Problem Solve Approach at Blackburn Youth Court

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Classification: Level 1
Age: 10 - 17
Sex: n/a
Cost: None



 Aimed at:

  • Designed primarily for young people attending youth court and includes parents and siblings placing it into a family context



Intended Outcomes:

  • Provision of support through early intervention to prevent further offending, reduce re –offending offering a multi-agency approach




In August 2014 members of Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) held a "problem solve" with young people.The aim was to look at improving the service we offer to them.When a young person appears before the Youth Court, the court will deal with the offence committed and, if the young person is found guilty, will impose a sentence.

It may take some weeks for the sentence to be passed and in the interim Blackburn Youth Justice Service and HMCTS have set up a Problem Solving Approach for the young people and their parents coming to Blackburn Youth Court.

This problem solving scheme gives young people and their parents the chance to tackle the problems that may be affecting them by putting them in touch with the following organisations able to help them, who attend on a weekly basis -

  • Crime Reduction Initiatives
  • Local substance misuse project
  • Nightsafe (supporting accommodation needs)
  • Supporting Families Project (for unemployed, parents with children displaying anti-social behaviour, problems with school attendance and of course, displaying offending behaviour)
  • Fast 4wd Project (supports adults with alcohol or substance misuse problems)
  • Carers’ Service (for partners, parents, family members affected by another person’s addiction)
  • New Directions (supporting young people back into education,training or employment)

Our work has been featured in the Children and Young People Now publication in an article called Youth Courts- A Problem Solving Approach (May 2017) and our work recognised with a Youth Justice Award from the Children and Young People Now charity.  In 2017  Blackburn Magistrates’ Court won Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service National Award for Customer Service for the successful introduction and continued operation of the youth problem-solving court which has brought real improvements and help for youths attending the court.



What makes it work:

  • Early intervention with a multi-agency approach to provide young people and their family with support
  • Partnership working to ensure a coordinated and proactive approach
  • Various support options available to both young person and family including referrals covering training, education, learning disabilities, substance mis-use, debt counselling, mental health issues and advice and guidance on effective parenting
  • Quarterly reviews through the Court User Group and/or Youth Problem Solve Review Group which is made up of all stakeholders involved in the process
  • Young people are included in the process through regular feedback sessions and on-going consultation and a formal review process



Implementing the practice:

  • Discuss the idea and viability with local Court User Group involving all Court Users including young people to obtain the relevant buy in
  • Recruit a problem solving team of multi-agency providers and agree on the range of services and the level of support
  • Agree with the court the provisions which will be available on Youth Court days and cascade information to all relevant parties
  • Establish a quarterly review process for all stakeholders (court officials,YOTs,multi agency providers and young people)




YOT: Blackburn with Darwen Youth Justice Service
Name: Glenda Astley

Telephone: 01254 666648

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