Pre-Reprimand Disposal (PRD) Durham

Themes this local practice example relates to:

  • Youth
  • General resources

Priorities this local practice example relates to:

  • Delivering better outcomes for young people by increasing the impact of targeted youth support and development

Basic details

Organisation submitting example

Durham County Council/Durham Constabulary

Local authority/local area:


The context and rationale

County Durham was experiencing large numbers of young people entering the criminal justice system. It was felt the figures were such that this area needed to be targeted. County Durham proposed that the reduction of First Time Entrants (FTE) to the criminal justice system should be a Local Area Agreement stretch target.

County Durham Youth Offending Service (CDYOS) worked with Durham Constabulary to develop a robust solution with the aim of reducing first time entrants, improving outcomes for young people and ensuring early intervention for young people coming to the attention of the police for the first time.

By adopting the reduction of FTEs as a stretch target, the support of the County Durham Partnership and the Community Safety Partnership was achieved. It was also adopted as a Key Improvement Priority for the Children’s Trust and was therefore strategically linked into all the major partnerships for children and community safety within County Durham.

The evidence of need was gathered locally by analysing assessments of young people undertaken as part of the Final Warning process This was the earliest stage, at that time, at which CDYOS intervened with young people. From this analysis a ‘core’ programme of intervention for a Pre-Reprimand Disposal (PRD) was developed and implementation began from May 2008. 

Initially, the PRD was only available for young people aged 10 to 13 years inclusive who were arrested by the police for minor criminal offending. This was because:

• the programme was part funded by the Children’s Fund, 
• we needed to ensure the systems worked, 
• we needed to analyse potential throughput of workload
• we needed to build the service’s capacity and capability.

The PRD was then extended for young people aged 10 to 16 years. This was to ensure fairness in dealing with young people and ensuring all young people had the same opportunities to be diverted from the criminal justice system and to receive interventions to help them remain offence free for the future.

Finally, the age range was extended to 17 years to cover all young people within the remit of the youth court.

The exact timeline was:

• Jan 2007 – Children and Young People’s Service (CYPS) established – focus on improving outcomes
• Aug/Sept 2007 – PRD proposed (CDYOS/Police) 
• Sept 2007/March 2008 – Political mandate/support (Corporate Executive Board, Local Criminal Justice Board, Community Safety Partnership (CSP), CDYOS Management Board, Members)
• Sept 2007/March 2008 – PRD processes developed 
• 1 May 2008 – PRD implemented (aged 10 – 13)
• 1 Oct 2008 – Age range extended (aged 14 – 16)
• 1 July 2009 – Age range extended (aged 16 – 17)
• Jan – May 2010 – PRD Review – proposals
• 1 Sept 2010 – Changes to Pre Court Delivery implemented.

The practice

Every young person who receives a PRD will undertake a Common Assessment Framework (CAF) assessment (and ONSET ) and an intervention plan is developed based upon that assessment and the core programme of a PRD. The CAF will identify any needs or risk factors and if required, a Team Around the Child (TAC) meeting is held, bringing a range of relevant professionals together.

All young people receiving a PRD undertake a Core Programme covering the following:

• Victim Awareness Consequences of Offending, 
• Family Support,
• Healthy Living. 
Any further interventions are dependent on the CAF Assessment and will be delivered by a range of professionals including CDYOS staff.

Case studies in section 3 provide examples of the range of interventions offered.

Evidence and evaluation - making a difference to children, young people and families

The PRD has proved that early intervention improves outcomes for young people, families and communities. The PRD enables early intervention at the point where a young person has committed a criminal offence for the first time. 

Within County Durham, young people who are arrested by the police, for the first time, for minor offending are now referred to CDYOS for a Pre-Reprimand Disposal. This prevents them from becoming a FTE to the criminal justice system, prevents them from obtaining a criminal record and provides an opportunity for them to undergo an assessment and, if appropriate, receive relevant interventions based on their needs.

CDYOS and Durham Constabulary have now extended this process to all young people who receive a PRD, Reprimand and Final Warning.

An internal review in 2010 showed the following positive outcomes:

• 71% reduction in FTEs 07/08 – 09/10:

• 50% reduction in re-offending after PRD compared to Reprimand (prior to introduction of PRD)
• 80% in full time education, training or employment (ETE) at end of PRD
• 98% successful completion rate
• 50% reduction (number of young people re-offending/number of re-offences) versus Police Reprimand
• In 80% of cases the interventions directly impacted on the reduction of risk/needs for the young people and their families. 

Views of young people, families, victims and partners

The feedback received from young people and families is entirely positive. Parents appreciate that their child does not have a criminal record and that they are receiving the support they feel they need. 

Young people report that they felt respected during the process and that they understand the consequences of their offending for themselves and the victims.

We also have several case studies which highlight how PRD works:

Case study X
Case study Y
Case study F
Case study H

Views of services involved

Responses from partners are entirely positive about the PRD process.

CAF processes are now part of CDYOS’ core business. The reduction in first time entrants has reduced some of the demand on CDYOS’ post court caseload and the demand for specialist services. The introduction of the Youth Rehabilitation Order and Scaled Approach (November 09) has resulted in a 50% higher than anticipated level of post court cases which need to be managed at the intensive or enhanced level. The reduction in first time entrants is enabling CDYOS to focus on high risk/high need young people – very complex cases who did not have the benefit of the PRD for early intervention. 

All of CDYOS’ caseload, both pre and post court, consists of young people who have offended. The development of Integrated Teams 0 -19 and the strong partnership work in County Durham will enable early intervention before young people get involved in offending or anti-social behaviour, or other specialist needs develop. 

Building on the success of the PRD, changes to CDYOS pre court system were implemented (September 2010) within existing resources. To sum up, all young people for whom the police are considering a pre-court disposal are now referred to CDYOS. Staff undertake a CAF assessment and, in conjunction with police colleagues seconded to CDYOS, decide whether a PRD, Reprimand or Final Warning is appropriate. All disposals include interventions if considered appropriate.

Sustaining and replicating your practice

CDYOS re-profiled its resources in order to adequately staff this initiative. Approximately £600,000 is allocated per year for the delivery of early interventions (1,403 PRDs, May 2008 – April 2011). Whilst this is a significant investment for CDYOS we believe the outcomes show this is an ‘invest to save’ initiative.

Costs include all staff and interventions to deliver the PRD programme. The average cost is £750 - £1000 per PRD. We regard this as Invest to Save as it is reducing costs to the criminal justice system/children services.

Hot Tips

• High Level support (members & officers) must be secured for the programme to be sustained.
• Given the PRD programme can have a negative impact on ‘sanctioned detections’, it is essential to obtain full support from the Constabulary Executive and Local Criminal Justice Board.
• There can be a negative impact on NI 19 (re-offending), as measured under the previous methodology, as the programme removes those young people least likely to re-offend from this Recidivism Cohort. (Co Durham = 50.4% reduction in Recidivism Cohort size (2010) compared to 2005 baseline).

As a result of this intervention:

• Fewer young people are re-offending and committing fewer offences.
• There is a low level of re-offending after PRD compared to after a Police reprimand (50% reduction).

The success of the PRD is also due to strong leadership, strategic direction and clear accountability for outcomes.

Contact Us

t. 020 7833 6825

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