Islington Council takes action after youth offending service is lambasted

Islington Town Hall

Islington Town Hall - Credit: Archant

There is confusion within Islington Council about how to deal with young people involved in gangs, a new report has said.

The report, by the Inspectorate of Probation, said the authority’s youth offending service was “poor”.

While the council is able to identify issues that made children vulnerable, there is “genuine confusion and lack of understanding” over protection of those who pose a risk of harm to others, due to gangs or serious youth violence.

The report was released on Thursday, two days after the council announced a £500,000 injection into next year’s budget for keeping young people safe.

The youth offending service was praised for some improvements, such as ensuring sentences are served.

But Paul Wilson, chief inspector of probation, said: “Work to reduce reoffending in Islington is not without its challenges, including significant issues with gangs and serious youth violence.

“The partnership board has a clear idea of what work needs to be done to reduce reoffending. However, the board has not yet consistently ensured that services to children and young people are effective and, as a result, outcomes remain poor.”

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Cllr Joe Caluori, Islington’s executive member for children and young people, responded by saying the service is in a position to improve, having recruited experienced staff.

But he admitted: “We agree with the main inspection findings, and are taking action.

“Police officers are now co-located with our youth offending service and working more closely alongside them.

“We have also carried out more training for frontline staff, and this commitment to training will continue.”

He added: “We’re also working with the police to create a new integrated gangs team, which will see police and council officers working together to target those most at risk of getting involved in gangs – as well as helping other family members and friends to stay away from gangs.”