Blackburn with Darwen - Youth Justice Service

Youth Justice - Volunteer Referral Order Panel Member

Referral order panel member


Service / Role Overview:

Blackburn with Darwen Youth Justice Service are looking to recruit volunteers from our local community, to become Referral Order Panel Members. The role involves working with children and young people who have been sentenced by a Youth Court, their parents and victims of crime.


Blackburn with Darwen Youth Justice Service is a multi-agency team and part of your local Council.  We work in partnership with a number of agencies including Children’s Services, the Police, Probation, health, housing, schools and education authorities, charities and the local community.

The aim of The Youth Justice Service is to prevent offending and re-offending by children and young people who have been referred to us by the Police or the court.  We also have a duty towards victims of crime and we provide opportunities for children and young people to make amends for their actions via restorative justice.

The Referral Order is a sentence of the Court given to a child or young person aged between 10 and 17 years.   The length of sentence is between 3 – 12mths.  The young person will then be required to attend a Referral Order Panel.  

A Referral Order Panel is facilitated by two specially trained volunteer panel members from the community and a member of the Youth Justice Service, who will work with the young person to agree a contract.  The views of the victim or those affected by the offence will also be heard.  The young person’s parents/carers will have the opportunity to have their say.  Referral Order panels are unique because they involve local people (volunteers) who facilitate and listen to all those present and agree with the young person a contract to put right the harm caused and aim to prevent the likelihood of any future offending.

The contract is supervised by the Youth Justice Service and progress is reviewed on a regular basis by the Referral Order Panel Members at review panel meetings.  Should a child or young person fail to comply with their contract, the panel may consider returning the child back to Court for their attention.

Volunteers need to be 18 years old or over and following training, will need to commit to 3-6 hours a month attending panels. Panel meetings generally take place after school/work although where appropriate they can also take place during the daytime.

Applicants will be invited to an introductory evening to learn more about the role and have the opportunity to meet with members of the team.

As a panel member, you’ll receive specific training on how panels work and your role in the process, restorative justice and communication skills.


  • To Chair and co-chair a Referral Order Panel meeting.
  • Read a pre-written comprehensive Referral Order Report and consider recommendations, supported by a YJS panel member.
  • Co-create an individual Referral Order contract with the child.
  • To commit to 3-6 hours per month, usually on a Tuesday evening.
  • Understand the challenges for the young people and their families.
  • Find a way forward to break cycles and support young people to make change.
  • Log volunteering hours via an on-line computer system.
  • Train in Restorative Conferencing and Restorative Conversation.


The following skills and qualities are required:

  • good communication skills
  • ability to read complex documents
  • ability to facilitate meetings
  • good team-working skills
  • reliability
  • flexibility
  • sensitivity
  • discretion
  • commitment
  • the ability to establish a good rapport with young people and families with complex needs
  • I.T. skills are an advantage

TRAINING: If you are successful at interview, you will be required to undertake a comprehensive training programme.

A venue for training will be decided once recruitment has taken place and we will try to make this a central location for all successful trainees.


Please note all successful applicants will be required to undergo a full DBS check.  This cost will be covered by Blackburn with Darwen Council. 


Age:         18 Years or over.

SCHEDULE: Dates and times will be decided upon the availability of successful applicants.

You don’t necessarily need to give up a great deal of your time, usually a few hours per month.   


LOCATION: Referral Order Panel meetings will mainly take place at Children’s Services, 10 Duke Street, Blackburn.


Schedule Summary

This activity generally occurs on

  • Tuesday - Evening, Through the night