Wales

Powys Youth Justice Service criticised by watchdog

Handcuffs
Image caption Powys Youth Justice Service was praised for its work to reduce reoffending and ensure sentence

An inspection of a service tackling youth crime in Powys has found that its work to protect the public and potential victims is unsatisfactory.

HM Inspectorate of Probation said there was also concern over Powys Youth Justice Service's work to safeguard children and young people.

But the justice service was praised for its performance in reducing reoffending and ensuring sentences were completed.

Other inspectorates took part in the first full joint inspection in Wales.

Probation inspectors were joined by colleagues from criminal justice, social care, education and health inspectorates.

They focussed on five key areas: reducing the likelihood of reoffending, protecting the public, protecting children and young people, ensuring that the sentence is served and the effectiveness of governance.

Inspectors said Powys Youth Justice Service dealt with a number of children placed in the county by other local authorities, including a number of children from England, which can constitute between 17% and 20% of its work.

"Powys Youth Justice Service was working well with partner agencies to help young people complete their sentences and sustain positive changes in their lives," said Liz Calderbank, the chief inspector of probation.

'Strong asset'

"The staff were a strong asset and workers were skilled in building relationships with the children and young people and the victims of their offences.

"However, there was still a need to make considerable improvement to processes and systems relating to protecting the public and the child and young person themselves, and to management oversight.

"Transfer arrangements also needed extensive developments.

"We found that children and young people who were looked after by a local authority or transferred between areas or to probation and fell under the responsibility of more than one agency received a lower standard of service."

She said the youth justice service had a history of embracing and driving performance development and inspectors were confident that it would act quickly in response to their recommendations.

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