Newham 'must improve' youth offender services, watchdog says
A London borough must improve the way it deals with young offenders, the probation service watchdog has said.
Newham Council does not "adequately assess" the risk posed by young criminals, according to the HM Inspectorate of Probation.
Young people who had committed crimes were also not sufficiently helped to stop them re-offending, a report said.
Newham Council said it accepted the findings and would "bolster" its youth offending team.
Councillor James Beckles, Cabinet member for crime and community safety, said: "We fully accept the weaknesses found in our service and will take the inspectors' recommendations on board when considering how we ensure the right improvements are made.
"We apologise to our young people who have been let down by the failings highlighted by the report."
Services are plagued by delays and staff shortages according, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.
The council's youth offending team, which supervises people aged 10 to 18 who have been sentenced in court or arrested but not charged, was deemed "inadequate".
Overall services were reported as "requires improvement".
Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: "Staff should work with the young person and their families to develop a robust plan that will deter them from further offending.
"As the plans were not up to the mark, it is unsurprising that the delivery was poor."
However management were praised for their leadership.
Inspectors said the "tragic deaths of several children in the borough in recent years has resulted in a focus on keeping children safe".
Newham is the third London borough to be inspected under the new standards and ratings system introduced last year.
Lambeth's youth offending team was also rated as requires improvement, while Wandsworth was given a good rating.