Good News from the Liaison and Diversion evaluation researchers

April 2018

As many of the L&D services will be aware, Wave 1 and 2 L&D services have taken part in an evaluation by the research organisation, ‘RAND Europe’. The researchers recently confirmed that enough service users have consented to take part in the research and that identifiable data gathered by services last year is of adequate quality to allow the evaluation to progress, which is great news for all concerned. This research aims to examine the impact of the NHS England National Model of L&D upon three distinct areas. These are:-

  • Re-conviction rates, diversion from court and custodial sentences;
  • Court processes (i.e. adjournments and length of hearings);
  • the use of A&E, mental health services and drug treatment services.

The aim of this recent stage of research was to assess the first of two risks identified at the start of the evaluation project. Namely, ‘the risk of insufficient numbers of participants, poor quality identifiable data or participants not sufficiently representative of overall cohort of service users to allow reliable conclusions to be drawn.’ RAND Europe produced a progress report confirming that the volumes of data collected and its quality were good. It also confirmed that characteristics of those who consented to take part in the research and those who did not were sufficiently similar. These findings mean that the Department of Health (the commissioners of the research) have approved the continuation of the research as planned.

This is really positive news. It is thanks to the hard work and persistence of all the L&D practitioners, tirelessly collecting consent from the people using their services. This ultimately allows this important piece of research to continue, which for the first time aims to provide practitioners, commissioners and policy makers with robust evidence about the effectiveness of L&D services.

The next of these progress reports will be delivered in the Summer, 2018. This will address the second of the two main risks identified. This second risk is concerned with the extent to which the data collected can be matched with other government datasets to allow access to more information concerning a person’s health and justice outcomes. 

Provided that sufficient volumes of data from L&D services can be matched with other datasets the evaluation will continue. The overall evaluation findings are planned for publication in Autumn, 2019. You may also wish to read the RAND Europe (2016) report which is about RAND’s evaluation of the first 10 L&D trial sites.

Research will assess the impact of L&D services

September 2017

As Liaison and Diversion (L&D) schemes will be aware, Waves 1 and 2 L&D services are involved in a national evaluation looking at the impact of L&D services on reconviction rates, diversion from the criminal justice system and the use of health services. The evaluation is being carried out by a team of criminal justice and health researchers from ‘RAND Europe,’ in partnership with NHS England.

RAND Europe have already conducted an evaluation of the initial roll out of the national L&D model, published last year. This second evaluation aims to establish the impact of L&D services. The findings will inform decisions concerning the wider roll-out of the national model for L&D.

As part of this research, L&D practitioners have been asked get informed consent from service users to allow the analysis of their personal data. This initial phase of the evaluation is due to conclude at the end of September 2017, after which the data will be safely and securely transferred over to the evaluation team.

The lead for the research, Dr. Emma Disley, said of all those involved, “We are so grateful for all the work that has gone into administering the consent processes. We know that this is not always an easy procedure to put in place, but it’s really paying off as we see the number of people who have consented to be part of the study moving upwards every month.”

Once the data from each of the sites is available, initial analysis will be conducted to generate a picture of the sample including the spread of ages, vulnerabilities and other characteristics. The central team will be in touch soon with further information about ending the consent processes and sharing data with the evaluation team.