‘Outstanding’ rating awarded to Carmarthenshire Youth Justice Team

HM Inspectorate of Probation have rated Carmarthenshire County Council’s Youth Justice Team (YJT) as ‘Outstanding’ in their newly published inspection of youth offending services in Carmarthenshire, published on Monday, 18 March 2024.

Click here to read the inspection in full.

The inspection is part of HM Inspectorate of Probation’s (IOP) programme of youth justice team (YJT) inspections and have inspected and rated Carmarthenshire YJT across three broad areas: the arrangements for organisational delivery of the service, the quality of work done with children sentenced by the courts, and the quality of out-of-court disposal work.

Overall, Carmarthenshire YJT was rated as ‘Outstanding’. The IOP also inspected the quality of resettlement policy and provision, which was separately rated as ‘Outstanding’.

The inspection acknowledged that staff know and understand their children and families well, and found high-quality work being delivered. A high level of care and dedication to the staff, children, and victims accessing the service, which extends from senior leaders to operational staff was also identified.

The inspection found that the YJT has invested in its staff, offering a comprehensive training package and regular opportunities for development and progression. It is reported that staff are motivated, passionate, and their hard work is routinely acknowledged and rewarded. The management board is invested in the YJT; has continually advocated for the service and proactively supported it in achieving the best outcomes for children, families, and victims.

The report noted that the YJT is highly respected within the partnership. Strong, vibrant and consistent leadership has enabled the service to operationalise its vision and strategy effectively. It found that there is a commitment to meeting the protected characteristics of those children the service works with. Whilst some elements of this are still in the early stages, they are showing promise.

Provision for Welsh speakers is well established. There are mature and cohesive partnership arrangements which enable children and families to access a range of services. These includes speech, language, and communication therapy, wraparound education support, and specialist intervention for children involved in sexually harmful behaviour. Partnership provision has also secured seconded staff from police and probation based within the YJT.

The IOP accredited the reparation provision as impressive; pointing to the work that the service has done with the community to identify and deliver meaningful and impactful projects. Children have been able to develop skills as well as engaging in restorative justice.

The findings of the IOP saw that the YJT proactively seeks opportunities to learn and improve the services it provides from the wider sector. This includes work with police partners in adopting and localising an approach for care-experienced children to avoid unnecessary criminalisation and contact with the justice system.

Finally, the inspection concluded that there is a robust quality assurance framework which has driven high-quality practice and casework. Management oversight is effective and evidenced in strong results from the post-court, out-of-court and resettlement inspection case samples.

Director of Community Services for Carmarthenshire County Council, Jake Morgan and Director of Education and Children’s Services, Gareth Morgans said: “We are incredibly proud of each and every member of our Youth Justice Team and grateful for their incredibly important work, which they conduct to very highest standards.

“Carmarthenshire Youth Justice Team are leaders in their sector and play an integral role within the local authority’s wellbeing objective of enabling our children and young people to have the best possible start in life.”