County Durham Youth Offending Service is celebrating a unique treble success after picking up three nationally recognised accolades.

CDYOS has received the Restorative Service Quality Mark, Investing in Children and Investing in Volunteers awards.

Visiting the county Lord McNally, the chair of the Youth Justice Board, praised the “excellent,” award-winning work of staff.

CDYOS strategic manager Gill Eshelby said: “To gain any nationally recognised award is always welcome, but to achieve three demonstrates the commitment of our staff and volunteers to delivering a quality service for victims, young people and their families across County Durham.”

The Restorative Justice Council’s RSQM standard acknowledges the service’s excellent work to bring those harmed by crime and those responsible together so that everyone affected can play a part in finding a positive way forward.

The Investing in Volunteers award is the UK standard for all organisations involving volunteers, and shows CDYOS has demonstrated the quality of its volunteering experience and the significant contribution made by its volunteers.

And the Investing in Children award is an accreditation for organisations working with young people, underpinned by a commitment to their human rights. CDYOS has demonstrated that it successfully engages young people to develop and improve services that are provided for them.

Visiting the service’s delivery unit Lord McNally said: “County Durham YOS’ restorative practice and work with volunteers clearly provides an excellent service to young people, families and victims.

“I was also delighted to hear about the YOS’ award-winning work in the development of speech and language therapy to help support young people with communication difficulties in the youth justice system.

“We look forward to hearing more about this work at our annual Youth Justice Convention in November, when the service, among others, will talk about the development of a unique and innovative range of communication resources for young people in the youth justice system.”

County Durham and Darlington Police Crime and Victims Commissioner, Ron Hogg, said:

‘I am delighted that County Durham Youth Offending Service has achieved the Restorative Service Quality Mark – the gold standard for restorative justice services nationally.

“It reflects the high standard of restorative justice which the Service delivers for victims. This is a first for this PCC area.”

Jon Collins, the Restorative Justice Council’s chief executive, said: “We know that restorative justice works, and we want to make sure that it’s done safely and well.

“Organisations which achieve the RSQM have demonstrated the quality of their work, and can provide the public with confidence that they will be taking part in a safe, effective process.

“I am delighted that County Durham Youth Offending Service’s restorative work has been awarded the RSQM.

“It is an acknowledgement of their dedication to providing a consistently excellent service for young people who offend and their victims, who are guaranteed a safe and effective restorative justice process.”

Fizz Shenton, strategic director of Investing in Children, said: “County Durham Youth Offending Service continues to demonstrate its commitment to young people’s rights by engaging with young people as both victims of crime as well as young people who offend.

“The service listens to their views and has taken seriously the issues they have raised.

“Investing in Children is proud to be able to make their award in recognition of this commitment to young people’s involvement.”

For more information about the County Durham Youth Offending Service visit www.durham.gov.uk/CDYOS

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