This article explores the contemporary introduction of restorative justice into the youth justice system in England. Specifically, the research investigates referral orders, and discusses how this new system is functioning 'on the ground' several years after implementation. The findings are based on a qualitative, in-depth study of one Youth Offending Team. This research concludes that even following an ideological commitment to incorporate restorative justice principles into the youth justice system, the transition to a practical realization of those principles has not been entirely successful. At present, conferencing is falling short in two key areas - victim participation and lack of a relationship between community members and young offenders - due to poor community representation and training and to community members' coercive tactics.