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Barking and Dagenham Youth Offending Service is highly praised  

Barking and Dagenham Youth Offending Service (YOS) has been highly praised in a report from an independent inspection carried out by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation, published today.

The YOS bettered the national average in three core areas and excelled in the ‘Reducing the likelihood of re-offending’ category. The service was awarded 86 per cent, higher than the national average of 71 per cent. In the ‘Safeguarding work’ category, the service achieved 75 per cent compared to the national picture of 68 per cent and in the ‘Reducing the risk of harm to others’ category the service scored 65 per cent against the national average of 63 per cent. 

Barking and Dagenham’s inspection took place in July 2011 and examined 38 cases in detail. Inspectors said of the YOS:  “We found the YOS staff group to be enthusiastic and committed to working with the children and young people they were responsible for.”

Twenty young people were asked to fill out questionnaires for the inspection and 56 per cent of respondents said the YOS had helped with their education or training, making better decisions and understanding their offending. Overall, over 80 per cent of children and young people said they were less likely to reoffend as a result of their work with the YOS.

The Inspectors said: “The YOS worked well with other services in the borough to achieve positive outcomes. Children and young people were treated fairly but firmly.”

Many young people have turned their lives around through with help from the YOS. One young offender has made positive changes to his life after he was made subject to Referral Order and was a NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).

As a result of the YOS intervention he was referred to a voluntary organisation for an apprenticeship. An academy offered him another apprenticeship which resulted in a job offer in the hospitality trade. He has now started a successful career as a chef and has completed his Referral Order. 

Cllr Jeanne Alexander, Cabinet Member for Crime, Justice and Communities said: “I’d like to congratulate the service on achieving an outstanding report. We have done better than the national average and this is a testament to the hard work and commitment of colleagues from across the service. We are committed to our young people and will continue to do the best we can to help turn many lives around.

“There are some very positive outcomes for young people that have resulted from interventions with the YOS. Equally, the YOS makes sure that the protection of the public and delivering justice are at the forefront of its work, and they continue to increase the safety of local residents."

Chief Inspector Richard Goodwin of Barking and Dagenham Police, said: "This Inspection report shows that those few young people in the Borough who do offend are dealt with successfully by the Youth Offending Service. Very few of them go on to re offend. The Police are very pleased to have officers as part of this team and would like to congratulate the whole service for this excellent inspection result."

John Drew, Chief Executive for the Youth Justice Board, said in a letter to Barking and Dagenham Council's YOS: "Please accept my congratulations on your excellent result. London is a hard place to work in a Youth Offending Team for a great many reasons, and as you are probably aware yours is the strongest result yet in London. There are many more Inspections to be completed but I'm confident you will still find yourselves in the top echelon of YOTs. Well done!"

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