Supporting youth diversion


Youth diversion schemes offer a way of addressing low-level criminal behaviour without escalating use of the formal justice system. Formal justice system processing, either prosecution in court or out of court disposals, can result in a criminal conviction, a record, and can actually increase the likelihood of future offending.


Evidence strongly suggests that diversion generates better outcomes for both young people and their communities. However, youth diversion schemes in England and Wales need support to continue: because they fall outside any agency’s statutory responsibilities, they are particularly prone to disinvestment.
Current provisions for diversion schemes in the UK are piecemeal and often precariously funded. Due to mounting budget pressures, many practitioners report that promising schemes risk losing investment.


We believe that youth diversion schemes work. Youth diversion has a strong evidence base, a compelling financial case, and, in many areas, years of successful operation. That’s why we have created a toolkit intended to help practitioners make the strongest possible case for investment in youth diversion.


Get our support


We offer support to practitioners across England and Wales who are involved in, or considering creating, point-of-arrest diversion schemes for children and young people. The support is flexible based on the needs of the scheme, but might include good practice, how to talk about diversion to commissioners, or how to demonstrate cost avoidance through the scheme. To get an idea of how we might be able to help download our support offer on the right of this page. You can also talk to us by contacting Claire Ely on or 0203 735 9437.


Download the toolkit


In collaboration with the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers, we have also developed a toolkit to help practitioners working in youth diversion. The toolkit outlines the research case for youth diversion, and discusses the effective practice implications of this evidence. It offers messaging support for approaching new and existing commissioners. And it provides guidance on a method of demonstrating the cost effectiveness of diversion through its local impact on justice system stakeholders.


The cost avoidance tool – a spreadsheet containing a simple cost avoidance model – is available free of charge on request. If you would like to receive the cost-avoidance tool,  and guidance on how it can be used, please contact Carmen D’Cruz at


Sign up for our Youth Diversion Bulletin here. It will keep you up to date with the evidence, give you insights from other practitioners, you will hear from expert voices and we will outline key areas of good practice.