This plan brings together into one document, our Annual Youth Justice plan and Self Evaluation, where we set out our performance, progress and improvements over the last year, with our priorities for 2021-2022.

The plan is underpinned by the principle of Child First, and has been shaped by young people themselves.

We identify 7 key priority areas for our vision for Barnsley, including:

  • robust self-assessment and performance management;
  • data and information systems;
  • workforce development and resilience;
  • audit and quality assurance;
  • public protection and contextual safeguarding;
  • partnership engagement
  • COVID response and recovery

Through the delivery of the Annual Youth Justice plan the Youth Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Board we will ensure that the partnership continues to develop and thrive, provide services to the highest standards, deliver positive outcomes for our children and young people and thereby makes a real contribution to the safety, and life chances of some of our most vulnerable children in Barnsley.


This plan brings together into one document, our Annual Youth Justice plan and Self Evaluation, where we set out our performance, progress and improvements over the last year, with our priorities for 2021-2022. I am incredibly proud that Barnsley Youth Justice Service are ranked in the top quartile of English Youth Offending teams for first time entrants, the use of custody and levels of re-offending.  However, we remain as a partnership, highly aspirational, striving for ‘even better’ outcomes for young people in the borough and so remain sighted as a partnership on our key priorities, aims and objectives, as set in the plan.

The plan is underpinned by the principle of Child First, and I am really pleased that young people have helped to shape this plan. Barnsley Youth Justice Service is committed to the fair and just treatment for all children, empowering them to make a positive contribution to society and achieve their full potential, with our support. Through targeted, collaborative intervention at the earliest opportunity, together with preventative approaches, we are committed to protecting and diverting children away from the Criminal Justice System wherever possible, to the provision of constructive opportunities that will prevent children who have already offended, from re-offending.      

Consistent quality of practice and understanding the lived experience of every young person is central to our approach.  We also produce a Continuous Service Improvement Plan which is underpinned by a comprehensive Quality Assurance Framework which supports the partnership to drive forward the continuous focus on quality, improvement and improved outcomes. Over the past year  we have responded to a national pandemic,  which has seen the service and partnership flex and adapt in ways never seen before,  to ensure that services continue to be offered to our children and young people, despite the challenges presented by social distancing and virtual engagement. Despite these challenges, the service and partnership have continued to deliver strongly and consistently, whilst undergoing significant changes.  

Recommendations from the assessment have been incorporated into the self-evaluation process and we now have an Annual Youth Justice plan and Continuous Service improvement plan which meet both the requirements of the National Standards and the HMIP Inspection framework for Youth Justice services. 

Our plan sets out  our vision for Barnsley, identifying 7 key priority areas, which are underpinned by a number of enablers, including robust self-assessment and performance management; data and information systems; workforce development and resilience; audit and quality assurance; public protection and contextual safeguarding; partnership engagement and the dynamic and fluid context of COVID response and recovery phases.   We have also identified a number of golden threads which run through our work, which are: Child First; Investing in relationships; Education, Employment and Training; Safe Spaces, Transitions Matter and Trauma.

Through the delivery of the Annual Youth Justice plan the Youth Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Board will ensure that the partnership continues to develop and thrive, provide services to the highest standards, delivers positive outcomes for our children and young people and thereby makes a real contribution to the safety, and life chances of some of our most vulnerable children in Barnsley.

Mel John-Ross
Executive Director for Children’s Services and Chair of the Youth Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Board

Introduction, vision and strategy

This document sets out the annual plan for Barnsley Youth Justice Service for 2020-2021. Since the last annual plan, Barnsley Youth Justice Service has undergone significant change; both in terms of leadership, and a comprehensive journey of service transformation also now well established.

This period has seen the development and imposition of:

  • A comprehensive Continuous Service Improvement Plan (CSIP);
  • The Quality Assurance and Audit framework, developed to work seamlessly with the CSIP to maximise the trajectory of our improvement journey
  • The recruitment to a new post to support service improvement and evaluation: The Quality Assurance and Governance officer
  • A significant programme of service policy review and refresh
  • several innovative practice tools in key areas, crucially co-developed with workers, including core assessment completion, court practice, resettlement practice guidance and a toolkit for work with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) families
  • A revised multi-agency strategy to address contextual safeguarding/child criminal exploitation-Barnsley YJS have been at the forefront of this

This progress was achieved whilst the service was able to withstand the unprecedented pressure brought by the COVID pandemic.  It is a considerable achievement that children and families were provided with a consistently high standard of service with the retention of a policy of face-to-face delivery at its core; this is a testament to the resilience of the staff group, who embody the core values of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.

The youth justice sector has also seen dynamic change, with the issues of contextual safeguarding, child criminal exploitation (CCE) and disproportionality providing the multi-agency with ongoing challenges at a local, regional and national level. Key themes, such as the ‘Child First and ‘identity-shift’ approaches demand that services continue to evolve their practice approaches and service representation and involvement has been consistently strong, with notable contributions regionally to both the YJB developing practice forum and the South and West Yorkshire Resettlement consortium.

The Barnsley Youth Justice plan 2021-22 looks to further propel service improvement and progression, and provide assurance that the children, their families, victims of crime and the wider community of Barnsley have a high functioning youth justice service that serves them, and they can be proud of.

Vision and strategy

The 2021-22 Barnsley Youth justice plan is the culmination of a collaborative process of self-assessment and evaluation involving children, staff and the Management Board.  The plan underlines our commitment and ambition to deliver good and ‘even better’ services to children, young people and their families that achieve the core aims of:

  • Diverting children in Barnsley from the criminal justice system wherever possible
  • Successfully engaging and supporting children who do enter so they do not reoffend
  • Working restoratively and ensuring victims have a voice
  • Managing and reducing risk, thus ensuring Barnsley a safe place for children to live and thrive

Our workforce is our greatest asset and at the heart of the strategy is our commitment to support our practitioners to learn, develop, maintain high standards within a stable and highly valued workforce, who are proud of the quality of their practice, in an established culture of continuous learning and improvement.

This is encompassed by the four Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC) values: We’re a Team! We’re Honest! We’ll be Excellent! We’re Proud!

Our values

The “Barnsley 2030” vision provides the service with the inspiration to our part in ensuring the borough is ‘the place of possibilities’.  To this end, our annual plan has also been guided by the council 2021-24 plan.

Our service plan is further underpinned Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council’s Children and Young People’s Plan 2019-2022.  This sets out a vision for all children and young people, which is that they:

  1. attend a school or other education setting that is good.
  2. Achieve success in learning and work.
  3. Live in a strong and resilient family.

We want Barnsley to be a place where:

  • Children and young people live in a safe environment, where they feel listened to, supported and respected.
  • Children, young people and families make healthy lifestyle choices, and are emotionally well and resilient.
  • Children and young people enjoy life and its opportunities, achieve their potential and benefit from a good education.
  • Young people have access to and secure good jobs.
  • Children and young people become active citizens who contribute to creating a better Barnsley.

As evidenced in more detail in section 1, the annual plan has also been developed in order to ensure it complements the plans and strategies of key partners and ensures that wherever possible, a coherent, multi-agency approach is taken to achieving our strategic and operational goals.

Governance, leadership and partnership arrangements

Governance structure and leadership

The responsibility for establishing a Youth Justice Service sits with the Chief Executive of the Local Authority in cooperation with Chief Officer of Police, Probation and Health.  Under Ministerial guidance, the Local Authority Chief Executive establishes the Youth Crime and ASB Board and appoints the Chair.

The Youth Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Board (YCASBB) is responsible for Barnsley’s strategy for addressing crime and anti-social behaviour by young people aged 18 and under (if not subject to youth to adult transition).  It is chaired by Melanie John-Ross, Executive Director for Children’s Services.

