Work in Wokingham Borough to reduce offending and help safeguard youngsters is above the national average a new report by the HM Inspectorate of Probation has found.
The inspection focuses on the work undertaken by youth offending teams with children and young people who have already committed an offence.
The reoffending rate in the Wokingham Borough was 30.5 per cent – around seven per cent lower than the national average for England and Wales.
Inspectors praised Wokingham Borough Council’s youth offending service and said they ‘were undertaking highly effective work with children and young people.’ They offer a quality service with ‘case workers [who are] skilled, experienced and motivated to support children and young people to achieve positive outcomes’.
The report also found the service had ‘impressive workbooks in place that were used to undertake consistent inductions’ and they are designed to support children and young people to understand what is expected of them. They set out work that needed to be undertaken, and helped individuals to identify goals for the future.
The report highlighted the strong commitment to working with children and young people. In summary the report said the service ‘had a strong approach to making sure that both offending related and victim awareness work was completed. The delivery of these interventions helped educate children and young people on the impact of their offending and worked on developing alternatives to offending behaviour.’
One inspector found: ‘There was no evidence of any further offending. Returning an order back to court for consideration for early revocation on the grounds of good progress was applied for and successful. The young person has gained full time employment as a carpenter. He has distanced himself from negative peer groups and has more positive family relationships in the home’.
Inspectors also found the following key strengths of the service:
- Pre-sentence reports were concise, analytical and of high quality
- Assessments and reviews of offending and risk of harm were thorough and linked to planning
- The availability of resources was beneficial to tailoring support and intervention plans
- Work to maximise compliance and engagement was highly effective
- The focus on diversity factors and barriers to engagement was excellent and was a regular
- The offence-focused work and victim awareness were being addressed throughout the order
- The views of children and young people and their parents/carers were taken seriously and
- Case managers were highly committed and experienced, management and leadership was
The report also highlights areas where further improvements can be made and the council is already taking steps to address these.
Cllr Richard Dolinski, deputy executive member for children’s services, said: “This is an excellent report, reflecting the real strengths in the service and the outcomes it’s producing for our children and young people. The effect of having skilled leadership and management is evident throughout this report and all staff are committed to supporting some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our community.
"We’re pleased the report puts us above the national average for reoffending rates. The service’s work is so crucial in reducing and relevant children and young people reoffending."