The Chief Inspector of Probation, Justin Russell said: “Ealing Youth Justice Service is on the right path. They are a dedicated team with ambitions and talent to succeed. We saw some excellent work with children, by staff dedicated to supporting children to achieve their aspirations.”
The inspectors recognised that in comparison with most others, young people in Ealing who have a brush with the law have strong results in being diverted from the criminal justice system or being helped in successfully leaving it completely.
They highlighted the impressive outcomes in education, training, and employment (ETE) provision for children at risk of criminality, which meant most were thriving in ETE by the end of their work with the YJS. They also noted that it was positive to see that children and their families have a voice and influence in Ealing, and that the council places importance on hearing from those who access the service; routinely seeking feedback which is analysed and used to shape service delivery.
The inspectors also acknowledged that the council is addressing the fact that a disproportionate number of black and mixed heritage boys end up in the criminal justice system. They identified that the council’s evidenced-based plan sets out actions for positive systemic change. But the council recognises that it can do more for care leavers and neurodiverse young people.
The inspectors’ recommendations for improvement focus on more robust and stronger record keeping, to ensure that the council and its partners are clear on what their plans are for each young person. It has taken on board the recommendations and the council’s draft improvement plan builds on its strengths and addresses the areas for improvement.
The report demonstrated that both the Metropolitan Police and Probation Service need to make improvements, too. Both organisations are under pressure and have real issues recruiting and retaining staff, but young people need to come first, so they must live up to their responsibilities.
The council is working to deliver better training that meets the development needs of all staff - including those of its partners. The improvement plan will be overseen by the Youth Justice Board to ensure strong governance.