Barking and Dagenham council team praised for its work with youngsters

A glowing report has praised the council’s work with young offenders, most of whom are less likely to commit further crimes after contact with the service.

The youth offending service (YOS) manages 10 to 17-year-olds who have been convicted in a court in England or Wales.

Liz Calderbank, HM Chief Inspector, said: “Many of the cases we inspected showed a worrying degree of violence, much of it gang-related, with the children and young people as both victims and perpetrators.

“This provided the very difficult context the YOS operated within.

“Conversely, there were several cases in the sample where consideration could reasonably have been given to diversion from prosecution by way of a reprimand or final warning.”

Safeguarding work, or work to protect the young person, had been done well enough in 75 per cent of cases, above the national average of 68 per cent.

The likelihood of youngsters reoffending after getting involved with the service was lower in 86 per cent of cases, and 71 per cent nationally.

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In nearly two thirds of inspected cases, it was changes in lifestyle, living arrangements, and thinking and behaviour that stopped young people turning back to crime.

A good range of group work programmes helped prevent children and young people from reoffending, however, there was not enough co-operation between the police, probation, prison and other agencies that work with young offenders who posed a risk to the public.

Ms Calderbank added: “We found the YOS staff group to be enthusiastic and committed to working with the children and young people.”