Improved support recognised for young offenders in Blackpool

Blackpool’s Youth Justice Service which works with young offenders has been rated good by government inspectors nearly three years after being branded inadequate.

Some areas have been judged ‘outstanding’ following a visit from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation in May and June.

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Blackpool's Youth Offending Team branded 'inadequate' following inspection

The inspector acknowledged the ‘remarkable’ improvements that had been made and praised the commitment of the ‘engaged and highly motivated’ staff.

The council's Youth Justice Service is now rated good

He said: “It is greatly encouraging that the service for children in Blackpool has shown such substantial improvement.

“We are confident that the foundations have been laid to maintain the quality of services, and we have provided a number of recommendations that should help to improve the service even further.”

The 2018 inspection had found ‘widespread poor practice’ while organisational changes had not been managed well and had a ‘detrimental effect on the delivery of services’ which affected staff morale.

But the most recent report highlights good leadership, skilled staff and ‘exemplary’ joint working.

Morale was said to be high with managers and social workers considered as hard-working and committed to improving children’s lives.

The council’s Blackpool Families Rock programme, launched in March 2020 to focus more on working with families, was also praised.

Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for inclusion, youth and transience said: “I’d like to thank our incredibly hard-working staff who are praised throughout the report for their commitment to our young residents.

“The service has entirely transformed since the disappointing inadequate judgement three years ago.

“This is in line with our improvements elsewhere in Children’s Services. Our Blackpool Families Rock model of practice is transforming the way we create relationships and support families and I am delighted that its success is being acknowledged.”

Supt Richard Robertshaw, Lancashire Constabulary added: “Clearly there are still significant challenges for us to overcome over the coming years in terms of ensuring we provide the best possible support vulnerable children in Blackpool.

“But this report demonstrates we are making excellent progress and heading in the right direction.”

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