The YCASBB oversees and monitors the Youth Justice Service for Barnsley and ensures that there is a robust strategy to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour before it happens and to address crime and anti-social behaviour when it has happened.  The board delivers a partnership approach to delivering system-wide improvements, achieve better outcomes and ensure that the voice of children, young people and parents is central to planning and decision-making processes.

The 1998 Crime and Disorder Act requires Local Authorities in partnership with providers and commissioners of Police, Health and Probation services to develop and oversee a Youth Justice Service for the borough.  Additionally, the 1989 and 2004 Children Acts require partners to safeguard and promote the welfare of children living in the borough and to cooperate to ensure that these outcomes are achieved.  The current YCASBB structure meets these requirements.

The 1998 Act requires Chief Officers of the Local Authority, Police, Probation and Health to contribute staff and resources to the Youth Justice Service and, as a result, representatives of these agencies are regarded as core members of the Youth Crime and ASB Board.  Other members are included as appropriate to meeting the objectives of the Board.

Membership of the Youth Crime and ASB Board includes the following representatives:

  • Executive Director, Children’s Services Directorate (Chair)
  • Service Director, Education, Early Start and Prevention
  • Head of Early Start, Prevention and Sufficiency
  • Head of Commissioning Mental Health, Children’s and Maternity and Specialised Services, Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group
  • South Yorkshire Police
  • Head of National Probation Service, Barnsley and Sheffield
  • Service Manager, Liaison and Diversion, SWFT
  • Manager, Family Intervention Service, Berneslai Homes
  • Head of Children and Family Social Care
  • Service Manager, Youth Justice, Targeted Youth Support
  • Service Manager, Early Intervention and Prevention, (Targeted Youth Support)
  • District Manager, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Service Manager, Safer Neighbourhood Services
  • South Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company
  • Secondary Schools Principal/Assistant Principal
  • Further Education/Training/Employment representative
  • Police and Crime Commissioner representative

The Youth Crime and ASB Board principally reports to the following strategic partnerships:

  • The Safer Barnsley Partnership
  • The Barnsley Children and Young Peoples Trust
  • The Barnsley Safeguarding Children Partnership
  • The Youth Crime and ASB Board will also make reports to other local and regional bodies as appropriate.

Improved governance arrangements mean there is whole system accountability and clear understanding of the local area’s progress in delivering the reforms to the National Standards for Youth Justice, as well as mechanisms by which individual services and partners are accountable for their performance in improving outcomes for children and young people within the local Youth Justice system.

The YCASBB has in the past 12 months taken a more dynamic role in driving system-wide improvement programme and ensure the service is equipped to manage emerging challenges. The Board is the overarching strategic group that:

  • Governs the development and implementation of all plans to improve local area arrangements.
  • Delivers improved partnership wide grip and discipline in the management of Youth Justice related pressures and ensures that a reporting and escalation process is in place.
  • Ensures delivery of the Youth Justice continuous service improvement programme (CSIP), which is delivered through various working groups and the Youth Justice Quality Assurance sub-group.

Governance arrangements are subject to regular review to ensure that timely and co-ordinated decision-making happens at the most appropriate level and that progress in improving services and outcomes is monitored at both operational and strategic level.

The Board have identified and agreed that it would be beneficial for the Youth Justice service to seek independent input from other Local Authority colleagues to support us in our improvement journey, and we are therefore proposing to request a Peer Review to be undertaken as soon as practicable to support the Board in assessing progress and areas for further improvement. This has been delayed due to the COVID pandemic but remains a priority.    

A new Service Manager was appointed in February 2021; this appointment ensured the service had a skilled and experienced leader and criminal justice practitioner in post and this has afforded further stability for the service as it pursues the journey of continuous improvement as outlined throughout this plan.   

With YCASBB providing clear and overt leadership from a strategic perspective, and strong leadership within the service with a focus on workforce development, this supports an alignment to the commitment to promote leaders at every level.

Partnership arrangements

The governance structure that supports all work with children is outlined below.  In addition, it there are a number of complementary multi-agency plans and strategies that the YJ plan is reciprocally linked to:

Local area Youth Governance Structure, Youth Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Board (YCASSBB)

Board/partnership Sub-groups

Safeguarding Children Partnership

  • Child Exploitation
  • Multiple vulnerability and complex abuse
  • Performance and QA
  • Policies and procedures
  • Child Death overview panel
Community Safety Partnership
  • Crime
  • ASB
  • Protecting vulnerable people
Health and Well-being Board
  • Emotional Health and Well-Being (EHWB) Group
Children’s Trust Executive Group N/A
Barnsley Alliance Boards (Strategic alliance of primary and secondary schools) N/A
Liaison and Diversion Steering Group N/A

Financial management and resource allocation

Barnsley YJS has worked closely with colleagues in financial services to ensure a prudent management of the service budget has been maintained even under the unprecedented pressures brought by the COVID pandemic and the end of key contributions via the Think Family funding stream (£138,448).  Activity has been undertaken to manage this, and whilst this has not impacted on the core service structure, this led to the reconfiguration of services bought from Remedi as part of the local contract held with them, as outlined below.  

In 2021-22, the proposed service budget is to be allocated as outlined in the following tables:


Type Cash In-kind Total income
Youth Justice Board £479,405 £0 £479,405
Local Authority £638,965 £85,000 £723,965
Police £0 £30,000 £30,000
Police and Crime Commissioner £150,000 £0 £150,000
Probation £5,000 £40,000 £45,000
Health £88,000 £90,000 £178,000
Welsh Government £0 £0 £0
Other £0 £0 £0
Total income £1,361,370 £245,000 £1,606,370


Type Salaries Activity costs Accommodation Overheads Equipment Total expenditure
Youth Justice Board £323,835 £37,444 £32,694 £85,432 £0 £479,405
Local Authority £516,616 £49,907 £43,575 £113,867 £0 £723,965
Police £30,000 £0 £0 £0 £0 £30,000
Police and Crime Commissioner £0 £150,000 £0 £0 £0 £150,000
Probation £40,000 £5,000 £0 £0 £0 £45,000
Health £178,000 £0 £0 £0 £0 £178,000
Welsh Government £0 £0 £0 £0 £0 £0
Other £0 £0 £0 £0 £0 £0
Total £1,088,451 £242,351 £76,269 £199,299 £0 £1,606,370

In the Service Recovery Plan in 2020, the service provided a detailed account of how finances had been managed and that in this context, there had been negligible impact from COVID, though it must be acknowledged that the service was and continues to operate under authority-wide limitations on spending- a measure taken to mitigate against future risk brought on by COVID. 

This budget will continue to ensure that Barnsley YJS meets the requirements regarding staffing as outlined in the Crime and Disorder Act (1998).  Furthermore, the allocated funds will be used to drive effective and focused service delivery that meets the needs of the cohort, reflects the local landscape in terms of resources and aligns to the YJB Terms and Conditions of Grants.  

As service delivery is blended and staff continue to primarily work from home, this has had some impact in expenditure related to practice, with reductions in costs related to premises management offset by increases in travel related costs.  The impact of these have been negligible in respect of the overall budget.  The absence of a core location has also had ongoing impact for some seconded roles.

