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Bromley's Youth Offending Service slammed for failing to protect the public

PUBLISHED: 13:02 20 May 2015 | UPDATED: 13:02 20 May 2015

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Chief Inspector of Probations says more must be done to reduce reoffending

The organisation in charge of rehabilitating young offenders in Bromley is failing to protect the public adequately, according to a highly critical report.

Following an inspection, Chief Inspector of Probations Paul Wilson said that Bromley Youth Offending Service needed to do more to reduce reoffending, protect victims and understand why young people offended.

Some 43.6 per cent of young offenders reoffend in Bromley, compared with an average of 35.7 per cent in England and Wales, and the number of young people in custody has been steadily increasing.

“Work to protect the public and actual or potential victims was poor,” Mr Wilson said.

“Neither the assessment of the risk that children and young people posed to others or the planning to manage that risk and protect the public was done well enough.

“Work to reduce reoffending was poor. Information to courts to help with sentencing was generally good, but planning often did not reflect the reasons why children and young people were offending.

“Neither assessments nor plans were reviewed frequently or well. Children and young people were not assessed properly for interventions and generally had to fit in with what was being delivered at any one time.”

He said that children and young people were also being protected poorly by the service and that it was not being managed effectively.

“Too often, case managers did not recognise what needed to be done to protect a child or young person, and work to reduce their vulnerability was unsatisfactory,” the report added.

“The effectiveness of governance was poor. Neither of the two management boards had supported or held the youth offending service to account effectively.”

However, there were some positives, including the fact that the number of young people committing crimes and reoffending had decreased, and Mr Wilson said that staff “engaged well with children and young people”.

“There was some good work to improve physical health and to access education, training and employment,” Mr Wilson added.

“However, engagement with parents and carers needed to improve.”

The service will now have to produce an action plan outlining how it will address inspectors’ recommendations, and inspectors will meet with the Youth Justice Board, which oversees the youth justice system in England and Wales, to discuss how the service can improve.

Youth Justice Board chief executive Lin Hinnigan said the board had sent staff to work with the service and help it improve.

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