Youth services in Camden rated outstanding by HM Inspectorate

Camden Council’s Youth Offending Service has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation, placing the service as one of the top performers in the country.

The inspection covered the Council’s multi-agency Youth Offending Service (YOS) and its work alongside the police, schools and health services to support young people to reduce and prevent offending. It also covered Camden’s wider youth work including youth early help, social work and community safety.

Inspectors who visited the Borough for a week in January said the service "values the children, young people and families they work with" and praised the Council’s "effective, collaborative leadership" in a report published today.

The report also mentioned that "working with children who live complex lives and increasingly fear for their safety, the YOS strikes a good balance between supporting their desistance and safety and wellbeing, and the need to protect the public and victims".

Inspectors also outlined that staff work "enthusiastically, and efficiently, to understand the issues affecting children and young people, developing services and projects to address these", and provided key examples such as Camden’s early intervention work, setting up a new team to tackle knife crime and supporting young people out of gangs.

The report additionally highlighted that all children and young people have access to a wide range of professional support, interventions and activities - for example: speech and language specialists, substance misuse support, improving mental and physical wellbeing, education, training and employment services.

Camden YOS was also praised for "making sure each child or young person was treated as an individual", with provision tailored to meet their individual needs.

Staff also feel supported and empowered to deliver a high-quality, personal service for all children and young people, the report added.

Chief inspector, Justin Russell congratulated Camden YOS whilst also highlighting that Camden is the first urban area and London borough to be rated outstanding under a new inspection framework.

The chief inspector also said that the service is "solution-focused and forward-thinking, implementing creative, evidence-based initiatives and interventions to enhance the lives of children and young people."

This is a fantastic achievement and I’m incredibly proud of our entire youth service for their hard work, commitment and determination which has led to this result - I’d like to thank all of you. In Camden, our vision is to ensure no one gets left behind, and Camden’s staff, alongside key partners, embed this vision in their work every day to support vulnerable children, young people and their families who are most at risk.

However, the work doesn’t stop here. We understand there are areas we can improve, and we will now be working to implement the inspectorate’s recommendations to build on what we have achieved and ensure we can protect all our young people as best we can, now and in the future.
Cllr Abdul Hai, Cabinet Member for Young People and Cohesion
This is a glowing report and I want to congratulate the dedicated and creative staff at Camden’s youth offending service.

From schemes to protect children from knife crime and gangs, to innovative work with partners around overrepresented minority groups, the service has displayed a commitment to improve the lives of vulnerable children across the borough.

As a Government, we want to continue reducing the number of children entering the criminal justice system and Camden’s work is playing an important role which I hope other local authorities can learn from.
Lucy Frazer, Justice Minister
We would like to share our deepest thanks and congratulations to all who support this work locally. Camden's Youth Services (YOS) has worked to develop and embed strong relationships with local health services.

The local NHS is involved at every level and staff from services such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS), Speech and Language and Sexual Health deliver the high quality, person-centred care witnessed by the Inspectorate. We echo Cllr Abdul Hai’s comments and will continue working closely with Council colleagues to improve outcomes for children and young people in Camden.
Sarah McDonnell-Davies, Executive Managing Director - Camden (North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group)
My fellow peer advocates and myself are so proud to be working for the Camden Youth Offending Service. From being service users to peer advocates, where we now have the opportunity to make a difference to young people’s lives, it’s a real privilege.

We hope to inspire the young people we meet, as we have often had similar experiences to them. The opportunity and support provided by Camden YOS is something we all received and now we have the honour of helping other young people.
Maria Ahmed, YOS Peer Advocate
  • Read: the full report here
  • Watch: a short film showing a visit to Camden Youth Offending Service in August 2019 by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, the Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP