Working and volunteering for the youth justice service

The youth justice service has expert staff from different services and specialist areas, supported by skilled and committed volunteers.

North Yorkshire youth justice is a specialist element within the county's 0-19 years prevention service. Our expert staff comprises of a range of different skills, professions and agencies, including seconded workers from the police, probation and health. The largest single employer is North Yorkshire County Council, but even these staff are from a wide variety of backgrounds including youth justice, social work and education. We also have a highly capable and committed volunteer team supporting service delivery in a range of roles.

Youth justice services are arranged into local delivery teams across the county (Harrogate, Selby, Hambleton and Scarborough), each led by a practice manager. Each delivery team comprises case-holding youth justice officers and some specialist or seconded colleagues, including:

  • probation officers
  • volunteer and reparation workers
  • victim liaison
  • education
  • police
  • substance misuse
  • bail and remand
  • administration services

An additional team of specialist support workers is integrated to the county's flagship No Wrong Door initiative, led by an experienced youth justice manager. This arrangement ensures young people can receive complementary 24/7 support packages from No Wrong Door when needed.

Apply to work for the youth justice service

If you are interested in a career with us please visit our vacancies page where current opportunities are available. More information is available regarding a career in youth justice.

Staff profiles

These profiles offer a deeper insight into what it is like to work for the youth justice service and what our staff do to help stop young people reoffend and protect the wider public.

Victim liaison officer

Tony Quinn (victim liaison officer)

What's your background?

I was born and grew up in Birmingham. I came to York St John’s 1976 and studied a BA (Hons) in English Literature. I later qualified as a teacher at Liverpool but joined North Yorkshire Police instead in 1982. I served 30 years in the police, and my career was divided fairly equally between uniform and CID duties. I retired in 2012 as an inspector and was fortunate enough to be awarded the NYP Lifetime Achievement award for that year. After leaving the police I worked at a secondary school in Scarborough as a pastoral support officer. I enjoyed the role very much but as with my other skirmishes with teaching it wasn’t to last. I saw the advert for the victim liaison officer post with the youth justice service and thought it was an ideal match for my experience and skills.

How long have you been working for the youth justice service?

Since November 2013.

What motivates you about your role?

Providing victims with the information and support they require but also feeding back their views so young people are aware of the full impact of their actions. This often includes victims expressing understanding and support for the young person. Victims are rarely disparaging towards young people which is not what you might expect if you accepted the views sometimes portrayed in the media.

Thinking back to your first day with the youth justice service, how have you adapted and changed?

Despite my previous experience there was still a lot I had to learn and I have definitely improved the service I provide since I began. I have sought to get out and meet people personally more than I did initially and have sought to develop our use of restorative justice.

What advice would you give to someone seeking the same career?

For me youth justice work has the same attraction that policing has. It is a career where you can do good by helping others. If we can help young people to turn away from offending, we are not only helping them - we are also reducing the number of future victims. At its core the role is about people and for it to be done well it requires effective communication skills. If you have those skills and care about people, then it is a great job.

What challenges do you face in your role?

Some victims wish to move on and forget the whole experience; others are still living it and have a wide range of on-going needs, which can include protection and access to services such as counselling and mediation. What is satisfying is that even those who wish to move on without support from me are usually willing to provide details of the impact the crime has had upon them and their families, so my colleagues can use it as part of the victim awareness work they do with young people.

What is your proudest moment?

I worked with a family on a particularly sensitive case and after one of the sessions I said to the one victim "thank you for trusting me to help you and your family." She replied "No thank you, you are very easy to trust." I thought it was a very nice thing for her to say.

Would you change anything?

I am trying to get more professionals who become victims to get involved in restorative justice. Some in policing, education and social care simply accept that being a victim sometimes comes with the role and wish to move on. I think there is an opportunity for both sides to talk about their feelings and to explore how the situation arose in the hope that they can both understand each other better and reduce the risk of the same thing happening again.

What’s an average day like?