  • Police: the seconded Police officer has continued to co-locate with colleagues in the parent agency. This has continued to prove effective for their wider practice and it is foreseen this situation will not change in the medium-term.
  • Probation: the seconded probation officer was shielded at point of lockdown and has since had a significant period of absence as a result of contracting COVID. Both agencies have worked hard to ensure transitions have not been negatively impacted on, and the revised plan is now for a new secondee to be sought to fill the post.
  • Health: Contributions from health services continue to support a number of key roles that provide the service with a good quality provision of specialist services and allows the service to address the impact of trauma on children and families:
    • CAMHS nurse: 2 x full-time (f/t) posts in place
    • Learning disability nurse: 1 x f/t
    • Parenting practitioner-trauma focus

NB: the service is in the process of securing funding to procure Speech and Language therapy provision from the CCG, having identified this as a gap in offer.

  • Restorative Services: Discontinuation of Think Families funding has seen a reconfiguration of services. Family mediation worker (x2), and ETE support worker posts were lost, however two new 20-hour post were created in a new role-Restorative practitioner.  This role is focused on diversion practice and staff have a portfolio of skills to provide restorative family interventions to support desistence.

Strategic Planning: placing the Youth Justice Plan into a wider context

Having outlined the linkages between ‘Barnsley 2030’ and the Council 2021-24 plan and the Youth Justice Plan, the following section clearly demonstrates how the 2021-22 Youth Justice Plan is structured to align with other key strategic plans to achieve seamless approaches to shared priorities:

Relevant plans and strategies that align to the 2021-22 Youth Justice Plan

Service/organisation Plan/strategy name Key priorities that align to the Youth Justice plan
South Yorkshire Office for Police and Crime Commissioner Police and Crime Plan
  • Protecting vulnerable people
  • Tackling crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Treating people fairly
Safer Barnsley Partnership and Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) Annual Plan
  • Primary prevention – stopping violence before it starts.
  • Secondary prevention – provide support early to stop violent behaviour from becoming established.
  • Tertiary prevention – providing a way out for those already entrenched in violence.
  • Criminal justice and enforcement – holding people accountable when they are criminally culpable.
  • Attitudinal change – aiming to shift cultural norms in society.
Local Criminal Justice Board (LCJB) Local Priorities
  • An end-to-end service for supporting victims and witnesses
  • An end-to-end system for rehabilitating offenders and young people who commit crime, and reducing re-offending
  • A more efficient and integrated local criminal justice system
Barnsley Safeguarding Children’s Partnership Children and Young People’s Plan 2019-22

Vision of the Barnsley Children and Young People’s Trust:

  • For all Barnsley’s children to attend a school that has been graded as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted
  • Success in learning and work
  • Strong resilient families

Six strategic priorities for achieving this are:

  • Keeping children and young people safe
  • Improving education, achievement and employability
  • Tackling child poverty and improving family life
  • Supporting all children, young people and families to make healthy lifestyle choices
  • Encouraging positive relationships and strengthening emotional health
  • Improving staff skills to deliver quality services
Youth Justice Board Strategic Plan 2021-24
  • Child First
  • ‘Strategic Pillars’ as outlined in the plan.
Public Health EHWB improvement Plan 2021-23
  • Improving the journey of children through mental health services

There is also alignment to the strategies of peer services who manages key aspects of the lives of our children and families:

  • Berneslai Homes
  • Children’s Social Care
  • Education and SEND
  • Employment and Skills
  • Adult Social Care
  • Adult Substance misuse Services-Recovery Steps
  • Public health

The Youth Justice Plan recognises the vital importance of co-existing with the strategies and plans of other services that children and families have in their lives. This external position is mirrored by an internal scrutiny of practice and performance to ensure that we can achieve continuous service improvement.

The Continuous Service Improvement Plan

As noted, the service approach to improvement has been transformed in the last 18 months, with it now aligned to the wider framework for continuous for improvement already in place in Children’s Services. This has provided both structure and resource to match the absolute dedication to a continuous, collaborative journey of improvement. Our comprehensive Continuous Service Improvement plan (CSIP) places the voice of service users and staff at the centre and is primed to maintain the trajectory that has been set.
Structurally, the CSIP was previously split into 6 areas; work against each area is progressed via a number of agreed and timescale-driven actions. Operationally, the CSIP functions reciprocally with the QA and audit strategy to maximise both identification of areas of high practice, those that require improvement and support a review of the impact of completed actions in terms of the improvement journey. The Service Self-Evaluation Framework (SEF) document 2020-21 priorities provided the 6 CSIP priority areas in the first version of the document. These were:

  • Strategic and operational development
  • Post Court Assessment, Planning, Implementation and review
  • Out of Court Assessment, Planning, Implementation and review
  • Victim and Restorative Justice Work
  • Work in the Secure Estate
  • Work in Courts

The process of review undertaken in preparation for this year’s Youth Justice Plan has resulted in the appraisal that whilst functionally sound, these priority areas were not reflective of the Child First and outcomes-focused service improvements that were being made. Therefore, the 2nd version of CSIP has been revised and itself improved to mirror the revised services priorities outlined later in this document.

Evaluation of Progress

Evaluation of progress against the CSIP is overseen using the following methods:

  • Quarterly update reports to YCASBB
  • Monthly meetings with YJS priority and action owners to review progress and revise the plan
  • Review in staff supervision by managers

Priorities outlined in this plan will be embedded into CSIP to ensure operational completion is aligned with the approach that has proven to be highly successful for the service.

In August 2020, the service conducted a review of disproportionality as an internal response to the YJB Exploring Racial Disparity study.  This review concluded that:

  • Data suggests that generally there had not been a disproportionate representation of BAME children overall in the Barnsley cohort during the COVID pandemic (up until August 2020).
  • 7 young people classed as BAME were supervised during the period of COVID lockdown and recovery (1.4.20 to 31.8.20), out of a total of 102 children, which equates to 6.9% of the cohort.
  • There was an increase in the number of young people from Eastern European backgrounds arrested by the Police during the lockdown. Of the 7 children classified as BAME, 3 are of Latvian origin and known to each through friendship or family relationships.

The following service actions were agreed by YCASBB in response to the review:

  • Review current Equality and Diversity policy and determine the need to provide additional section that provides clear direction for practice with children from BAME backgrounds (including GRT brief see below)
  • Review GRT brief and develop a toolkit for practice with GRT children that is cited in the guidance document.

Progress against these actions was presented to YCASBB in March 2021.  This work remains ongoing as the service seeks to further develop and embed this practice across the partnership. 

Workforce Development Strategy

As part of the overall CSIP, the service workforce development plan has been subject to systematic review and refresh, so Barnsley YJS has a workforce development strategy that reflects our admiration for the dedication of our staff to their roles and our duty to support their ongoing development.  The Service workforce development matrix has been the main outcome of this change process.  The matrix provides the service with a comprehensive framework to drive workforce development.  This Matrix has been designed with the following key features:

  • Every role in the service is listed individually and has been reviewed so to ensure a bespoke, role-specific programme of development
  • Training is split into 3 easy to understand groups:
    • Mandatory: For all staff-it is a condition of employment in the role to have this training completed
    • Essential: For all staff-although not a condition of employment, this training is identified as crucial to the role and there is an expectation of completion
    • Good practice: Whilst optional, the training will contribute to professional development, and drive service improvement
  • A total of 82 courses are listed in the matrix-for each, there is brief guidance relating to booking and cost.

Service performance

Performance in Barnsley is evaluated using the following methods:

  • Gathering and analysis of statistical performance data
  • Completion of quality assurance and audit (as outlined in the service QA and audit framework)
  • Operational evaluation by managers in planning and supervision functions (as outlined in the service management oversight policy)
  • Voice and feedback from service users
  • Voice and feedback from staff
  • Business/Service planning
  • Reports on particular workstreams or areas of particular interest

All associated performance information and any identified recommendations for improvement are shared with YCASBB and where relevant this is embedded into the continuous service improvement plan (CSIP) strategy.

