Lewisham council wins award for “compelling and inspiring” Youth Offending Service

By Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy Reporter

Lewisham council has won a national award for transforming the borough’s Youth Offending Service (YOS).
The MJ Awards, held by local authority magazine the Municipal Journal, were held on October 2.
Lewisham’s entry was described as “compelling and inspiring”.
The MJ article said: “Levels of youth violence and re-offending meant a whole system approach, which has seen a considerable positive transformation.

“It has delivered demonstrable improvement in outcomes for young people, the workforce and multi-disciplinary partnerships.”
The service was up against finalists Lincolnshire, South Norfolk, Westminster, Hampshire, and Knowsley.

Hampshire County Council and Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council were both highly commended.
A Lewisham spokeswoman said it won after “completely remodelling” the YOS, “taking on an innovative and unique new way of working, which is based on a trauma-informed approach, restorative justice and unconscious bias”.
According to the council, its new way of working is based on safety, transparency and trustworthiness, choice, giving people a voice, shared decision-making, and empowering young people by “recognising the individual’s strengths to build upon them”.

It aimed to create spaces where young people feel “culturally, emotionally and physically safe”, while giving them the opportunity to have their views and feelings “heard and acknowledged”.

Pictured top: Lewisham Civic Centre

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