Assessment should be an ongoing process that involves the young person and, where appropriate, the young person's parents/carers. It should provide a picture of a young person within their particular environment that will support the identification of needs, an understanding of the patterns of their offending behaviour and the planning of effective interventions.

The National Standards for Youth Justice Services has guidelines for assessment on page 23.

The Common Assessment Framework, Asset and Onset - Guidance for youth justice practitioners was published in November 2006. This guidance is intended to help practitioners and managers to use Common Assessment Framework (CAF) effectively, while continuing to use Onset and Asset as the primary assessment methods for (respectively) young people at risk of involvement in offending or young people who have offended.


Asset provides a common, structured framework for assessment of all young people involved in the criminal justice system. It is a standard assessment of the factors contributing to a young person's offending. Research commissioned by the YJB has established the main risk factors that lead to youth offending and also the protective factors that can prevent it.

Asset should be completed at the beginning and end of all interventions, and at the mid-point of Detention and Training Orders. It should inform the completion of  T forms or other assessment and planning documentation within the secure estate.

Youth offending team (YOT) workers should complete Asset before reports for external audiences are written (e.g. Pre-Sentence Reports, or reports for Referral Order Panels). These reports should be informed by your Asset assessment.


The Onset referral and assessment framework was designed by the Centre for Criminological Research, University of Oxford for the YJB and was piloted by the 13 pilot youth inclusion and support panels (YISPs).

Common Assessment Framework

The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is a standardised approach to assessing the needs of children and young people who may need additional help in order to meet the five priority outcomes set out in the Every Child Matters programme. It has been designed for practitioners in all agencies to allows effective communication and collaboration, and it plays an important role in providing early intervention.

Guidance and research

The Key Elements of Effective Practice document, Assessment, Planning Interventions and Supervision, is the YJB's key guidance on assessment and Asset.

You can also download the full source document on which this summary is based.
A full evaluation of the validity and reliability of Asset was published in June 2003.

Youth Justice Board


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