Performance and Outcomes

Barnsley continues to evaluate performance against the following key indicators: 

  • The first-time entrant (FTE) rate
  • The reoffending rate
  • The use of custody rate

National, Regional and Statistical Neighbour data has been sourced from the official Ministry of Justice (MoJ) data for benchmarking.  This data is historical, due to the determining criteria for each indicator, with figures relating to the service cohort from around 20-24 months prior to their release by the MoJ.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the MoJ has only released data relating to Custody Rates, so the data relating to First Time Entrants and Reoffenders for Q4 is related to the cohort ending in December 2019 (Q3) and is the latest available.

In acknowledging the real-time lag in this data, the service also has in place the YJB ‘live tracker’ so more up-to-date statistical information can offer added insight into our performance evaluation-although this data will not be confirmed by the Ministry of Justice for a further year, it covers a cohort ending 17 months later than the official tracker.

  • 49% reduction in the rate per 100,000 for FTE. The rate per 100,000 of 139 compared to a rate of 280 in the year ending December 2018, indicates that Barnsley has seen a 49% decrease over a 12-month period which is significantly better than the national (211), regional (226) and sub-regional (202) rates, which have also reduced.
  • Between 2016 and 2019 the FTE rate for Barnsley has reduced from 379 to 139 and when comparing the rate to similar YOT areas, over the last calendar year, we have the 2nd lowest rate in our comparator group.
  • 23 young people are in the re-offending cohort as per the official data, of which 7 reoffended, committing 33 offences between them. This gives a binary rate of 30.4% and a frequency rate of 1.43 which indicates Barnsley are still performing better than the regional and national averages. Barnsley is marginally outperformed by the sub-regional (South Yorkshire) average of 29.7%
  • Barnsley only has 1 young person in the custody cohort (a LAC child, caretaken from another authority). The custody rate for Barnsley has reduced to 0.05 and remains in the top quartile of all YOT’s nationally. 1 young person in this cohort is a reduction on the previous cohort and compared to a custody rate of 0.58 in 2017 shows that there has been a huge reduction in the use of custody rates in Barnsley. Although nationally there has been a significant reduction in custody rates since 2008, Barnsley continue to outstrip the national reduction. The strategy is to maintain this low custody rate by continuing to provide courts with good quality pre-sentence reports out-lining robust community-based alternatives to custodial sentences.

The service now obtains a more up-to-date picture of performance by use of the YJB reoffending live tracker.  As a result of the rolling nature of how the cohort is deemed ‘in scope’ (a 12-month figure from when the child enters the CJS) our local reoffending tracker cannot be presented as an accumulative annual figure. Latest local data shows that in Q4 2020-21, Barnsley Youth Justice service had:

  • 7 First Time Entrants (FTEs)
  • 49 young people in the re-offending cohort
  • 10 of these re-offended giving Barnsley a binary rate of 20.4% which is a reduction on the official figure reported and would place Barnsley in the top quintile of YOT areas nationally.

 It should be emphasised that this is local, unofficial data and we will need to wait and see if it is borne out in the official data for this cohort which will not be released by the Ministry of Justice for a further year.

Wider statistical performance data

Victim and restorative interventions

Barnsley also utilises statistical data to evaluation performance relating to:

  • Reparation
  • Restorative practices

These services, provided by Remedi, have performed strongly in as outlined in the Q4 2020-21 statistics:


  • 167 hours were completed in Q4 20-21-a 96.4% completion rate

Victim work and restorative interventions:

  • Number of victims contacted: 97 victims contacted, 82 engaged = 85% engagement rate
  • Number of indirect RJ undertaken 50 indirect(s) undertaken
  • Number of direct RJ undertaken: 15 directs completed.

Specialist interventions

Performance by the specialist intervention team is consistently strong and reflects the effectiveness of the multi-agency delivery to children and families.

Role Overview of resource Performance: 12/20-05/21
Senior Education Welfare Officer 1 x f/t: Provides a direct link for workers to liaise with schools, Education Welfare Service and other education providers. Works closely with the EP and the LD Nurse to support a graduated response for young people with SEND and supporting SEND and EHCP process. Supports the NEET panel in conjunction with TIAG to enable more smooth transition to post 16 provision. 34 - cases referred for support and/or intervention,
14 - young people have EHCP’s (41%).
CAMHS Mental Health Workers 2 x f/t - Undertake specialist assessments for young people identified as needing emotional and mental health support. They provide one to one and joint planned interventions with young people, including talking therapies around attachment difficulties, neurodiversity and trauma Conduit into psychiatric services where appropriate and undertake joint work both in the community and within secure settings 78: the number of children substantively engaged.
250: health case record checks to support assessment and planning practice
Learning Disability Nurse 1 x f/t - recruitment to the LD post was successful in April 2021, after a 12-month vacancy which was impeded by the pandemic. The role Provides screening for young people who are thought to have a Learning Disability or Difficulty (LDD) but have no formal diagnosis. Providing a direct referral route to disability services (children's and adult) and offering 1-1 interventions around accessibility, SEND and neurodiversity. 25: children assessed since the 13th April
Educational Psychologist The YJS commission 19 days per year and are also part of the core offer from the service to wider services. The role supports graduated response and work closely with the team to enable young people to access support for SEND. Full cognitive assessments can be completed for identified young people. Support Plans, advice and interventions with schools/young person and training for YJS practitioners is also part of this role. 4 - consultation meetings
20 - discussions around young people with presenting issues within their educational settings
Substance Misuse Worker 1 x f/t - Undertakes specialist assessments and interventions with young people with risk and need identified in this area. Including harm minimisation, every day first aid, talking therapies 45 - number of children provided with substantive intervention for identified substance misuse issue
Parenting Workers 2 x f/t Parenting worker/Parenting worker with Trauma specialism – this resource provides the ability to work intensively with parents and carers to address both issues specific to parents that may be acting as a barrier to effective parenting, or with the full family to address acknowledged issues. In recognising parental trauma as a significant barrier to effective parenting, the service has re-commenced the ACEs Toolkit group parenting programme for parents with identified issues of trauma. The parenting worker with trauma specialism also has a key role in working with partners to further develop the pathway for parents, as part of the wider work being undertaken by the regional Emotional Health and Well-Being group with their improvement plan. 8 - the number of families engaged in a comprehensive parenting intervention
Speech and Language Therapist New Post funding has not been clarified at this point so we are unable to clarify the position with working pattern – This has been developed in response to national and local research which states that over half of the young people who enter the criminal justice system have SLCN. The intention of the role is to screen and support Speech Language and Communication Need within the Youth Justice Service. N/A

Audit and quality assurance

The Youth Justice Service (YJS) Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) is well embedded. The QAF has recently undergone a review to ensure it reflects current quality assurance (QA) activity; with the reviewed document is to be presented to YCABB in May 2021.  The QAF supports the service in identifying and celebrating good and outstanding practice across the service. Where practice does not meet the required standards, the framework helps us to identify and understand potential challenges to this, to enable early resolutions and improvement action. Areas for service development and improvement, derived from activities under the QAF, are captured within the YJS continuous service improvement plan, and are also addressed through supervision and team meetings with practitioners to support reflection and continuous professional development.

The QAF provides a set of qualitative methods for assessing and scrutinising our quality of practice within Barnsley YJS. The QAF also considers:

  • Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation’s (HMIP) national inspection framework
  • National Standards for Children in the Youth Justice System as defined by the Youth Justice Board (YJB)
  • how well the child, family and victims are supported throughout their journey with the YJS, ensuring that needs are recognised and responded to at the right time and by the right services.

