Monday, 17 November 2008

My colleague Jim Hopkinson, Youth Offending Services Manager, here in Leeds sent me some fantastic news...

"Chris, Please if you get 30 seconds skim through the e-mail below which I sent on behalf of the Youth Offending Service partnership management board to members of YOS staff. Leeds YOS is now assessed by the Youth Justice Board as a Level 4 YOS "performing excellently" . This assessment is important because it will go forward into CAA from next year. The assessment is based on our performance - and the reason I am writing to you is to acknowledge the huge contribution of our partnership with Education Leeds in achieving this level. We are now in the situation where, well over 82% of young people who offend (and are of statutory school age) are engaging in full time in education at the end of their orders. This is well in excess of family averages, and an huge increase on 4 years ago, where access to education by young people who offend was our Achilles heel. It is not rocket science - young people in full time education are much less likely to commit further offences and this is reflected in YOS recidivism figures which are also greatly reduced. Of course we still have work to do, but I wanted to take this opportunity to give credit to the Education Leeds secondees within the YOS, and the wider Education Leeds staff who have worked in genuine partnership with us to bring about the cultural change to enable this progress to be achieved. Regards Jim."

This was the e-mail Jim was referring to...

"Dear Colleagues, the YOS Partnership (Management Board) met yesterday. They considered the Youth Justice Plan and the validation report on our Youth Justice Plan conducted by the YJB. The Partnership also heard about our latest performance and some of the highlights:
· First time entrants down
· Recidivism down
· Education training and employment rates up
· Final warning interventions up
· Substance misuse assessments up
· Mental health assessments up
· Parenting interventions up
· National Standards compliance – our best ever
The YOS Partnership also heard that we are now assessed as a Level 4 YOS. This means that in the opinion of the YJB Leeds YOS is officially assessed as "performing excellently". Paul Rogerson, The Chief Executive of Leeds City Council and Chair of the YOS Partnership, asked me to write to all members of YOS Staff to pass on their appreciation of the work that every member of YOS staff does day in day out. We make a difference to the lives of young people, their carers and their victims. Rest assured that the difference we make does not go unnoticed. Many thanks on behalf of the YOS Partnership for your continued commitment to outcomes. Regards Jim."

What is great about this message is that this is the really, really hard end of what we do and even here we are making real progress and making a difference for some really special young people. Thanks to Jim, hiis colleagues and everyone involved for achieving this brilliant outcome.

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