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Chief Inspector of Probation calls for national guidance on out of court disposals.

Chief Inspector of Probation, Justin Russell, has called for national guidance to ensure young people involved in low-level offending receive consistent support.

With an increasing proportion of cases supervised by Youth Offending Teams being diverted from the formal justice system and being dealt with through what are known as ‘out of court disposals’ the Annual Report on the Inspection of Youth Offending Services summarises results of 26 Inspections paying special attention to how well services were supervising over 500 of these out of court cases.

The Report found a ‘different pattern’ on the quality of assessment, planning and implementation and delivery of these against court ordered cases with quality of assessment being particularly poor. Work to manage the risk of harm to others and assessments to keep other people safe were also much less well undertaken for out of court cases.

The findings prompted Russell to comment ‘We need national guidance on this issue to ensure young people dealt with through out-of-court disposals receive more consistent supervision and support."

Overall, inspectors said they were impressed with the "calibre of leadership" and staff working in youth offending services, with examples of strong working relationships to support children and young people to make better life choices.

Read the full report here.