs.
Particular praise was singled out for the innovative ways in which Swindon YJS delivers its services. This included the ability to empower children under their supervision by including them in decision making and by getting feedback from children and their parents or carers so that the service can work out what works best, and tailor the support each child needs.
Inspectors said that this area of support was successfully reducing the likelihood of reoffending, therefore protecting the public.
Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “Swindon Youth Justice Service is a credit to the town, and their ‘Outstanding’ rating is much deserved. Children under their supervision are likely to thrive and this means the local community is better protected against the chances of them committing a further offence. They are a forward-thinking, team-oriented service that clearly takes great pride in their successes to deter children from crime and give them every opportunity to flourish.”
Councillor Jenny Jefferies, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “I am absolutely thrilled with the outcome of this inspection.
“The team do an incredible and, sometimes, unnoticed job and this outstanding rating is something they should all be proud of.
“Not only does this mean we are helping really vulnerable children but we are also making sure that they have the opportunity of an even better future.
“Keep up the good work!”
Michael O’Connor, Youth Justice Service Manager at Swindon Borough Council, said: “The team do an amazing job every day, their focus on supporting children to develop pro-social identities is unwavering and they should be proud of their commitment and care for children in Swindon.
“But just because we’ve received such high praise, does not mean we’re going to get complacent.
“We will continue to innovate and develop further child first and identity focused approaches to helping children desist from offending behaviour.”
Inspectors also outlined five ways the service can still improve including ensuring robust contingency plans were in place and expanding the depth of management information.