The evolved QAF now has as routine:

  • Auditors drawn from across the service in terms of roles and experience
  • The voice of children and carers as part of the evaluation process

Audit outcomes

During the first 12 months of the QA schedule, only full case audits have been given an overall grading. Grading of DIP samples will be further discussed within the YJS QA Sub-Group over the coming months, once the recently agreed process for moderation has been established and embedded within the QA process.

Outcome type Apr 2020 Sept 2020 Oct 2020 Mar 2021
Outstanding 13% 0% 0% 12%
Good 87% 100% 75% 88%
Requires improvement 0% 0% 25% 0%

The most recent full case audit shows an increase in the number of audits graded as good, rising from 75% in October 2020 to 88% in March 2021; with 12% of cases in March being judged outstanding. Prior to October 2020, cases had also been consistently good, with 13% of cases in April 2020 also being judged outstanding.

Following the case audit in October 2020, where 25% of cases were judged to require improvement, the associated report commented heavily on the impact of the pandemic on case management procedures; which was reflected in some of the overall judgements made. The service has since worked hard to adapt to remote working arrangements and adopted new approaches to practice to ensure that key tasks and interventions are now occurring in a timely manner. As such, this has now been reflected in the judgements made within the most recent full case audit in March 2021.

Family Feedback

Feedback from young people, parents and carers is used to ascertain how our services are impacting on and making a difference to them. It informs our CSIP and drives changes within the services we provide to young people, families, victims and the community. Direct feedback was first sought from young people and parents as part of the Mental Health DIP sample and has been incorporated into all subsequent QA activity since. By obtaining the views of parents, carers and young people we can ensure they are involved in influencing decisions which effect their lives, it enables us to have a clear and shared understanding of the quality and impact of what we do and how we do it.

The table below shows the number of audits where young person and/or parent feedback has been obtained during this period

Type Returned audits Family feedback received
Mental Health DIP 16 12
Parenting/FM DIP 12 10
Full case audit 9 5

When completing full case file audits direct quotes are captured from discussions and recorded in the audit tool, these are used to demonstrate and provide a richer sense of the service we are providing.

Direct quotes from children and families are summarised below:

  • I was helped to get my CSCS card and get a college place doing L3 plastering
  • I was suffering from anxiety and depression, it started from when I got locked up and just got worse. The work helped me quite a bit, just being able to talk about stuff and understand things more.

  • My worker was nice and compassionate, she listened and gave me good advice. She also gave me some useful information about Autism that helped me understand my son better as well as his behaviour.

  • It’s been really good: I got a new worker part way though, but it was an easy transition.  The offence focused work has been positive and has helped me think about the future
  • Random people ringing up was hard because I couldn't get to know them, so doing it on the phone wasn't always helpful. 

  • Our worker has helped us to communicate and talk, she's very approachable, always there if we need her, almost like a guardian angel.

  • I didn’t want the intervention to end as I’d noticed a change in his behaviour at home and school. I appreciated what JL has done for him and us as a family. Found it all very useful.

  • We’re meeting up at the allotment-this is a good location for me as I worked on the pagoda there when I did my reparation, which means there is shelter there now too.

Supervision and operational evaluation

Barnsley provide case management and practice support to staff based on a model of:

  • Structured supervision:
    • This is undertaken in line with the service management oversight policy
    • As part of the service CSIP, an audit of supervision provided to staff, completed in May 2021 found that 15 of 16 staff in the cohort received supervision in line with policy. This completion rate was achieved with the management team functioning at 75% for a significant period of time.
    • ‘Even better if’: In June, the service is to launch an additional task for completion by staff-the ‘Caseload supervision monitoring tool’ requires staff to complete a monthly overview of their caseload, for consideration by the management team. This enables the service to have a routine update of case progress and provide staff with the opportunity to flag issues of concern.
  • Ad hoc guidance and support-instigated by either party:
    • The service has managed an obvious change in culture relating to peer and supervisor case and well-being support that occurs in an ad hoc way as the service recovery has meant staff continue to WFH.
    • ‘Even better if’: In June, the service will launch a revised duty manager strategy. This will see a shift from a line-manager led offer, to case and practice related issues being managed by a dedicated duty manager each day.  This should led to increased resilience in the service and also promote staff to discuss issues with a wider cohort.
  • Formal case planning:
    • the plan for every child is evaluated by a multi-agency panel, chaired by a manager.
    • This ensures the voice of the child, their parents and carers is communicated, staff are able to work together to develop a coherent plan, and this is subject to evaluation by the chair.
    • ‘Even better if’: the QA and audit work in 20-21 has identified timeliness of intervention commencement as an area for improvement. In June, the service will embed an additional process.  The ‘plan implementation meeting’ will be convened within 5 working of the core planning meeting and, led by the case manager, will demand that the multi-agency operationalise and sequence their interventions, based on case need.  This provides an additional layer of accountability.

Voice and feedback from service users

As part of the process of evaluation to inform this year’s plan, the service conducted a survey with children.  This survey consisted of 16 questions and a cohort of 20 children successfully completed the process.  This was a highly positive experience for all and it was very encouraging to see a willingness from current and previous service users to provide feedback on their experience of Barnsley YJS.

Survey results:

  • 90% of young people felt interventions were positive and plan was right for them
  • 80% satisfaction with support provided (dissatisfaction related to education)
  • 95% felt they were able to contribute to the work completed and the support they received
  • 100% felt they were able to develop a trusting and mutually respectful relationship with their Youth Justice worker
  • 95% felt they were updated regularly and were happy with communication methods used (mainly face to face visits)
  • Where face to face contact was not possible there was a preference towards telephone calls (60%) and text messages (45%) rather than via letter, social media channels or video calls.
  • 70% felt they had an opportunity to feedback on how the service could do things differently
  • Children were seen in a variety of locations, but predominantly in either their home, at Wombwell IKIC or at the service allotment (off Summer Lane)
  • A number of children fed back positively in relation to the allotment which they feel is a safe space and provided a positive & calm environment for meetings and interventions
  • Positive feedback received in relation to Wombwell IKIC including that the environment was ‘friendly’ and the staff were ‘nice’
  • 100% of children were happy meeting their YJ worker at the location where they had their appointments, but 90% said they were not given a choice.
  • 95% of children felt things had improved for them as a result of working with the Youth Justice service

Children were asked ‘What helped children most and why?’

Voice of children taken from the survey:

  • YJS and Parenting worker helping my relationship with my mum
  • Keeping me out of f*****g going out and robbing people and keeping me out of gangs by keeping me busy, baking s**t etc
  • I don't know how to answer - find it useful what Matt talks about
  • Not sure
  • It helped but now I'm not sure
  • To be able to talk about things
  • Helped with my confidence
  • My worker helped with my confidence back and getting out and about
  • Not really helped because I didn't comply
  • Honestly it didn't really help me it was someone to speak to about feelings, it was a waste of time. No one can change who I am
  • I helped myself the most. I made a silly decision and I grew up a bit
  • Matt’s approachable, explains everything. not kept in dark, confidence in info sharing
  • Made me realise what I did was wrong, and think before I do things
  • Probably Beth at the allotments, relaxed to engage myself in the community
  • Helped me, talking to Laura about everything
  • Talking to Di about what has happened and how I feel
  • I don't know
  • You're understanding of what was going on for me
  • Allotment

Children were asked ‘what improved and why?’

