Milton Keynes Council’s Youth Offending Team has been rated ‘good’ by HM Inspectorate of Probation, in a report praising how the team and its partners are giving local young people better chances to achieve, and the right support to avoid reoffending.
Youth Offending Teams, also called YOTs, are multi-agency partnerships who work with 10-18 year-olds who have got into trouble with the police, possibly arrested or even sentenced in a court. They try to help those young people stay away from crime in the future.
Work in Milton Keynes has led to far fewer young people getting in trouble for the first time locally compared to the UK average: 138 young people per 100,000 coming to the attention of the authorities in MK compared to 208 per 100,000 nationally.
HM Inspectorate of Probation inspected the Milton Keynes YOT in May, with discussions and research taking place by phone and video calls due to the pandemic.
The YOT was rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ in ten out of twelve areas inspected (such as partnership working, leadership, and facilities) with inspectors noting how some of the team’s ideas around speech and language have been adopted nationally.
Almost three quarters of young people in the youth justice system have a speech and language difficulty and the Milton Keynes YOT has led on good practice in this area, and has developed an assessment tool with Royal College of Speech and Language therapists that’s since been adopted nationally by the Youth Justice Board.
Other highlights of the report were the YOT’s strong partnership working and the “wide range of support and interventions” offered. Recommendations were made for improvement in two areas, around securing additional premises and better considering the needs of victims of crime. These recommendations, while small parts of the overall picture, will be promptly acted on.
Cllr Jane Carr, Milton Keynes Council’s Cabinet Member for Tackling Inequalities and Child Poverty said: “I’m enormously grateful to all the Youth Offending Team staff and partners who work so hard and with such great enthusiasm to help our young people achieve more for themselves, often in very challenging and complex circumstances. It’s not an easy job and I’m very proud of what they do.”
DCI Steve Raffield, Thames Valley Police’s Crime Manager for Milton Keynes, said: “It is great to see the individuals and agencies within the Youth Offending Team recognised as good in this report. The team play a vital role in the early intervention and diversion of young people from crime which is particularly pertinent in the ongoing work to tackle serious violence. We have seen first-hand the positive outcomes achieved through the partnership working that they have been commended on and know that we will see more of these as we continue to work together.”