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Doing Diversion Effectively

Colleagues from across the youth justice sector are invited to join a virtual learning café run by the Youth Endowment Fund. This is part of our Evidence in Practice series, which sits alongside our Toolkit giving you opportunity to hear from policy experts and practitioners on relevant research and practice.

There is strong evidence that diverting children who have committed low-level or first-time offences, rather than taking them to court, can protect them from future involvement in crime and violence. It can also lower the severity of any crimes they do later commit. Diverting children is also likely to achieve these results for a lower cost than processing through the formal justice system.

In this session, we’ll focus on how we can effectively divert children towards evidence-based support. We’ll hear from the Youth Justice Board who’ll showcase their new case management guidance on how and when to use out-of-court disposals. We’ll also learn about the Centre for Justice Innovations newly updated toolkit for practitioners which provides detailed guidance on how diversion should operate to maximise impact. Finally, we’ll hear from a youth justice practitioner who leads on implementing diversion within their local area and who will share their lessons learned.

We will be joined by:

Kate Langley, Youth Justice Board

Kate is the Director of Operations for the South of England for the Youth Justice Board. She leads on the YJB’s Oversight Framework which sets out how the YJB’s monitoring function is fulfilled. Kate also leads on out of court disposals and recently developed the YJB’s Case Management Guidance on out of court disposals published in January 2024. She was previously Head of Oversight for the Southwest of England for the YJB. Before joining the YJB in 2020, Kate was the Head of Youth Justice in Gloucestershire between 2014-2020, having worked in various Youth Justice Services, predominately in London, since 2000.

Claire Ely, Centre for Justice Innovation

Claire is the Head of Criminal Justice Practice at the Centre for Justice Innovation. She leads on a number of areas including: youth diversion, criminal problem solving courts, adult diversion, out of court disposals and community advice services. Claire and her team provide hands-on support to YJSs and police forces who deliver diversion and OOCRs, they undertake research on topics such as disproportionality in diversion and work closely with the YJB, NPCC. YEF and MoJ to develop guidance and policy. She has extensive frontline experience of the criminal justice system from her time as a probation officer.

Hannah Blower, Lancashire Child and Youth Justice Service

Hannah is a Senior Manager for Lancashire Child and Youth Justice Service. In 2019, Hannah led on the design and implementation of Lancashire’s evidence-based Child First Diversion scheme. To date, the scheme has supported over 440 children and became a Youth Justice Board Pathfinder in 2020, helping to disseminate child first diversion practice across the sector. Hannah also sat on the Youth Endowment Fund’s diversion advisory group for criminal justice sector leaders, contributing to the development of their guidance report, “Arrested Children: How to keep children safe and reduce offending”.

Mica Aspinwall, Lancashire Child and Youth Justice Service

Mica is a Project Manager for Lancashire Child and Youth Justice Service. Mica has worked in CYJS for three years and is passionate about making a difference for young people. During this time, she managed the YJB’s Child-First Diversion Pathfinder for one year and currently project manages the Turnaround funding from the MoJ amongst other projects. She is also lead for Participation in CYJS ensuring our children have their voices heard and have influence at every level of the service.