Blackpool's youth offending work 'unsatisfactory'

Work to stop young criminals re-offending in Blackpool has been criticised by inspectors.

HM Inspectorate of Probation recognised progress has been made by the Youth Offending Team (YOT) but said it needed to improve and be better managed.

The YOT was "unsatisfactory" in four of five areas, according to the report.

The team was given a poor performance in 2008 but praised for improvements in 2009. Blackpool Council said it was "working hard" to improve.

'Life of crime'

Work to reduce the likelihood of reoffending, protecting the public, protecting children and young people and the effectiveness of governance were all deemed "unsatisfactory".

However, the report said the team was good at ensuring the sentence was served by young offenders and engaging with children and young people. The work was also valued by young people and their parents or carers.

Chief Inspector of Probation Liz Calderbank said progress had undoubtedly been made but wanted more.

She said: "For a YOT to be fully effective, it must be supported by a management board that provides strategic leadership and direction for its managers."

Blackpool Council said it was already implementing some of the recommendations.

Councillor Sarah Riding, cabinet member for children's service, said: "[It] shows that we are moving in the right direction but we won't rest on our laurels and will continue to work on improving further.

"Preventing young people from becoming embedded in a life of crime early on is vitally important as it could severely restrict their chances of a prosperous life.

"That is just not acceptable and we will keep working to stop crime from being a lifestyle choice for our young people."

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