Pilot randomised controlled trial for Divert Plus

09 April 2024

Pilot randomised controlled trial for Divert Plus

Download our report

Cordis Bright was funded by the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) to undertake a pilot randomised controlled trial of Divert Plus. Our report has recently been published and can be viewed below or downloaded from the YEF website.

The Divert Plus programme aimed to prevent 10-17 year olds who had been arrested for violence (or offences with risk factors for future involvement in violence) from offending and reoffending. Delivered by Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire Violence Reduction Partnership, it aimed to provide an initial conversation to young people at the key moment after arrest, before offering a range of interventions including speech and language therapy, mentoring, and discussion of Out of Court Disposal options.

The key findings of our report are: 

  • Recruitment, consent and randomisation procedures improved over the course of the trial and were well established and embedded. However, it proved challenging to recruit young people to the trial. Retention of young people in the control group also proved difficult. Only 24 young people (and their parents/carers) provided and maintained full written consent to take part in the evaluation.
  • The questionnaires were effectively administered by practitioners, appeared to be reliable, valid, and practical, and outcome data collection rates were high.
  • Several elements of the Divert Plus theory of change would benefit from clearer definition before a larger trial. When initial conversations take place, the role of case managers, the role of mentors, the speech and language offer and the part played by Restorative Justice all require clarification and greater consistency. A future efficacy study would also require a better process for collecting delivery monitoring and dosage data.
  • Divert Plus staff members reported that the programme was effectively diverting children away from the criminal justice system via out of court disposals. They also perceived that the speech and language provision offered to children was helping to better meet their needs. There was not sufficient quantitative data to confirm these outcomes.

Based on the findings of our pilot RCT, YEF concluded that Divert Plus is not yet ready to move to a larger efficacy RCT. The programme requires a clearer definition of theory of change and further consideration of how to recruit enough young people.

Despite this, the Pilot Trial identified some positive evidence that an RCT approach can work to evaluate a programme of this kind.


Pilot randomised controlled trial for Divert PlusDownload

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