This manual is for youth justice service practitioners and managers.

Section 37 of the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act states: “It shall be the principal aim of the Youth Justice System to prevent offending by children”.

You can read more about the Youth Justice Board’s (YJB) work towards this aim in our strategic and business plans.

The national standards for children in the youth justice system accompany this guidance and are intended to guide both strategic and operational services’ understanding of what is expected at each stage of a child’s journey through the justice system. Members of management boards should also read youth justice service governance and leadership.

This guidance details how these standards should be put into practice. It includes current research and evidence and the Child First guiding principle runs throughout it.

  • Advice and information on how to work with children in contact with the youth justice system. It covers building relationships, supervision, developing interventions, meeting different needs, safeguarding, work with victims, restorative justice and dealing with non-engagement and breach.

  • Information on the types of assessment, how to undertake one and what you should consider. It includes information on undertaking assessments to inform intervention plans, reviewing, AssetPlus as well as some specialist assessments.

  • Information on the types of report, including pre-sentence reports, how they are used and what they should contain. It also includes information on how to manage court orders and specific requirements including electronic monitoring, unpaid work and intensive supervision and support.

  • Information on your role in court and how to support children and their parents/carers.

  • How to understand the implications and arrangements when working with a child from another area. It includes information on what to do when a child who is looked after is placed out of area.

  • Information on what happens when a child is arrested, including advice and what to consider at the police station, appropriate adults and when a child appears in court.

  • The different types of civil orders given to children in or on the verges of the justice system. It includes the role of the youth justice service and what happens if they are breached as well as information on civil injunctions and other ancillary orders.

  • How and when to use out-of-court disposals. The informal and formal options as well as the decision-making process. It also covers how to respond to issues such as non-engagement. It explains the Child Gravity Matrix and who to involve, including children, families and victims.

  • Information on working with parents and carers on a voluntary and statutory basis.

  • Information on the various ways in which practice can be quality assured and staff developed. It covers workforce development, performance indicators and statistical analysis.

  • How to work with children in custody and plan for their future. It includes information on how to make resettlement constructive and apply this in practice. It also covers the different types of custodial sentence and the role of the youth justice service case manager.

  • What you need to know when a child transfers from the youth justice service to an adult service and to Probation Service supervision. It includes information on the provision of education and health services in transitions processes.

  • A list of some of the terms used in this manual and their definitions.