The Young Inspectors are recruiting!

Published Thursday, 28th January 2016
young inspectors line up
Young inspectors

Rotherham Council is placing young people at the heart of inspecting services delivered to children, young people and their families, and is looking for new recruits.

The ‘Young Inspectors’ scheme has been set up to make sure Children and Young People’s Services are meeting quality standards, and that the voices of children and young people, including the most vulnerable are listened to and acted upon.

The Young Inspectors Programme is now recruiting for the 2016 school holiday inspections. 

Bookings for the training are currently being taken. Sessions will be held on Wednesday 24 February and Thursday 3 March  from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm at MyPlace Rotherham.

If you are aged between 13 and 24 years old and would like to gain new skills and experiences for your CV, and make new friends, then the Young Inspectors scheme is for you. Young Inspectors are rewarded with a fun activity and have an opportunity to complete a volunteer accreditation. 

Already, nine volunteer Young Inspectors have been recruited and trained in inspection techniques. They have been carrying out inspections since May 2015 across different children and young people’s services across the borough.

Guided by Ofsted frameworks and locally developed service standards, the Young Inspectors choose which elements of a service they are going to inspect, using a range of methods including mystery shopping.  They also provide opportunities for other young people to have their voices and experiences heard as the ‘experts by experience’ through a range of focus groups and questionnaires.

Helping to set-up the programme, Ashlea Harvey, the new Young Inspector Co-ordinator, has undergone training to help her feel confident and competent in giving her own views and to capture the voice and experiences of other young people.

“The Young Inspectors report back on how the Council is performing and what areas need to be improved.  They have even been to the Directorate Leadership Team to provide direct feedback to senior managers.  An important element of our inspections is finding out if young people feel actively listened to and if their views and opinions are acted upon to make improvements to their life or services.”

The first five inspections have focused on the Integrated Youth Support Service, two Care Leavers semi-independent living accommodation properties, a Children’s Centre and Complaints Service.

Overall the Young Inspectors have found 370 positive points and 202 findings, issues or suggestions.  These have been fed back to services directly by the Young Inspectors and action plans have been developed to make improvements.

The Young Inspectors plan to carry out re-inspection visits in six months’ time to check improvements have been sustained.  David McWilliams, Assistant Director for Early Help and Family Engagement at the Council said: “We are all incredibly proud of Ashlea and the Young Inspectors. In such a short space of time they have made a significant contribution towards improving the quality of the services we deliver and provide. They are a great credit to Rotherham and fantastic to work with.”

Ian Thomas, Strategic Director for Children and Young People’s Services added: “We have to ensure the decisions we make and the services we put in place fit the expectations and needs of our young people. The Young Inspectors programme lets us view those decisions and services through a young person’s eyes and gives us a much better understanding of where improvements can be made.”

If you are interested in finding out more and would like to book a place on the training please contact Ashlea Harvey, Young Inspector Co-ordinator at rotherhamyounginspectors@rotherham.gov.uk, text 07798 581232 or telephone 01709 823917.

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