Tameside Youth Justice Service (YJS) has been praised by inspectors after receiving the second highest rating.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation has awarded Tameside YJS an overall rating of 'Good', with two areas rated as 'outstanding'.
Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: "Our inspection has placed a spotlight on what can be achieved by a small youth justice service during challenging times and a changing social and economic climate. Tameside YJS has a focus on the needs of children but never take their eye off the importance of preventing further crime, for the benefit of the local community.
"Tameside YJS have adapted to the many localised challenges presented by the impact of Covid-19 and have continued to provide good-quality services throughout. Their determination and efforts to remain in contact with children under their supervision, despite pandemic restrictions, is commendable."
Tameside YJS work with children aged 10 to 17, with the majority aged 15 to 17 (88%), male (84%) and white (65%). The YJS supervise children with complex needs and some in the care of the local authority (Looked After Children).
Inspectors found that the service's strengths lie in the implementation and delivery and reviewing of cases sentenced by the youth courts, and in assessment, planning and delivery of casework across cases dealt with out-of-court. The service fully understands desistance (stopping the previous pattern of offending), and work to promote this was evident.
Their report states: "Staff are motivated, experienced, child-centred, and receive regular supervision and access to good training and development. The YJS partnership has access to a good volume, range and quality of services, including specialist and mainstream interventions."
Improvements are required in the assessment and planning to manage the child's risk of harm to others, alongside more consistent work with victims. The inspection also highlighted areas for improvement around leadership, with the service negatively affected by a high turnover of senior leaders within the wider statutory YJS partnership agencies.
Recommendations include: making improvements to board membership, and to work with other criminal justice partners to implement plans and actions to reduce the over-representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic children and Looked After Children in the YJS caseload.
Tameside Council Executive Member for Children and Families, Councillor Bill Fairfoull, said: "I'm delighted that the inspectors have recognised the good work that takes place at Tameside YJS to prevent crime and stop reoffending while focusing on the needs of children. We care deeply about every child that comes under our supervision and will do all we can to ensure their welfare, safety and success.
"I'd like to thank all the staff involved for their hard work and dedication, particularly during the pandemic when they continued to provide good-quality services despite the disruption and challenges that brought.
"We are working on the recommendations made by the inspectors to build on this achievement as we strive to improve even further."
The Inspectorate uses a four-point scale: 'Outstanding', 'Good', 'Requires improvement' and 'Inadequate'.