A NORTH-EAST youngster who hopes to join the Army has kept his ambition on track with the help of his youth offending team.

His offending brought him into contact with Darlington Youth Offending Service (YOS), which has been praised by an inspectors’ report.

The team brought in a former soldier to work on the young offender’s fitness and help him develop skills to make him a suitable military candidate.

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A spokesman for the YOS said it is hoped this intervention will lead to the youngster one day joining the Army, as well as making him less likely to offend in the future.

This example was highlighted in a recent report on Darlington YOS, published by HM Inspector of Probation.

In summary, the inspectors said: “We saw some very competent work in most areas, including case managers who were really keen and creative.”

The YOS, which works with young offenders aged from ten to 17, will now focus on developing plans to further improve the quality of its work based on the detailed comments in the report.

The ways in which the team engaged with young people and their parent/carer was seen as a key strength and staff were judged “excellent” in the report findings.

Praise was also given to the joint meeting system, which aims to make sure that the child or young person and their parents/carers were joined in meetings by representatives from other agencies such as education, child services and health, to share what they know.

This means that everyone connected with the child or young person is familiar with the plans to help them and understands their role in this process.

Councillor Cyndi Hughes, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This report highlights the enormous strengths of the team.

“They work in a challenging environment with the knowledge that what they do will affect the outcomes for every young person in their care and play its part in protecting our community by preventing re-offending.

“These inspections are a useful learning tool and I am sure the team will not rest on its laurels, but will continue to strive for improvements.”