Neurodiversity Celebration Week is a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. This year, our service’s Learning Disabilities and Neurodiversity pathway lead, Mick, has put together a blog all about what has been happening within West Yorkshire Liaison and Diversion (L&D) in relation to our support of service users with neurodiverse conditions going through the justice system over the last 12 months.

The West Yorkshire L&D pathway for service users identified with a diagnosis or potential diagnosis of a learning disability, autism or other neurodiverse condition is now approaching 4 years since it was first introduced. The pathway continues to meet the needs of our service users, many of whom have benefitted from being referred into it. In the last 12 months, I have worked hard to develop our pathway to meet the needs of those who, although not diagnosed with a Learning Disability or Autism, but who have other significant neurodiverse challenges.

As a service, we are identifying more adults with ADHD and have made many referrals to ADHD diagnostic services for service users who display the symptoms but remain undiagnosed.

In the last 12 months I have continued to see an increase in referrals from services such as community nurses, social care, Forensic Outreach services, probation, solicitors and other related healthcare, social care and criminal justice-related services.

I completed writing The West Yorkshire L&D Neurodiversity training course and delivered the first day on 18th April 2023 and I have delivered 4 further courses since then. The feedback has been very positive for the training and will now be mandatory of all L&D staff. Further dates are now in place for 2024. I am hoping to look at the development of a refresher course that can be delivered to all staff in the future to ensure continuity.

Also in 2023 I worked with the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership and NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, who are developing a massive communications push across healthcare, social care and criminal justice to raise awareness of inequalities faced by those with learning disability and other neurodiverse conditions as part of the NHS Learning Disabilities Challenge Campaign.

For my part in this project, I looked to raise awareness and improve communications in relation to criminal justice with a view to improve links between services and improve the experience of vulnerable service users. Below are links to a piece where I discuss my role and also a video which looks to encourage learning disability nurses to consider other a career as a nurse in criminal justice.

Supporting vulnerable people with rehabilitation :: West Yorkshire Health & Care Partnership (

This was a huge project online which incorporated a variety of social media platforms including YouTube, TikTok and Twitter which, as well as increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes for our service users, should also increase the profile of the West Yorkshire L&D Service and hopefully enhance collaborative working practices to benefit all of our service users.

Over the last 12 months, I have been busy both locally and nationally in raising awareness of the needs of neurodiverse service users within the criminal justice system and I have presented at a number of conferences and events to highlight both the West Yorkshire L&D service and also my role within the service in supporting and raising awareness of neurodiversity and the criminal justice system to health, social care and criminal justice professionals. Some of the highlights were presenting at:

  • Online Harms Conference May 2023-Nostell Priory-A presentation on Vulnerable Adults and Online safety
  • National RCN Learning Disability Conference October 2023-Winchester University-A presentation on Learning Disability Nursing for West Yorkshire Liaison and Diversion-Supporting People with Learning Disabilities and also a Q&A session
  • Queens University of Belfast December 2023A presentation Masterclass: Role of The Learning Disability Nurse In West Yorkshire Liaison And Diversion
  • West Yorkshire RECONNECT Launch-Leeds Hilton Feb 2024 Neurodiversity presentation

Future Developments

A very exciting development moving forward is my new project which l am developing a Web-Based Online Safety Education Tool for adult service users in the criminal justice system with a learning disability and/or autism looking at:

  • What Is Cyber Crime
  • Fraud-being Safe Online
  • Online Grooming
  • Online Sexual Exploitation Of Children
  • Online Sexual Exploitation Of Adults
  • Radicalisation
  • Criminal Gangs-online
  • Inappropriate Online Contact
  • Downloading Illegal Images Of Children
  • Cyberbullying
  • Online Content Sharing
  • Chatrooms
  • Gaming Online
  • Social Media

Once completed, the website can be accessed by service users and anyone else. I will offer to support service users through the website who have been referred to L&D for online-related offences.

I envisage the website being utilised by any services or anyone, such as:

  • Community learning disability teams
  • Social workers
  • Families/carers of service users
  • Anyone who may find the website useful

Who is supporting?

  • Service Users with a diagnosis
  • West Yorkshire Forensic Outreach Liaison Service (Learning Disability & Autism)
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Speech And Language Therapists
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Prevent/Counter Terrorism Unit-West Yorkshire Police
  • OCAIT Specialist-West Yorkshire Police Online Investigations Team
  • Cybercrime Division-West Yorkshire Police

The project has been awarded funding by NHS England and I am in the process of putting the website together, keep an eye on our social media channels for further updates!

Mick Lambert RNLD
Mental health Practitioner & Learning Disability Nurse
West Yorkshire Liaison and Diversion