An Evaluation of the Personal Development Partnership

This report reviews the management and outcomes from the Personal Development Partnership programme.

Profile of PDP Young People

1.22 PDP Young People with an existing or previous justice issue numbered 251 (48%) of all those referred to PDP. Unfortunately it is not possible to unpick this figure into categories of problems and behaviours as this data was not collected from the start of PDP. However, referral criteria include drug and alcohol misuse, non-attendance at school, risk of offending or involved in offending (see appendix 2). Whilst difficult to find relevant comparators[2], 8.8% of young people in the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime had a conviction by age 19 (McAra and McVie 2007). A Scottish Government report in 2005 estimated that the bulk of youth crime is attributable to those aged 18-21 (49%). The under-15s commit over one-third of youth crime, with the remainder attributable to those aged 16-17. 87% of youth crime is committed by males.

1.23 Of those who have exited PDP, 34% reached a positive destination. An analysis of the circumstances of the other young people in this category found that many did not engage with the project, a smaller number were not appropriate referrals, and some disengaged during the process. One hundred and thirty-four young people with a justice issue are currently engaged with PDP so these figures may change as the programme matures.

Table 2: Outcomes for young people with justice issues on referral

Outcomes No (%)
Did Not Engage on Referral 40 (34%)
Inappropriate Referral 10 (9%)
Disengaged from support 24 (20%)
YP Requested to withdraw 2 (2%)
YP was Asked to withdraw 1 (1%)
Reached Positive Destination 40 (34%)

1.24 From the case study and focus group data, along with evidence from assessment on referral, it is clear that many of the young people have complex difficulties and may be hard to engage. Many are disengaged from school and have problems with peer relationships, attendance problems, poor timekeeping, and sometimes violent or aggressive behaviour. As discussed elsewhere, it can be difficult for PDAs to know how much to pursue a young person who appears to disengage from the project, particularly when balancing a caseload. The main potential gain from the data above may be to increase the numbers engaging on referral. Referral and the immediate days/weeks following this are critical. Further mechanisms for following up at the referral stage should be considered.

1.25 Throughout the project, the ratio of males to females has remained at approximately two thirds to one third despite efforts to attract young females by actively encouraging young girls to try PDP and by setting up all female groups for taster sessions. Proportionately more females than males withdrew as a result of not feeling any more support was necessary. It should be noted that the latest age range figures produced by PDP (PDP Quarterly Performance Report October 2012) suggested the ratio has altered to almost three quarters to one quarter. In a similar youth project dealing with a similar age range, the balance was 60/40. However, the latest statistics from the Children's Reporter Scotland 2011/2012 noted that boys made up the majority (74%) of children referred to the panel for 'offences': thus the gender split within PDP is reflective of the statistics. For those under 21 years, three times as many boys received Diversion form Prosecution Orders compared with girls and 74% of all Reports and Orders handed down to the 16-20 age group were for boys (Criminal Justice Social Work Statistics 2011). PDP gender balance can be judged as appropriate for their client group.

1.26 The initial target age range for PDP was 14-17. Over three-quarters of PDP referrals have been under 16 and at the time the partnership was formed, only one partner provided activities for this age group. The PDP partners knew this situation could arise but seemed to be caught out by the sheer numbers of young people who in effect could not access three of the partner's services. It took 18 months to develop appropriate services for the under-16 group. Two partners (Venture Trust and Venture Scotland) have developed under-16 versions of their programmes to address the need. Princes Trust has developed a programme for young people not in mainstream education. This demonstrates appropriate response to the current needs of young people in the system. The age range for PDP has now been adjusted to 14-19 to take account of the need for training places and employment opportunities.

1.27 Three percent (16) of young people referred to PDP were from an ethnic minority group. That compares with 4% of all Reports and Orders handed down in 2011 Criminal Justice Social Work Statistics 2011: Excel File) and 4% of the total Scottish prison population (Prison Statistics and Population Projections 2011-12). Therefore PDP is in alignment with other comparable projects.


Email: Ban Cavanagh

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