Wiltshire’s youth justice service has been praised for its “outstanding” policies.

Wiltshire’s youth justice system was rated ‘good’ after an inspection in February.

Wiltshire Youth Justice Service (YJS) has received this commendable stamp of approval from HM Probation Service as part of its comprehensive program of inspections of the Youth Justice Service.

The evaluation covered three main areas — the organizational delivery of the service, the quality of work with court-sentenced children and the standard of out-of-court disposal work.

Inspectors also specifically praised the quality of the policy and delivery of the relocation service, marking it as “outstanding”.

Chief Probation Inspector Martin Jones had high praise for the service’s staff.

He said: “The staff and volunteers at Wiltshire YJS are the service’s most valuable asset, upholding a can-do attitude with the children they support.

“Children’s strengths and diversity needs are well respected and parents and carers are empowered to take an active role in supervising their child.”

Inspectors also admired the work of Wiltshire YJS management.

They found that the council went above and beyond in gathering financial support for the service within their respective organizations.

The board’s dedication to their role was demonstrated by the addition of a substance abuse resource following an increase in substance use among YJS children.

The governing board regularly hears first-hand from children about their experiences with the service, which keeps them in tune with children’s needs.

However, the inspection also highlighted areas that required improvement.

Despite the wide range of services available for children, work in and out of court has been inconsistent.

Consistency in understanding and applying safety processes among staff was also highlighted as an issue.

The report found that the service needs to strengthen its recognition and response to concerns such as child exploitation or domestic abuse.

Mr Jones continued: “The Wiltshire YJS team and management are optimistic and ambitious.

“Significant management restructures since 2023 have affected the quality of service delivery, but I am confident that the three recommendations made in this report will help them improve further.”

The Wiltshire Youth Justice Service helps children aged 10 to 17, including those with complex needs and those in the care of the local authority.

The full report is now available on HM Probation’s website.

The inspectorate’s independent review of youth justice and probation services spans England and Wales.