  • Things have improved at home a bit but not with school
  • Everything has worked because they listen to me , like Beth she understands young people as well as Jasper CAMHS and Steph, YJS Worker
  • I don't know- feel better in myself
  • I feel more supported mentally
  • Not been trouble since and has made me think about things differently
  • Feels like I can cope with stuff better
  • Improved because I don't want to get into trouble again
  • They have improved, I am doing more stuff and get into work or education and have the confidence to do this.
  • Yes a bit at home
  • Things have improved because I have grown up not because of YOT interventions
  • Not really because I got back in to trouble. It's different where I am now as I am in another YOT on a court order
  • No repeat behaviour, odd blips but massive improvements
  • A bit early doors but going ok
  • Everything
  • Don't know, things feel better
  • My behaviour
  • After YOT, I am now a bricklayer, was doing ground , got a new car because I got a better job. Finished course
  • Not carrying anything round I shouldn't have, feel I've learnt something

Voice and feedback from staff

Staff were consulted with via a workshop format-small groups of 4-6 staff. key themes emerging were:

Vision and values:

  • Staff felt that the service has a ‘child 1st’ approach that seeks to reduce offending, reduce risk and protect the public-this aligns with YJB guidance
  • Families did not always understand what the aims of the YJS (and wider criminal justice system) were
  • service needs an easily defined vision and value statement for staff and service users to understand

Service recovery and delivery re-design:

  • WFH has led to increased productivity but also increased isolation and less daily structure.
  • The development in use of technology has been broadly beneficial, though is not as effective as face-to-face contact in all cases.
  • A significantly higher use of home visits has resulted in a ‘family-led’ approach to work and increased engagement.
  • A variety of options for face-to-face engagement is required, including a town centre location is needed, particularly for the most chaotic children.


  • This must be underpinned by support for appropriate self-care and well-being
  • Face-To-Face central location for service user engagement is key for delivery
  • Space for professionals to have face-to-face contact and case discussion is needed


  • Blended model of working: WFH with access to locations for peer support, supervision and other contact
  • Continue to engage staff with monthly workshop format
  • Work Force Development: Staff keen for the matrix to be further developed

Both processes provided a rich insight into both service need and also performance.  The voice of children and staff were presented to YCASBB and formed part of their evaluation of the service priorities as outlined in the plan.

Service priorities for 2021-22

The following service priorities present a culmination of a significant journey of improvement and reflection.  This has been driven by the structural developments implemented so to add rigour and resilience to service delivery and evaluation, but also a focused process of consultation with service users, staff and YCASBB, as highlighted above.

The YCASBB workshop, held on 8 June provided scrutiny and a collective ownership of these revised priorities, based on the direction to ensure they:

  • Place the child 1st
  • Are outcomes focused

This year’s priorities are therefore revised from those set out in the service SEF and present an evolution that stems from the hard work undertaken during the consultation process: 

Priority 1: Delivering better outcomes for children through effective leadership and management 


  • The governance and leadership of the YCASBB (Youth Crime Anti-Social Behaviour Board) supports and promotes the delivery of a high-quality, personalised and responsive service for all children and young people
  • YCASBB members are actively involved in the shared ownership of the continued service improvement plan in order to ensure service delivery is truly multi-agency, with a shared Child First focus
  • The feedback of children, families, staff and the evaluation of data drive a comprehensive range of high-quality services is in place, enabling personalised and responsive provision for all children and families
  • Appropriate resources and facilities are in place to support a high-quality, personalised and responsive approaches for all children and families
  • Staff are empowered to deliver a high-quality, personalised and responsive service for all children and young people-this is underpinned by a commitment to continuous professional development
  • Timely and relevant information is available and in place to support a high-quality, personalised and responsive approach for all children and young people
  • Performance is driven by analysis of statistical data, and other quantitative and qualitative evidence and feedback from service users
  • The continuous Improvement plan and Quality Assurance framework ensure a rigorous approach to service improvement which holds the service and partners to account
  • The service is fully prepared to achieve a positive outcome at HMIP inspection

Priority 2: Practice is collaborative, outcomes focused and achieves positive change


  • Assessment is well-informed, analytical and personalised, actively involving the child and their parents/carers
  • Planning is well informed, holistic and personalised, actively involving the child and their parents/carers and meeting the needs of victims
  • High-quality, well-focussed, personalised and coordinated services are delivered, engaging and assisting the child (and where appropriate, family) to achieve better outcomes
  • Reviewing of progress is well-informed, analytical and personalised, actively involving the child, their parents/carers and significant others
  • Effective management oversight is in place, that meets the needs of children and young people
  • Complex behaviours and offence-types, and the impact of trauma are effectively managed by skilled staff, so children can achieve desistence

Priority 3: Transitions support successful outcomes


  • Youth to Adult transition is successfully managed to achieve the best outcome for the child and align with local and national guidelines
  • Collaborative plans for children subject to any identified transition are developed, implemented and positive outcomes are achieved
  • The service identifies potential transitions at the earliest stage and leads the multi-agency to maximise success
  • Action will be taken to address any identified transition-points with systemic barriers

Priority 4: Victims are heard and harm is addressed


  • High-quality, well-focussed, personalised and coordinated services are delivered to victims of youth crime
  • Restorative Justice interventions effectively engage the child, young person and victim, where appropriate.
  • Performance is routinely reviewed and subject to audit in order to maintain delivery standards

Priority 5: Children in secure accommodation can effectively resettle and change their lives for the better  


  • Every child who enters custody receives a service that keeps them as safe as possible
  • Every child in custody receives advocacy to ensure they receive every opportunity to achieve desistance
  • Every child with an established care network in the community is supported to maintain these key relationships wherever possible
  • Effective planning is undertaken for their resettlement from the point of sentence
  • Practice is aligned to the service resettlement policy which is underpinned by key resettlement principles: constructive resettlement and identity shift

Priority 6: Children, families and partners needs are met at court


  • Children and families receive appropriate support, advice and guidance relating to the court process
  • Children are kept safe during the court process (including detainment pre/post court)
  • Children are advocated for where appropriate and their voice is heard by the court
  • All work in courts is in adherence to statutory service objectives and national standards
  • Develop and maintain effective working relationships with key partners in court

Priority 7: The voice of all is heard and shapes services


  • Every child will be supported to collaborate in planning their intervention to ensure they share ownership and have outcomes they want to achieve
  • Every child will be heard, and their view will contribute to service evaluation and improvement
  • Parents and carers voice will be heard, and their view will contribute to interventions and service evaluation
  • Staff will be routinely involved in service evaluation and be empowered to share the service improvement journey
  • To develop a coherent service voice and influence strategy to formalise and connect all practice related to voice, advocacy and how it drives service improvement


Service performance against the identified priorities will be driven via key enablers:

Enabler Outcome measure
Flexing service delivery to meet changing needs of services users and meet requirements in relation to the COVID 19 pandemic We are effectively managing business & service continuity within the context of changing ways of working and engaging with the cohort due to restrictions and social distancing requirements in a safe and COVID secure way. This includes the challenges in relation to digital/remote working and reduced access to buildings, and wider issues such as responding to outbreaks in the secure estate.
Robust self-assessment and performance management Are we doing the right things and are we having a positive impact on outcomes
Effective information management systems Intelligence based decision making about what matters, including use of the vulnerability tracker and key information from partners
Workforce development and resilience Responding effectively to early identification of need in children supported and also regularly assessing and supporting the resilience of the workforce.
Audit and Quality assurance
activity at all levels with engagement across the partnership
Areas for improvement or pockets of activity where there is inconsistent practice are identified and robustly addressed at the earliest opportunity.
Public protection and contextual safeguarding are considered, and appropriate action taken to disrupt exploitation, and criminalization through disruption Children who are at higher risk of or already subject to exploitation by adults, due to not being engaged within ETE are targeted through proactive interventions to address hidden harm and lost learning.  
Effective Partnership engagement Positive interaction with Police, Probation and Courts to secure co-operation and ability to influence outcomes for children on the cusp of; or involved in the criminal justice system.

