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Case Management Guidance and developments within the youth justice system

The Scaled Approach: an overview

The Scaled Approach presents a model for interventions delivered by YOTs working with children and young people who have offended, and as a result appear before the courts for sentence. It reflects the statutory aim of the youth justice system - to prevent offending by children and young people - and is designed to help YOTs become more effective in delivering this principal aim in their local communities.

The Scaled Approach aims to ensure that interventions are tailored to the individual and are based on an assessment of their risks and needs. The intended outcome is to reduce the likelihood of reoffending for each child or young person by:

YOTs should use the Scaled Approach to determine the level of intervention required when a child or young person is subject to a YOT intervention through a Referral Order contract, a YRO or during the community element of a custodial sentence.

The level of intervention is informed by the findngs of  the assessment process and should be used to guide:

The Asset - Core Profile should be used to assess the likelihood of reoffending and, if applicable, the Asset - Risk of Serious Harm form should also be used to asses the risk of serious harm to others. If available, a Common Assessment Framework (CAF) should be used to inform the Asset assessment (also applicable to Wales if/when available). This work should all be supported by practitioners' own professional judgement.

Following the assessment, practitioners should use the framework below to determine the most suitable level of intervention for managing the child or young person.

Child/young person profile  Intervention level

Low likelihood of reoffending (as indicated by Asset score [dynamic and static factors] between 0 and 14 inclusive) AND

Low risk of serious harm (as indicated by No Risk of Serious Harm assessment being required, or low risk of serious harm following assessment)


Medium likelihood of reoffending (as indicated by Asset score [dynamic and static factors] between 15 and 32 inclusive) OR

Medium Risk of Serious Harm (as indicated by rRsk of Serious Harm assessment)


High likelihood of reoffending (as indicated by Asset score [dynamic and static factors] between 33 and 64 inclusive) OR

High risk of serious harm or very high risk of serious harm (as indicated by risk of serious harm assessment)


Professional judgement

Practitioners should review the intervention level in light of all other available information and consider whether there are any factors indicating the intervention level may need to be increased or decreased. An example of this might be where a young person had committed a particularly serious offence but was assessed by the YOT as low likelihood of reoffending or low risk of serious harm to others. Any proposed changes to the initial intervention level should be defensible, and discussed and agreed with a manager, and the reasons clearly recorded.

Children and young people at risk of harm from self or from others and welfare considerations

YOT practitioners have ongoing responsibilities for addressing welfare issues  including where children and young people may be at risk of harm to themselves or from others, or as part of wider social/children's services partnerships.  YOT practitioners and the YOT partnership should therefore ensure risk factors are assessed and addressed. If the child or young person is assessed as being particularly at risk of harm to themselves or from others (such as through self harm or risky behaviour) then the appropriate action to be taken should also be identified and carried out. Welfare considerations will not affect the Scaled Approach intervention levels, but should form part of the overall intervention plan and vulnerability plan where one is needed.

In Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government is committed to ensuring that all children and young people can access their civil rights, and has placed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at the heart of its policy making for children and young people. In line with the All Wales Youth Offending Strategy, young people in the Criminal Justice System are viewed as young people first and offenders second. YOT practitioners who work with them will need to reflect this approach in their practice.

While it is not appropriate for the Scaled Approach to formally link likelihood of reoffending, risk of serious harm to others or Scaled Approach intervention levels to detailed proposals for individual cases, it is possible to provide an indication of the types of sentence or contract components that may be suitable for those needing standard, enhanced or intensive levels of intervention.

These indications should be used as a starting point for YOTs to consider sentence structure for the purpose of sentence proposals. As a guiding principle, the assessed intervention level will affect frequency of supervision (where proposed) but can also be used to inform activity, programme or attendance centre requirements.

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Youth Rehabilitation Order: an overview

The YRO is the standard generic community sentence for young people who offend, providing a 'menu' of interventions for tackling offending behaviour. For offences committed on or after the 30th November 2009 the YRO replaces the following nine existing community sentences[All other current orders not specified remain in force.].

Youth Rehabilitation Order and conditions

Section 148 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 [Section 148 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 as amended by section 10 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008] provides that the YRO is available only if the offence, or the combination of the offence and one or more offences associated with it,  was serious enough  to warrant such a sentence.However, the court is not obliged to impose a YRO even if the offence is sufficiently serious to warrant such a sentence.community sentence if another disposal would be more appropriateIn adition, under section 148 the requirements imposed by a YRO must, in the opiion of the court, be the most suitable for the offender, and the restrictions on liberty imposed by the court must be commensurate with the seriousness of the offenceoffences.

There are no restrictions on the number of times a young person can be sentenced to a YRO. If a young person reoffends, courts are expected to use the YRO on multiple occasions, adapting the menu as appropriate to deal with repeat offending. (An original YRO may need to berevoked and replaced by a new YR with new requirements)

The range of requirements and flexibility of the YRO enables courts to take a more individualised and targeted approach to community sentencing, supported by the YOTs Scaled Approach4 assessment and information presented in YOT court reports.

The following requirements can be attached to a YRO. They have been variously designed to provide punishment, the protection of the public,  a reduction in  reoffending and for reparation:

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Key terminology relating to 'risk'

Case Management Guidance uses a range of key terms, some of which are currently in use in the youth justice system and have a degree of shared meaning. However, it is important to define some of these terms, particularly in relation to use of the term 'risk' and its various applications.

The term 'risk' has a number of possible meanings depending on the situation and context within which it is used. For the purposes of Case Management Guidance, Youth Justice: the Scaled Approach and National Standards for Youth Justice Services, the following terms and meanings will be used:

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