The work of Coventry 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 work was described as having ‘achieved tangible and sustained progress to reduce harm to children from serious youth violence and child criminal exploitation over a number of years.

The findings have been released after a team of inspectors visited the Council earlier this year for a Joint Targeted Area Inspection in relation to serious youth violence.

They included representatives from Ofsted, His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, the Care Quality Commission and His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation.

They looked at:

  • The strategic response to youth violence.
  • Intervention with individuals and groups of children and young people affected by serious youth violence and criminal exploitation.
  • Intervention in places and spaces.

The report’s headline findings stated children at risk of criminal exploitation and serious youth violence are safer as a result of the effective partnership work undertaken in the city to reduce risks in places and spaces, as well as for individual young people.

It said there was a mature, coordinated approach to helping young people in the city, with a strong culture of support, collaboration and learning making a positive difference for highly vulnerable children in Coventry.

The report said: “Partnerships in Coventry have a well-developed understanding of the causes and consequences of serious youth violence and the factors that make children vulnerable, particularly the link with criminal exploitation.

“There is a strong and clear focus on prevention and early intervention, which supports the partnership’s priorities. Children and the community have been thoroughly engaged with developing strategies and interventions"

The report highlighted strengths in the city’s work, including:

  • A well-considered and tailored approach to ensure the right resources and personnel are matched to the needs of each child to build a trusting relationship.
  • Agencies work effectively together, within Coventry and beyond the area’s boundaries.
  • The specialist Horizon Team is a highly effective multi-agency resource working with key partners who support children at risk of violence, including those children who have committed serious violent crimes. 
  • Engagement with communities, children, and parents and carers is strong and service developments are very much informed by their views. 

There were some areas highlighted for development, including the wait for children to receive a mental health assessment.

Another area for development was the work to help children as they mature and move into adulthood and switch between services.

Cllr Patricia Seaman, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We are very proud of our work to make Coventry a city where children and young people can live in safety and be protected from the threat of crime and exploitation.

“The Council works closely with a range of partners to steer children away from danger and to help them choose the right path and stay on that path as they grow, protecting not just the children, but their families and their communities.

“That work crucially involves the children, young people and families themselves. They are given a voice and listened to, and they help us to plan our services according to their needs.

“We are pleased that the inspection recognised the great work going on in the city and noted that we are working to continually improve. We will always do so and always work hard to give our children and young people the protection and opportunities they need and deserve.”

The report follows other recent inspections that saw Children’s Services rated as good by Ofsted, and the Youth Justice Service judged as ‘outstanding’ by HMI Probation.

There is no judgement or rating involved in the report, but the Council will now be asked to prepare a written statement of proposed action to respond to the findings and to improve in any areas highlighted.

Published: Thursday, 23rd May 2024