Diverting young people from prosecution: toolkit

Guidance for service providers on providing effective, tailored and appropriate interventions for young people who offend.

10. Monitoring and evaluation of diversion services

Monitoring and evaluation is an important element in providing a diversion programme, particularly in protecting the service by being able to demonstrate that it provides good outcomes for young people and wider social and financial benefits. It also provides opportunity to identify areas for improvement. It is key to informing policy and strategy development, since policy and decision makers must be satisfied that diverting young people from formal measures provides long term positive outcomes.

Effective monitoring and evaluation of diversion from prosecution programmes and services for 16 and 17 year olds should consider the following guidance.

Procurator Fiscal Service

It is important that Procurator Fiscal Offices are able to collect the following data:

  • If different diversion programmes are available (e.g. Social Work, Young Drivers etc.) the level of referral to each programme.
  • Age, gender, race, and if possible, religious belief and disability breakdown of young people (may not always be available).

Youth Justice Team (Service Provider)

  • Number of days to respond to PF indicating young person meets referral screening criteria.
  • Number of days from referral to completion of assessment.
  • Date of completion of Diversion Contract by young person.
  • Number of appointments/ sessions offered and number completed.
  • Programme evaluation from staff and partners (police, health, Scottish Prison Service, Skills Development Scotland etc.) delivering the programme.
  • Programme impact.
  • Date of submission of completion reports to PF.
  • Measure of staff time spent on service planning and delivery.
  • The average cost per referral to the service.
  • % of Young People referred back to Procurator Fiscal for refusal to participate or non-compliance.

Police (as referrer to Procurator Fiscal)

  • Number of young people aged 16 & 17 years reported to the Prosecutor Fiscal for offending.
  • Number, age and postcode of young people highlighted as appropriate for consideration in relation to diversion from prosecution.
  • Views of police constables in relation to the importance and effectiveness of service.
  • % rate of all young people (aged 16 & 17) referred to a diversion programme as an alternative to prosecution in relation to the overall numbers of young people reported to the Prosecutor Fiscal.
  • Recidivism rates - % rate of young people referred to a diversion programme who are reported again for further offending measured at 6-monthly, 12-monthly or 24 monthly intervals on completion of diversion.


  • Views of PF in relation to the current arrangements.
  • Views of PF in relation to the importance and effectiveness of service.

Young person(s) parent(s)/guardian(s)

  • Young person's views and attitude to the service and programme offered (completion form).
  • Parents'/ Guardians' views and attitude to the service (completion form).
  • Young person's views of the impact of crime on victims (victim awareness sessions).

Other recommendations

Effective evaluation should include, where possible, evidence of savings through not prosecuting. It should also include a level of independent interviews with agencies, young people, parents or guardians and where appropriate victims. Such interviews would offer some qualitative information in relation to the effectiveness of a service.


Email: youth.justice@gov.scot

Telephone: 0131 244 5443

Care and Justice Division
Scottish Government
Area 2-B North
Victoria Quay

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