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The referral order is the primary community sentence for under 18s. It is available for under 18s appearing in court for the first time who plead guilty. Legislation implemented on 27 April has extended the availability of the referral order so that a referral order may now be made on second conviction where the offender pleads guilty and has not previously had a
referral order. Also, in exceptional circumstances, on the recommendation of the youth offending team, a second referral order may be made where the offender pleads guilty.
Under a referral order the young offender is referred to a youth offender panel consisting of two volunteers from the community advised by a member from the youth offending team (YOT). The young offender is required to attend the panel with their parent/s and must agree a contract which includes reparation or restoration to the victim, or the wider community if there is no direct victim or the victim does not wish to be directly involved, and a programme of interventions and activities to address their offending behaviour. A referral order can be made for a maximum period of 12 months.
The latest available data, which are from 31 December 2007, show that there were 508 staff carrying out these roles in Prison Service establishments. Information relating to the two more recent years is subject to a validation exercise and is not yet available.
Mr. Hanson: Probation areas have been required to promote the unpaid work community sentence as Community Payback since 2005. This has been done in a variety of ways including the use of signs at Community Payback work sites and on vehicles. In addition probation areas have also worked to generate local and national publicity in order to increase public awareness of the millions of hours worked by offenders to make reparation for the crimes and to improve local communities. To further increase visibility and public confidence the use of distinctive clothing, to be worn by offenders sentenced to Community Payback, was introduced on 1 December 2008. This followed the review, Engaging Communities in Fighting Crime, which proposed that community payback should be made increasingly visible. A survey of members of the public conducted as part of the review found that:
90 per cent. agreed that all punishments for crime should involve some payback to the community;
77 per cent. agreed that people should be informed about when and where the work would be carried out; and
a strong majority wanted work under community sentencing to be made more visible.
The number of hours worked by offenders and the number of Community Payback work projects on which high visibility clothing is worn is recorded by the National Offender Management Service and in March over 400,000 hours of Community Payback were undertaken by offenders wearing the distinctive clothing.
Community Payback has featured in the recent Justice Seen, Justice Done campaign where the public were able to have their say on work offenders carry out in 54 local authority areas. The Community Payback work projects nominated will be announced in the near future. Further work will also be undertaken to determine the level of public awareness of Community Payback.
Mr. Hanson: The use of high-visibility clothing by offenders undertaking community payback was introduced on 1 December 2008. Implementation of this policy has been monitored by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). The overwhelming majority of the offenders comply with this requirement. The number of hours worked by offenders and the number of community payback work projects on which high visibility clothing is worn are recorded by NOMS. Data are available for the period December 2008 to March 2009 and are shown in the following table.
|Number of community payback projects operated and number of hours worked using high-visibility clothing|
|Number of projects||Hours worked|
Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of the budget of West Midlands Probation Service has been spent on management and administration in each year since 2004-05. 
Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) qualified probation officers and (b) probation service officers have been employed by West Midlands Probation Service on 31 March in each year since 2004. 
|Probation officers( 1)||Probation service officers|
|(1) Probation officer figures include senior probation officers, senior practitioners and probation officers. (2) The information provided has yet to be published and may therefore be subject to minor amendment upon publication. Notes: 1. Figures are shown as full-time equivalents. 2. Figures for the year 2008-09 are not yet available.|
Mr. Straw: Local authorities' youth offending teams are responsible for providing and commissioning local programmes aimed at reducing reoffending. Funding for youth offending teams comes from a variety of agencies, such as the police, probation and social services. The following table shows the amount of funding that the Youth Justice Board has allocated to youth offending teams in England and Wales since 2000-01 when the teams came into being.
In addition, programmes to reduce reoffending are run within the secure estate. However, the cost of these is incorporated in the overall cost per bed and it is not possible to identify the expenditure separately.
The recently published National Statistics on Juvenile Reoffending show that juvenile reoffending is at its
lowest since records for the frequency of reoffending began in 2000. This success reflects the Government's investment in the youth justice system and the significant reforms implemented over the past 12 years.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department has allocated to the Youth Justice Board for preventative programmes in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. 
Mr. Straw: For 2009-10, the Youth Justice Board has allocated £11 million for preventative programmes from its Ministry of Justice grant. In addition, the Youth Justice Board will receive £6 million from the Department of Children, Schools and Families and £18 million from the Home Office for preventative programmes.