For the original Article click this LINK with thanks to George Rolph up on Equal Parenting @ Ration Shed BLOG
Comment from George Rolph and Credits below
|Youth Offending Team ‘Falsified Files’|
|‘Woeful performance in dealing with dangerous offenders’ caused the team to falsify case files, say inspectors…|
A youth offending team falsified its case files on the eve of an official inspection to cover up its woeful performance in dealing with dangerous offenders, according to a report published today.
The chief inspector of probation, Andrew Bridges, revealed that when his inspectors went to look at Rochdale youth offending team in May this year they were unable to provide any “headline scores” for safeguarding and public protection work. This was because they had “insufficient confidence in the quality of the evidence in the case records of the work done”.
|The national network of youth offending teams, made up of police, probation, social services, health and education staff, is responsible for targeting youth crime in every local council area and for working with convicted teenagers to reduce reoffending. The report said:
• In half of the 40 case files examined there had been “late access” to the case records immediately before the inspectors’ visit.
• In at least six of those cases the clear “antedating” of individual assessments of offenders – giving a date earlier than the actual date it was done – in effect constituted misrepresentation of the work done at the time. The evidence was “inconclusive” in other cases.
• There was both written and reported evidence that at least one Rochdale YOT manager instructed some staff to “prepare” files for inspection.
The chief inspector said that such “misrepresentation” was unacceptable. He added that the scores recorded by the inspection team in May were potentially artificially high as a result of the falsification of the case files.
“Even though we consider these scores of limited value they confirm that most of the youth offending practice we have examined in Rochdale requires, at the very least, substantial improvement,” the inspection report concluded.
The disclosure that case files were falsified just before the inspection of Rochdale youth offending team will further dent confidence in the youth justice system. The children’s secretary, Ed Balls, and the justice secretary, Jack Straw, last month announced planned legislation to send “hit teams” of specialists to intervene in failing youth offending teams. They named Sefton YOT as a likely target after inspectors posted “very disappointing findings” in their report, including failures in seven out of eight criteria.
It is expected that Rochdale will be considered a second likely candidate for outside intervention.
The chief inspector warned probation and youth offending managers in his annual report this year not to inflict “mock inspection interviews” on their staff to prepare for a forthcoming inspection. Bridges quoted one unnamed youth justice worker as saying that what would improve the inspection process would be “less paranoia from management beforehand in the two months or so leading up to the inspection”.
The children and young people’s minister, Dawn Primarolo, said it was “completely unacceptable” for any YOT to misrepresent evidence to inspectors: “The youth justice board and Her Majesty’s inspector of probation are now writing to all youth offending teams to make this clear.” She said many YOTs were doing a good job in helping young people turn their backs on crime: “But we are clear there is no room for failure when it comes to protecting the public from crime.”
Primarolo said Rochdale had now put in place measures to ensure that assessments were immediately recorded on its database. The youth justice board will monitor Rochdale YOT closely to ensure it makes substantial improvements.
I wonder if they do the same with male victims of domestic violence?
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