The Quality of Delivery of Out-of-Court Disposals in Youth Justice – HM Inspectorate of Probation (September 2021)


HM Inspectorate of Probation have published their academic insight briefing concerned with the quality of delivery of out-of-court disposals in youth justice. 


HM Inspectorate of Probation have published the quality of delivery of out-of-court disposals in youth justice. This Academic Insight paper focuses on the quality of delivery by youth justice servicess in relation to out-of-court disposals, including analysis of variations in quality and identification of enablers and barriers.

Across youth justice services inspections, HM Inspectorate of Probation found considerable variation in the quality of work with children subject to out-of-court-disposals.

The briefing found that the best performing youth justice services tended to have a robust framework for managing out-of-court disposals, where staff understood their roles and that of their partners and where inter-agency communication was strong. Skilled and engaged board members from other agencies were often able to facilitate effective multi-agency working. Looking across the cases examined, common enablers and barriers to effective delivery of out-of-court disposals were identified.

The enablers highlight the importance of: (i) early youth justice service involvement in decision making; (ii) utilising multiple sources of information to build a complete picture of the child; (iii) ensuring that plans are proportionate and build upon strengths; (iv) coordinating delivery across agencies; and (v) ensuring flexibility in delivery to maximise engagement.