Analysis into cost and benefits of diversion schemes: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

The McInnes Report 2004 The Summary Justice Review Committee, Report to Ministers at Chapter 3, summary of recommendations number 39 stated that "little had been done to evaluate the costs and benefits of diversion schemes compared with other types of disposals." I would be grateful for the provision of any analysis done by the Scottish Government or partner agencies under the SG instruction into the costs and benefits of diversion schemes compared with other types of disposals. Please include reports, calculations and data used to make the comparisons, should they exist.


Attached is a copy of the information requested. To source this, I engaged with relevant colleagues, including analytical colleagues, and carried out appropriate searches.   Any data or analysis provided by external agencies under instruction from Scottish Government in the past will have been included in the search of Scottish Government databases, and the consideration of colleagues. (Most notably, this relates to the Scottish Government document published December 2019 below, which collates and analyses data from different external sources.)

Please note, we have only considered information held by the Scottish Government.  However, as explained above, this does include information provided to us by third parties. If you require information from other partner agencies, please approach them directly.

The most recent cost analysis of diversion schemes compared to other types of disposals can be found at
Costs of the criminal justice system in Scotland dataset: 2016-17 (published December 2019) - (  As you can see from the title, this was published in December 2019 and relates to data from 2016-2017. This document includes references which fully detail the reports, calculations and data used to make the comparisons.

I also enclose at Annex A a non-published paper which contains some information which may fall within the scope of your request.  This is Scottish Government Diversion Working Group: Diversion, What We Do and Do Not Know (2011).

While our aim is to provide full information whenever possible, in this instance we have removed two contacts’ telephone numbers and one address, only. (An exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies because it is personal data of a third party.  Disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we were not required to consider whether the public interest in disclosing the information outweighed the public interest in applying the exemption.)

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to provide copies of information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

Outwith Scottish Government’s own databases, there is some commentary which could be considered within scope in the chapter ‘Diversion from Prosecution’ from the Drugs Death Task Force report from September: drug-law-reform-report-sept-6th-21.pdf (

There also is detail on the general (rather than economic) benefits of diversion from prosecution on page 3 of the Diversion from Prosecution Guidance.  This was published by Community Justice Scotland in June 2020, and can be accessed at: Diversion from Prosecution Guidance - Community Justice Scotland.

The Diversion from Prosecution Group, at the Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice, published some information on the costs and benefits of youth diversion.  This was derived from UK and English data, and published by the Centre for Justice Innovation in February 2016.  See pages 19 and 20 of: Valuing youth diversion: A toolkit for practitioners | Centre for Justice Innovation.

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FOI202100242279 - Annex A


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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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