To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what mechanisms his Department uses to measure the effectiveness of referral orders in the youth justice system; and what assessment he has made of that effectiveness.
The most relevant measure on referral orders is reoffending rates. Data on reoffending rates for 2007, the most recent year figures are available, show that the proportion of juveniles that reoffended following a referral order was 40.5 per cent. The frequency rate of reoffending shows that these offenders committed an average of 117.6 offences per 100 offenders. These are the lowest reoffending rates of all juvenile court imposed sentences.
Reoffending rates for different sentences should not be compared to assess the relative effectiveness of these sentences, as there is no control for known differences in offender characteristics or other factors that may affect both reoffending and the type of sentence given.
A juvenile cohort study on the effectiveness of all juvenile sentences for under-18s, which includes the referral order, is due to report next year.