HMI Probation have just published their Inspection Report on “The Work of Youth Offending Teams to Protect the Public” (26th October).
AYM welcomes many of the conclusions about work with young people convicted of violent and other serious crimes. In the foreword, Dame Glenys Stacey states that trauma-informed practice needs developing, as does work relating to the use of social media in serious offences, and “we found YOTs protecting the public well and doing good work to change young people’s lives for the better”.
We agree with the need to develop trauma-informed practice, especially as the young people being worked with have increasingly complex needs.
Whilst we recognise the need for the role of social media in serious offending to be understood and addressed, we are less clear about how that can be done within the existing legislative framework. Dame Glenys says that “there is also a strong case for monitoring the social media output of young people who pose a risk to others”, although the Executive Summary states that “staff need up to date practice guidance and policy, consistent with current surveillance legislation and guidance”. So, AYM would welcome a discussion with HMIP and the YJB about how they feel YOTs can monitor social media, as we would be concerned about implementing this without clear boundaries in place, and we would want a focus on supporting young people towards a positive use of social media .
AYM is pleased to hear that desistance principles are being embedded in practice, and our national conference in Newcastle in 2016 had this as its theme.
The other themes picked up in the report relate to good practice, including court reports, work with victims, and governance arrangements. So, the conclusions are very positive, and in line with AYM expectations and knowledge of current practice. It is also positive to hear that YOTs are doing a good job, especially as the success of the youth justice in recent years is in direct contrast to failings in other parts of the criminal justice system.