The Golden threads

 As part of the consultation process to support the review of service priorities, a consistent view emerged that the service must ensure a recognised number of themes that cut across all aspects of service delivery are identified as forming an additional layer to the annual plan. These themes, or ‘golden threads’ have been identified as:

  • Child First – Our practice is aligned to the Child First principle that supports a youth justice system that sees children as children, treats them fairly and helps them to build on their strengths so they can make a constructive contribution to society. This will prevent offending and create safer communities with fewer victims. Key to this approach is that the voice of the child is heard and is evident in all relevant work
  • Investing in relationships – We believe that children and families will engage positively in substantive interventions if professionals invest time building the core relationship. This has been reinforced by children and families themselves to us. Multi-agency working is more productive if underpinned by mutually respectful relationships that support shared understanding and appropriate challenge
  • Education, Training and Employment – we believe all children should be supported to access suitable ETE provision so to increase their likelihood of obtaining the skills and qualification to lead a successful life.
  • Safe places Secure and safe accommodation is vital if a child is to feel stable enough to engage in the required interventions to support desistence from offending, as are child friendly spaces where professional support can be provided.
  • Transitions matter – change for children and families can have a significant impact. Working to ensure these are managed as well as possible is vital so to minimise negative and maximise positive impact of any notable transition
  • Trauma – The service recognises the impact of trauma on individual and collective lives. By working collaboratively and investing in relationships, there is a determination to support children and families to develop the resilience to address their trauma-this will be reflected in how we work with children and families.  The service is also committed to driving trauma informed practice at a local and regional level through contribution to the Emotional Health and Well-Being improvement plan.

It was agreed by staff and YCASBB that these golden threads perform the function of:

  • ensuring the 7 priorities interact seamlessly;
  • supporting performance and improvement approaches that are flexible, dynamic and recognise the reality of successful outcomes being best achieved by sequential planning and intervening
  • informing the structure of CSIP and QA and audit, to ensure the golden threads are truly are at the forefront of all practice and performance across both service delivery and in the wider work as part of the multi-agency

Responding to the pandemic and recovery from COVID

Barnsley has been impacted on significantly by the COVID pandemic.  As an area that demographically is characterised by high levels of deprivation (the borough is the 39th most deprived local authority area of 326) Barnsley is acknowledged to be close community, both literally in terms of the relatively high numbers of terrace housing, and culturally, with a strong local identity that is driven by a strong sense of common identity. 

As of 28 May 2021, there has been a total of 19,861 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the borough.  Of these cases, 825 resulted in death. 

Building on the progress made as outlined in the service recovery plan, produced in June 2020, Barnsley YJS has continued to provide a highly flexible delivery model, underpinned by:

  • a blended delivery model that prioritised face-to-face contact in homes and the community, with available space also at COVID safe council locations.
  • supporting safe practice by providing a structure of risk assessment to ensure all service delivery is subject to risk assessment that is aligned to both local and national guidelines
  • responding to the emerging reality of COVID having a long-term term impact on all aspects of society by providing staff with a dynamic model of support and supervision with a clear focus on supporting well-being and reducing the risk of staff burn-out.

The 2020-21 service recovery plan specifically outlined a series of recovery actions that were to be undertaken to ensure the service effectively achieved recovery that minimised any negative impact.  Progress against these is outlined below:

Proposed recovery action Progress against action Status Even better...
The service continues to work with strategic and operational partners to ensure that children and staff are kept safe when in court and inter-related scenarios (i.e. secure transport).
  • Staff have provided full representation in court to ensure children are supported and needs assessed/met
  • Service well-being questionnaire updated to encompass secure transport and impact of COVID on detainment in court cells
Ongoing Current proposal is for all local court business to return to Barnsley Magistrate’s court. This is logistically positive for all but will required a further process of risk assessment
Duty management cover continues to be made available for all court appearances. Strategic management also continue to seek the reintroduction of a weekly youth court at Barnsley Magistrates Court. If a return to Barnsley Magistrates’ based youth courts is not feasible, to push for a more ordered and structured approach to the listing of child cases by Sheffield.
  • Both aspects of this action have been completed
Complete As above
Operational/strategic management will continue to seek clarity from HMCTS on strategy for listing of children.
  • This has been resolved
Complete The service is currently seeking improved communication with HMCTS via the renewal of the court user group format. An initial meeting has been completed
Workers will continue to evolve in their practice to ensure they are compliant with and abiding in full with guidance in relation to safe work in courts and raise any dynamic issues with the court environment with operational management
  • Staff practice is fully adherent to safe working
Ongoing Staff can access touch down space in the court building to perform administrative tasks in privacy
The service continues to offer pro-active advocacy for children and seek shorter lead times from the court in relation to appearances and adjournments.
  • This matter has been addressed in dialogue with regional leaders in HMCTS and will continue to be monitored
Ongoing The opening of Barnsley Magistrates’ court should further impact positively on reducing lead-times for children in Barnsley
Barnsley YJS will continue to practice in a flexible manner that assumes a ‘business as usual’ approach to planning that adopts the principles of Pathways to Resettlement and Constructive Resettlement, though based on revised methods to achieve outcomes i.e. the use of virtual technology to communicate with all relevant parties.
  • Barnsley have had no new entrants into custody in the period since completion of the recovery plan
  • The service has developed a comprehensive Resettlement guidance manual to reinforce quality and consistency of practice relating to resettlement
Ongoing Barnsley continues to have no child in custody
When Barnsley has a child in custody, there will be an aspiration to complete face to face contact, though this will be guided by both service and authority guidance at the time, and an assessment of the measures being taken by the establishment at that time to keep all parties safe.
  • As highlighted, no Barnsley child has been remanded or sentenced. The service would work closely with the establishment to seek face-to-face contact, guided by the COVID-led situation at the time.
Ongoing As above
Barnsley YJS will retain the position of not transporting members of the public to and from establishments until further notice. Barnsley YJS will continue to engage children and families using a blended model of face-to face and virtual contact to ensure that all identified transitions are planned for and supported to conclusion.
  • Whilst not required, Barnsley would adhere to local and national guidelines when considering transportation to and from secure establishments
  • Blended model remains in place, with priority for face-to-face delivery
Ongoing COVID related is reduced to again allow option of transportation when deemed appropriate
Barnsley YJS continue to utilise existing processes across the APIR cycle (amended so functional considering COVID-19) to ensure all children receive the highest quality service they deserve.
  • As evaluated using the QA and audit framework, Barnsley has continued to deliver services to a good standard based on the APIR model
Ongoing The service CSIP strategy drives consistently good service delivery, with a trajectory towards outstanding and this is formally assessed as such in HMIP inspection
Barnsley YJS are committed to ensuring that transitions work is more effectively embedded into continuous service improvement practice and that there is a thematic audit of transitions practice at a suitable time (as determined by the schedule developed by the Strategic Quality Assurance sub-group.
  • Practice relating to transitions has been evaluated as part of the case audit process.
  • A future DIP sample of transitions work has been postponed due to the long-term absence of the seconded Probation officer though has remained an area in scope for the process
Ongoing Transitions practice is driven by YCASBB as an acknowledged ‘golden thread’ that cuts across the multi-agency and improvement requires shared ownership

In March 2021, the service provided to YCASBB a consultation paper for consideration: “HMIP: A thematic review of the work of youth offending services during the COVID-19 pandemic:  assessing local progress against the key findings of this review”.

