OLDHAM YJS Inspection


Oldham Youth Justice Service is delivering some “impressive” work and “puts children and young people at the heart of everything they do”, according to a report published today.

HM Inspectorate of Probation inspects probation and youth offending services across England and Wales. Inspectors gave the service an overall rating of ‘Good’ – it’s second-highest rating.

Oldham Youth Justice Service supervise children and young people aged 10 to 18. Some are serving court sentences; others have not been charged for their offending behaviour and are being dealt with outside the court system.

Inspectors found staff at Oldham Youth Justice Service were “respected, skilled and highly motivated”. Staff had a deep understanding of the children and young people that they worked with, and involved them at every stage of the process.

Chief Inspector of Probation Dame Glenys Stacey said: “Many aspects of Oldham Youth Justice Service are impressive. We looked at 12 aspects of their work and they achieved the highest rating – ‘Outstanding’ – in four categories.

“Their work to support young people to move away from further offending was very strong. Staff put a lot of emphasis into building relationships and engaging with young people, for example in developing Oldham’s violent youth crime strategy.

“This approach is consistent with the ethos throughout the service – children and young people are at the heart of everything they do. There is a recognition that long-term desistance from offending is more likely to be achieved if children and young people’s wider needs are met.”

Oldham is the only youth offending service in England and Wales to be contracted out to a charitable trust. The inspection found this arrangement worked well.

Inspectors also found positive work in relation to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities. Staff understand the specific needs of these children and young people, and a member of staff is working to build community understanding and awareness. The Management Board has also recognised a disproportionately high number of children from BME backgrounds are given custodial sentences. The service is now working with partners to find out why this is the case.

The report includes a positive example of restorative justice involving a group of young people who had caused criminal damage to a tram. The young people and their parents met with the tram owners, and were shocked to hear about the impact of their behaviour.

The young people agreed to make amends by creating safety posters to highlight the dangers of their behaviour and helped to clean a tram at the depot. One parent said the experience had been an “eye-opener” for her son and he now walked away from uncomfortable situations.

Inspectors identified five areas for improvement. This includes ensuring the Management Board becomes more effective in holding the service to account for its performance.

Oldham Youth Justice Service should also look at how it handles cases that are dealt with out of court. More could be done to ensure the risks posed to and by children and young people are taken into account, and more attention should be given to the concerns of victims.

The full report can be found here.

BLUNT - Knife Crime Prevention

The Youth Justice Service at Positive Steps received funding from the Home Office last Autumn to deliver targeted knife 

crime awareness work with young people across the borough, who were highlighted by partner agencies as being known to, or at risk of, carrying knives.

 The “Blunt” Programme was developed to highlight the dangers and impact of carrying knives, teach emergency life saving skills and provide the opportunity to engage in positive activities, in conjunction with Manchester Street Doctors and MAHDLO.

To date, 18 young people have signed up to the programme and have become “Anti- Knife Crime Champions” by completing posters and music lyrics to be shared across Oldham, with some gaining an AQA accreditation in Implications of Knife-Related Incidents

Given the success of the programme, we are keen to pursue further opportunities to enable Blunt to continue post April 2019 - watch this space…

(BLUNT is a youth focused programme co-delivered by Positive Steps and MAHDLO)


POSITIVE STEPS has appointed Cliff Shields as its new Director of Corporate Services.

Cliff is a former Director and Assistant City Manager in local government. He is a qualified accountant with over forty years’ experience in business support work gathered across a number of diverse local authorities and brings substantial knowledge in implementing change initiatives; delivering efficiencies and developing successful teams.

Cliff is excited to move into the charity sector and join Positive Steps as we look to build on our successes; broaden our offer and expand our trading activities. As Corporate Director he will join the senior management team here at Positive Steps.

Positive Steps has a long history of making a difference by empowering and enabling people to take control of their lives, and of exceeding targets. We deliver a comprehensive, integrated, range of services which help young people, adults and families to reach their full potential. These include: Family Support, Careers Guidance, Missing From Home Support, Oldham Young Carers, Substance Misuse Support, Sexual Health and Healthy Schools services in Oldham, Volunteering, Oldham Youth Justice Service and Work Experience services for schools.

Our approach throughout has been to understand and break down the barriers individuals face in reaching their goals. Chief Exec Steph Bolshaw said: “As a company and charity we need to be an agile, high performing and supportive organisation.  Our work will continue to be planned and based upon evidence; intervention will be innovative and reflective to enable us to learn, grow and lead ways of working that truly transform lives.  It’s an exciting time for Positive Steps and I’m looking forward to the difference we can make in the forthcoming years.”

 Cliff himself added: “Positive Steps and I are a perfect fit. The experience I bring in enabling different ways of working will ensure the organisation continues to be well-run and in a strong position to realise the vision of “People and communities inspired to take control of their lives.”

Children in Need Grant - Young Carers

Positive Steps has been awarded £50,418 to deliver a health and wellbeing project for young carers in Oldham. Young carers face many disadvantages, as their caring responsibilities can have a negative effect on their personal development, their friendships, and their mental and physical health and wellbeing. The project will work with young carers who are preparing for the transition to adult life by providing individual mentoring, encouraging them to engage in further education, training or employment and helping them to develop vital life skills.

Rina Dabhi, Director of Family Services at Positive Steps said: “It’s fantastic news to hear that we’ve been awarded this grant from BBC Children in Need. With this funding we’ll be able to make a positive difference to the lives of young carers in Oldham and help to prepare them for the future.”

Hate Crime Awareness Week

Hate Crime Awareness Week is taking place from the 4th to 8th February and Positive Steps will be getting involved.

We will be promoting this within Positive Steps with a display in reception and posting important messages on our various social media account. Please feel free to share, repost and retweet.

Also, a Hate Crime Awareness video has been produced, you can view it through this link: https://vimeo.com/311465855/4ec670c76a and there are a variety of events taking place across the borough, you can find details by clicking this link.  https://www.oldham.gov.uk/hatecrime