It’s a mixture. There is usually some computer or paperwork such as writing up reports of visits and preparing letters. The rest of my time involves contacting and visiting victims who can live anywhere across the east of the county from Selby to Whitby and Ryedale. I work in an office with case workers and other professionals so there is also the opportunity to discuss cases.

Education liaison adviser

Jackie Best (Education liaison adviser)

What’s your background?

I have been working with children and young people for over 20 years and my experience has included everything from being a registered child minder, to running a pre-school playgroup, to heading a team of learning managers at a local secondary school. I completed my degree in Supporting Young People, Children and Families in 2011 and I’m currently studying for an NVQ Level 4 City and Guilds Qualification in Information, Advice and Guidance.

How long have you been working for the youth justice service?

I had been volunteering for the youth justice service since 2012. It gave me a taste of working with young offenders which subsequently led to me securing my current role of education liaison adviser within the west team in July 2014.

What motivates you about your role?

I believe education is the key to a better life for every young person. I try to help improve educational outcomes for young people with orders from the court, as this improves their life chances. This includes attendance at school as well as attainment or accredited qualifications.

Thinking back to your first day with the youth justice service, how have you adapted and changed?

I have gained a thorough understanding of what it is like for young people to be within the youth justice service and how this impacts on their education, training or employment. This has changed my practice in working with them and I believe this has made me more effective in my role. I try to use restorative practices with young people and their educational providers if these relationships have broken down and have found that persistence, consistency and faith in young people helps me effectively advocate for them.

What advice would you give to someone seeking the same career?

Working with young people, and particularly those within the youth justice service, can be challenging but also very rewarding. Resilience and an organised approach is the key to working in this area. A thorough knowledge of legislation surrounding young people as well as an ability to keep up with changes in educational policy and procedure is vital.

What challenges do you face in your role?

From a procedural perspective, sometimes implementing change can be time-consuming with lots of levels of bureaucracy to navigate. From the young person's perspective, if they are not yet ready to make the changes necessary to move their lives forward, it can be a frustrating process trying to help them build the motivation to change.

What is your proudest moment?

I am proudest of those young people who have faced their challenges and dealt with the complexities of their lives and allowed me to support them in building a better future.

Would you change anything?

In an ideal world, bespoke packages of education or training could be built around every young person to ensure all their needs are met. In the real world, budgets, policy, procedure and other restrictions make meeting the needs of every young person very demanding. I would like a magic wand to help young people turn back time so  they could make better choices, deal differently with situations and put them in a better position to access the highest quality education available.

What’s an average day like?

There is no typical day in my role and each day brings something different. I work directly with young people and their families as well as strategic working with educational providers, multiagencies and youth justice officers. I advocate for young people with those responsible for their education and try to look for creative ways to keep engaged or reengage young people with the education process. Keeping up with legislation and changes to education and curriculum is vital to my role as I advise others in this regard.


We are always interested in hearing from new volunteers. We understand that people volunteer for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from a general interest in helping young people, to a need to build up work experience for new career possibilities.

What do volunteers do?

Volunteers give whatever time they can depending on their own commitments and the youth justice service offers a flexible approach to this. There are opportunities across North Yorkshire. As a volunteer we offer you comprehensive training programmes and quality support and supervision, so you can make a real difference to the lives of young people.

We use volunteers in four key roles:

  • Referral panel members sit on community panels which meet with young people, their parents and sometimes their victims to agree a contract to repair harm that has been caused and prevent further offending.
  • Appropriate adults attend police stations to assist young people who have been arrested and whose parents are unable to attend.
  • Reparation supervisors supervise one or more young people engaged in unpaid community work.
  • Mentors support young people on a weekly one-to-one basis over the longer term to help their motivation and engagement.

More information

Find out more about the role of our panel members.

What our volunteers say

George, youth justice service volunteer - "I volunteer to help young people realise a positive outcome, to encourage their personal and social development so that they may transform their lives."

Jeni, youth justice service volunteer - "Through helping young people I feel I am making a positive contribution to society, making a difference. I learn from young people too."

Becoming a volunteer with the youth justice service

If you feel you can have a positive impact on young people and have the time and enthusiasm to make a difference, please contact us for further information or an application pack.