Wakefield Council wins £18m contract to run crime diversion project across West Yorkshire

Wakefield Council leader Coun Peter Box
Wakefield Council leader Coun Peter Box

Wakefield Council has been awarded an £18m contract to extend an award-winning service to the whole of West Yorkshire.

Following a competitive tender exercise the Council’s Children and Young People’s service has been selected by NHS England to run the Liaison and Diversion Service across the county for the next six years.

The service works with vulnerable adults and young people who come into contact with the criminal justice system, with the aim of diverting individuals away from crime and into health, social care or other support organisations.

Coun Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council, said: “We are pleased that our award winning service can share its expertise and support the wider region. The new contract provides an opportunity to build on our reputation nationally and regionally as an effective and high quality provider of Liaison and Diversion Services.

“The service has a real impact on the individuals it supports and local communities, as well as helping to prevent high cost health and justice interventions.”

A combination of health and social care professionals, police officers and voluntary sector organisations run the service, which helps individuals to engage with support services. The service is focused on prevention and works to tackle underlying issues, such as offering treatment and support for vulnerable individuals to improve health and wellbeing, prevent crime and reduce the risk of re-offending.

The council’s service, which has been in place for six years, runs in close partnership with West Yorkshire Police. It is commissioned by NHS England.

The service was named as ‘Best Liaison and Diversion Service’ in the country in 2016 by the Howard League for Penal Reform. In 2018 it was again recognised by the Howard League when it was named as the best national Youth Crime Prevention Programme and as the best Female Crime Diversion Programme nationally, in partnership with Wakefield Well Women Centre.