Saturday 30th May 2020
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A Referral Order is a sentence of the court considered for young people who have been convicted of a criminal offence, often appearing before the court for the first time.

How long does it last?
The Referral Order will last for a period between three and 12 months, specified by the court at the time of your sentence. As long as you comply with the sentence the Referral Order will be considered a 'spent conviction' on completion and you will not have to return to court again.

However, if compensation to your victim has been ordered by the court, your conviction may not be 'spent' for two and half years.

If you ever wish to work with children or other vulnerable people in the future you will need to tell your employer about your Referral Order.

What happens next?
Following your court appearance, you will be contacted by a member of the Youth Offending Service who will arrange to make an appointment to see you at home and at our office to discuss your offence with you and your family. The Youth Offending Service worker will then prepare a written report for a Youth Offender Panel meeting that you and your parent or guardian will be expected to attend. You and your parent will see a copy of the report.

What is a Youth Offender Panel?
A Youth Offender Panel involves two people from your local community helping you to find ways of making amends for your crime and, where necessary, making an apology to your victim and putting right any damage you may have caused. If the victim of your crime can be identified they will be asked whether they wish to attend your meeting or have somebody else attend on their behalf.

Where is the Youth Offender Panel Meeting?
You will be required to attend a panel meeting at this office or a venue in your local community away from the court at a time convenient to your family and the victim of your offence. The meeting may last for at least an hour and will require you to discuss ways of making amends for your crime. You and your parents will need to attend unless you are estranged from your parents

What will I need to do at the Panel Meeting?
You will need to discuss your offence in your own words at the meeting and consider any ways in which you think that you might make amends. Following a discussion with the panel members and a Youth Offending Service worker you will be asked to sign a written contract that states what you will need to do to complete your Referral Order successfully.

What will a Referral Order contract involve?
Each Referral Order contract will vary depending on your individual needs. The type of issues that will be addressed include:

  • making a direct or written apology to your victim
  • meeting with your Youth Offending Service worker at least fortnightly
  • carrying out some work for the benefit of your victim
  • completing some supervised unpaid work in the community
  • working on any issues that have led to you offending
  • providing you with support and advice to help you not to re-offend
  • agreeing a date for you to return to the panel meeting to review progress

What happens if I do not complete my Referral Order?
If you feel that you are unable to complete any aspect of your Referral Order you should say this at your initial meeting. If you have difficulty in completing any agreed work at a later date you should speak to your Youth Offending Service worker who may ask for another meeting to be arranged. If you fail to complete your Referral Order contract without good reason or fail to attend your Youth Offender Panel meeting you will be required to return to court where an alternative sentence may be imposed.

If you can't keep an appointment because you are sick you will need a doctor's certificate.

What happens if I commit another offence?
If you are convicted of another offence when completing your Referral Order you will return to court. Your Referral Order will then either be extended or it will be discharged and the court will impose an alternative sentence.




 Contact information

Youth offending service
Ground Floor, The Albany 4, Cardiff Road, Luton, LU1 1PP
Tel: 01582 547900 or out of hours emergency 0870 2385465
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