The report acknowledged that the 9 recommendations outlined by HMIP had some relevance for local YJS practice.  Service actions for each were outlined and it was acknowledged these would be addressed within the CSIP. 

From this, 3 actions were identified for completion.  These were endorsed by YCASBB:

  • Work with partners to develop a strategy to ensure children who are defined as high vulnerability by YOTs within the local definition of vulnerable children, to ensure priority access to education or other services, plan the reintroduced to education and employment and address any attainment gap.
  • Develop practice guidance and embed into practice the Routine assessment of a children’s access to IT and remote communication methods as a standard part of assessments process.
  • YCASBB will consider whether the local approach to child to parent/carer violence is strand of work in its own right

These actions remain ongoing and are embedded into operational CSIP.

Barnsley YJS is equipped to ensure that service delivery can be maintained as COVID continues to provide a volatile environment for practice for children, families and staff.  These key structures of CSIP and QA and audit framework ensure practice standards are maintained, whilst there continues to be some risk related to the impact of COVID for the service and wider authority in terms of  finances and assets, the service is flexed to ensure these can be managed with minimum impact.

Service challenges and risks

The service has identified priorities for 2021-22, framed into 7 priority areas and supported by comprehensive CSIP and QA and audit frameworks.  However, there are also areas of ongoing risk and challenge that it is important to acknowledge.  Each area will also be addressed using the above frameworks, with over-arching drive and scrutiny from YCASBB: 

Area of risk or challenge Progress made Future actions
Ongoing impact of COVID pandemic
  • Progress made in maintaining and enhancing service delivery in response to COVID has been outlined in the body of the plan.
  • As highlighted in detail above
Financial implications and potential impact on service delivery
  • The service manager continues to work closely with corporate finance to monitor service budget and ensure a balanced approach is maintained that seeks to ensure service delivery is not negatively impacted on whilst also making prudent decisions that support the protection of roles and services
  • Corporately, BMBC is working to minimise any financial impact of COVID on frontline services
  • The service continues to operate without a core location. Work is ongoing with corporate services to identify a revised ‘young people’s hub’ location for joint delivery of frontline services to children with social Care
  • Continue to manage the service budget using existing processes
  • Seek opportunities to raise finances, apply for funding (either individually or as part of the multi-agency) to create further resource capacity to drive improvement and increase flexibility to manage emerging pressures
  • Work with strategic management and governance to position the service for re-structure, should there be the need
  • Work with key partner services within the authority to develop an appropriate, holistic location from front-line delivery as part of the young people’s hub
Impact on staff
  • Service delivery has been underpinned by comprehensive structure of risk assessment and planning to ensure staff are not exposed unduly to situations with increased risk of infection
  • COVID related illness has been managed and supported with sensitivity, whilst also taking steer from BMBC corporate services
  • The service has worked to provide staff with multiple opportunities for blended working, including access to multiple office sites
  • CSIP and work-force development (WFD) strategies have encompassed the roll-out of revised strategies to increase resilience in response to staff absence
  • Staff have been engaged in workshop engagement sessions and consultation encompassing service delivery and well-being and is providing focused time within the staff group for face-to-face well-being contact during summer 2021.
  • Continue to ensure CSIP and WFD strategies are cited in the need to provide well-being support to staff and maintain/increase service resilience
  • Continue to engage staff and provide a structured offer of well-being support
  • Review policies and processes relating to staff supervision, support and well-being to ensure they meet revised challenges
Service performance in HMIP inspection
  • Inspection preparation is driven by the CSIP and QA and audit frameworks, supported by the QA and governance officer
  • QA and governance officer routinely evaluate all HMIP releases to inform service preparation
  • The voice of service users and staff is central to each process with the intention this drives efficacy and quality
  • YCASBB has been through a process of positive change to ensure alignment to HMIP guidance on effectiveness
  • Continue to drive service delivery and seek improvement and readiness via existing processes and strategies
  • YCASBB to continues its own journey of continuous improvement
  • Revive the process to seeking and securing a peer review of service delivery and performance
Responding to shifting demands in the system-the entry point of children into the CJS from court to police referral (OOCD)
  • The OOCD team has been moved into the YJS in terms of service structure and management oversight
  • YJS has committed to supporting the training of all new Police officers in the borough in OOCD processes
  • The service has recruited to a new role to support OOCD practice: restorative practitioner (2x20 hour posts)
  • OOCD practice has been supported through an area specific CSIP, with a focus on areas for improvement driven by both QA and Audit and HMIP feedback from inspection work.
  • Service resources have been adjusted to support wider case distribution across both case management teams when required
  • Staff have been supported through mentoring and supervision support relating to management of OOCD cases
  • YCASBB receives a quarterly performance report relating to OOCD performance and improvement
  • Continue to monitor and evaluate data relating to case numbers and entry points to support further decision-making regarding amendments to service delivery
  • Strategic management to work with senior leaders and corporate services to consider need for service re-structure if data supports this action
  • YCASBB to be briefed on above and involved in any subsequent change process
  • Staff to continue to be supported via the service WFD framework
  • Continuing to work with police partners to ensure only appropriate referrals are received for assessment
Increased alignment with key partners in early help, intervention and prevention services:
  • Service has acknowledged and worked to ensure robust step down/out opportunities for children and families as a key factor in achieving core aims and addressing capacity pressures relating to OOCD cases in particular
  • TRIAGE panel has evolved to provide a robust, outcomes-focused multi-agency check and challenge process to support appropriate outcomes for children and families, alignment of services and to avoid duplication of work with families
  • Ongoing consultation with peer services within BU1 and BU3 to drive cohesive plan and strategy development that supports seamless referral routes for children and families
Managing the dynamic risks posed to local and out of area placed children by child criminal exploitation (CCE)
  • YJS was an active partner in developing the sub-regional arrangements to tackle CCE both locally and within the wider region. Key to this was the development of the ‘CLVT tracker’ which supported the ongoing supervision and monitoring of those at highest risk
  • YJS led in the development of the multi-agency contextual safeguarding daily briefing of key statutory agencies. This ensured the dynamic assessment of those identified at highest risk within a ‘live’ 24-hour window and has transformed local multi-agency responsiveness to contextual safeguarding
  • The development of a wider framework for multi-agency practice responding to CCE. This includes the development of focused-mapping meetings that feed into other established functions.
  • Introducing to the above planning process the Home Office document: A Practitioner Toolkit – Working with young people to prevent involvement in Serious and Organised Crime. This offered a clear framework to develop multi-agency practice
  • Ongoing engagement, supervision and monitoring of children in the service identified as being at risk, using key functions such as the National Referral Mechanism to support identification of children as victims where appropriate
  • Barnsley is part of a sub-regional expression of interest to the Youth Endowment Fund to further enhance local resource and response, focusing on prevention and education
  • Barnsley YJS continues to play a lead role in the ongoing journey to shape the local response to CCE, as an extension to local safeguarding board arrangements and YCASBB, with a specific focus on ensuring the strategy is specific to local as opposed to national trends
Recruiting to the SALT resource
  • The service is awaiting confirmation of funding from the Clinical Commissioning Group after a further a business case for the resource was agreed in principle
  • Service to continue to work with partners to secure the resource and then conduct a successful recruitment process

Barnsley Youth justice Service continues to strive to provide good and outstanding services to the children and families of Barnsley.  The 2021-22 Youth Justice plan document provides a comprehensive overview of how this work will be undertaken operationally, to ensure creativity and relationship-based practice;  prudence but not at the expense of service delivery; driven by evaluation and the determination to maintain our improvement journey; with the reassurance that this is subject to oversight from a dynamic board.

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