Southwark Area Partnership, co-ordinated brilliantly by YOS (Youth Offending Service) Team Manager Deirdre Leask, is fully deserving of Quality Lead re-designation.

The evidence submitted in support of the process was detailed and extremely informative, and reflective of a culture of striving for continuous improvement that has characterised their journey from initial benchmarking nearly five years ago.

There are almost too many highlights to list: from tightening existing relationships and protocols between the SEND Team and YOS, to upskilling key staff (Southwark are pathfinding Emotion Coaching practice in youth justice with six other teams in London, in collaboration with Achievement for All); the preventative and proactive work of the Southwark Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub, truly effective input from St Giles Trust to craft positive futures for troubled teenagers, and of course the significant sustained and innovative impact of the Southwark Independent Advice and Support Service

Most noticeable however was the openness and willingness to learn from practice; if something is not working with a particular young person, another route is attempted, and then another: the service learns and evolves, always seeking the best possible outcomes through strong partnerships and joined-up provision. Although they would be at pains to point out their gaps and challenges, Southwark Area Partnership has the hallmarks of a Child First service, at a time when this has become a strategic imperative within youth justice. Southwark are well on the way!

Well done! An outstanding evidence-based journey of service improvement.