Blackburn Youth Court, "Problem Solve" Approach - Blackburn Youth Justice Service (2016)

Summary: Early intervention programme to support desistence while awaiting sentencing.




  • Provision of support through early intervention to prevent 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 children. The aim was to look at improving the service offered to children. When a child appears before the Youth Court, the court will deal with the offence committed and, if the child 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 children and their parents coming to Blackburn Youth Court.

This problem solving scheme gives children 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 children back into education, training or employment)

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 children attending the court.

Blackburn YJS has provided the theory of change that underpins the Problem Solve approach, as well as an example of the kinds of provisions made for children at court as a result of the Problem Solve approach.



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, youth justice services, multi agency providers and young people)




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