Liaison and Diversion - A National roll-out

Liaison and Diversion – national roll
out of court & police custody
diversion service
“Liaison and diversion is an excellent example of different
organisations working together to turn lives around….No other
country in the world is doing this on the scale that we are pursuing. It
is a really exciting programme.” Normal Lamb MP, Care Minister
‘Diversion’ is a process whereby people are
assessed and their needs identified as early as
possible in the offender pathway (including
prevention and early intervention), thus
informing subsequent decisions about where an
individual is best placed to receive treatment,
taking into account public safety, safety of the
individual and punishment of the offence.
(Bradley, 2009)
Huge variation
• The adult schemes
• The youth schemes
• Adult and youth schemes
Absence of national policy framework, bottom up development and variation in local
need and circumstances has led to high degree of diversity in:
• methods of working
• governance arrangements
• processes
• service delivery arrangements
• post-diversionary arrangements
• outcome measures.
Supported argument for a shared national operating model for liaison and diversion.
Liaison and Diversion: Underpinning
Narrative review identified principles from the literature as critical drivers of effective provision. These include:
Clear definition :
An articulated definition of liaison and diversion which is shared within and between
Connectivity :
Developed across different local agencies – not as isolated services.
A local post-diversion infrastructure underpinned by a shared commissioning strategy.
Services which are accessible as and when people need them.
Services which are not constrained by established staff working patterns.
Skilled staff :
A consistent skill mix of staff.
Training that combines justice, health, social care, children’s and educational sectors,
the wider public and the independent sector.
Outcome focused:
Minimum data sets to manage performance against agreed outcome measures
Proportionate intervention:
Avoiding unjustified coercion
Avoiding service duplication and over-intervention.
Operating Model -definition
Liaison and diversion is a process whereby people of all ages in contact with the youth
and criminal justice systems are screened and where appropriate assessed or referred
for assessment, so that those with mental health problems, learning disabilities,
cognitive disorders, substance misuse problems and other vulnerabilities are identified
as soon as possible in the justice pathway.
Those in contact with the youth or criminal justice systems as a result of being
suspected of having committed a criminal offence are, where appropriate, referred to
appropriate services including, but not limited to, mental and physical healthcare,
social care, substance misuse treatment and safeguarding.
Information gained from assessments is shared with relevant justice agencies to enable
key decision makers to make more informed decisions on diversion, charging, case
management, reasonable adjustments and sentencing. Where the individual is
referred to services outside the justice system, relevant information should be shared
with those service providers.
Diversion should be interpreted in its wider sense, referring to both diversion out of,
and within, the justice system.
Developing an operating model
• Key features
all-age service;
 available to all points of intervention in the youth
justice and criminal justice pathway;
addressing a wide range of health issues and
entry point - comes into contact with the police under
suspicion of having committed a criminal offence;
intervention at earliest possible point on justice
Key aims of liaison & diversion
• Improved access to healthcare and support
services for vulnerable individuals through
effective liaison with appropriate services and a
reduction in health inequalities.
• Diversion of individuals, where appropriate, out
of the youth justice or criminal justice systems
into health or other supportive services.
• Delivery of efficiencies within the youth justice
and criminal justice systems.
• The reduction of re-offending.
Points of operation
• The service must be available at, but not limited to, the
following locations:
 Community settings, including schools and restorative justice,
where police engage with children and young people
 Police custody suites
 Police stations (or other prosecuting authorities) where voluntary
attendance occurs
 Magistrates’ courts
 Youth courts and referral order panels
 The Crown Court
 Probation to assist with the production of Pre-Sentence Reports
 Youth offending teams (YOTs)
Recap: Key features
All age service: but age appropriate responses
24/7 response: mixture of extended operating hours & out of hours
Core team: mix of liaison & diversion practitioners, support workers, admin,
management time
Extended team: with formalised arrangements, supplementing skill gaps in team
& facilitating access to services & data
All vulnerabilities addressed: e.g. learning disability, speech, language &
communication needs, aspergers, personality disorder etc.
Appropriate responses to equalities groups: e.g. joint-working with women’s
centres, specialist workers where sufficient team size (e.g. Together)
Case-identification, screening & assessment: 3-stages using validated tools,
delivered by appropriate staff
Operate across cj pathway: up until sentence e.g. police custody, magistrates
court, crown court, probation & YOS (for PSRs)
Response to voluntary attendees: following changes to PACE codes to reduce use
of custody
Integration with substance misuse services: complicated by inconsistent &
changing picture of arrest referral provision nationally
Service user involvement: implementation & ongoing
Good data collection
10 First Wave trial sites
Middlesbrough & Sunderland
South East Essex
Avon & Somerset
Midlands & East
Challenges reported by phase 1 pilots
Recruitment and vetting of staff within timescales
Extended hours of operation
Strategic buy-in on project boards
Service Level Agreements/Memorandums of
Understanding for extended team
Transition to all age response
Voluntary attendees
Data collection
Service user involvement
Next step…
• Support to wave 2 sites throughout 2015.
• Full business case to Treasury in autumn 2015.
• National roll out by 2017
“It’s a brilliant idea, having them look at all the problems, if we have
the right people in place, and communicating with each other ‘cos a lot
of the things, there’s a lot of separate agencies, sometimes doing well
in their individual thing but for example if you’ve got a mental health
problem and you’ve got drink and drugs, some people won’t even look
at it until you put drink and drugs down… I don’t think it’s done
deliberately or horribly but the way the systems set out is you have one
thing in one place what they can talk to you about, but it’s all
interlinked. Unless they're all talking to each other, that’s the main
thing in all this.”