Community Volunteers for Staffordshire YOS
Applications should be returned to firstname.lastname@example.org
Staffordshire Youth Offending Service (YOS) supports children who are sentenced to court orders and/or custodial sentences. This involves working with the child, their families and working with other agencies to support them through the process, motivating them to engage in school, college and referring to other agencies. In addition, Staffordshire YOS engages children and young people who have been involved in offences that do not meet the threshold for court. These children are diverted away from Court through its prevention and diversion services.
The Community Panel Members are recruited and trained to work restoratively with children who have been sentenced to a specific court order from the Youth Court. This Order is known as a Referral Order. The main purpose is to help reduce the likelihood of children becoming involved in further offending behaviour.
Main duties, tasks and responsibilities
Referral Order Panels are seen to be part of a ground-breaking scheme, in that specially trained members of the local community have a say in how children aged 10-17 are dealt with after they have been sentenced. Where a child is before the court charged with a criminal offence for the first time and pleads guilty, the court must (in most cases) sentence them to a Referral Order.
- A Panel will then be convened, comprised of two trained volunteers from the local community
- A member of the YOS team will be with them to guide and advise through the meeting
- One panel member will chair, the other will co-chair and they will meet with the child and their parent/carer
- The volunteer panel members takes the lead in the meeting
- They are trained to explore with the child what happened on the day of the offence, and the harm caused.
- They then agree a contract with the child and their parent/carer, which is designed to repair the harm they have caused and help them move forward
- The Panel Members then meet with the child approximately every three months to review their progress until the Order ends.
Skills, experience, qualifications and attributes
- Minimum age: 18+
- Good level of empathy
- Have an awareness of the issues affecting children and those harmed by crime
- Can listen and communicate effectively
- Motivated to promote a process with children and parents/carers to prevent further offending;
- Integrity, discretion and a firm commitment to confidentiality;
- Good judgement and a level-headed approach to children and crime;
- An ability and strong commitment to work without prejudice towards people of different ages, ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds;
- A willingness to listen to advice and to the views of others;
- Maturity, patience and the ability to remain calm
- A commitment to make a difference to children and their families
- Staffordshire YOS aims to recruit a diverse pool of volunteer panel members encompassing a range of ages and experience.
Benefits to volunteer
- The training satisfies the Restorative Justice Council’s Restorative Service Quality Mark. Therefore, volunteers can gain a certificate in Restorative Justice skills and can then work towards gaining an accreditation. In addition, they are offered regular group and one to one supervision, together with regular workshops and refresher training.
- Many Panel members report a personal satisfaction of making a difference to the lives of children and those harmed by the offending behaviour.