16 May 2024

Inspectors praise city-wide response to serious youth violence and criminal exploitation

Children Crime

The work of Leeds City Council and its partners in tackling the risk of serious youth violence and criminal exploitation in the city has been praised by inspectors.

The findings of a ‘Joint Targeted Area Inspection’ (JTAI) – carried out by Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and HM Inspectorate of Probation – have been published today and praise the “effective and well-coordinated" response of the city’s agencies to serious youth violence.

It follows a three-week inspection that concluded in March into how Leeds City Council and partners including West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), schools, youth offending teams and relevant health services work together to respond to children aged 10 and over who are at risk of, or affected by, serious youth violence and criminal exploitation. 

The report’s headline findings stated there is a “clear and mutually agreed focus on locally-based early intervention and prevention” and this involved a “high level” of engagement with children and families.

“Numerous interventions and projects have been developed to support children at risk,” it said, adding: “Practitioners are astute and committed and many work relentlessly and passionately with children and families to reduce risks and inspire and divert children away from serious youth violence.”

Inspectors also highlighted the “strong” multi-agency relationships among the city’s strengths as well as organisations’ use of data, research and information-sharing.

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council deputy leader and executive member for resources, said:

“The consequences for children who are victims of serious youth violence can be significant including life-changing injuries, poor mental health, on rare occasions death, and for some, long-term challenges including drug and alcohol misuse.

“As a city, we are committed to doing all we can to protect our children and young people and we’re pleased inspectors recognised our collective work across a wide partnership and our passion in safeguarding those who may be affected or at risk. 

“However, we are not complacent and know there is still more to be done, which is why we’re already working on an action plan to further address issues around serious youth violence.”

Councillor Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council executive member for children’s social care and health partnerships, said:

“This was an intensive and rigorous inspection into how we as a council and our partners all work together to address and prevent serious youth violence.

“The findings provide reassurance of the many areas of good practice within our city on this critical issue while also raising opportunities for future improvement and learning, so we can continue to make a real difference to children and families in Leeds.”

The report can be viewed in full online on the Ofsted website.

This themed JTAI inspection into serious youth violence covered specific types of crime committed by, and affecting, children outside of the home and used the scope outlined in the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which includes homicide and knife and gun crime as well as emerging threats such as the use of corrosive substances as weapons. It also included intervention in localities in areas where violent crime is prevalent, such as drug-dealing activity.

Themed JTAI inspections take place alongside an ongoing programme of JTAI inspections as part of the current Ofsted inspection framework into local authority children’s services.


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