The West Yorkshire Liaison and Diversion (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 3 years since it was first introduced. It continues to be adapted and developed to meet the needs of our service users, many of whom have benefitted from being referred into it. We have made a significant number of referrals to the appropriate diagnostic services and without L&D’s intervention, they may have remained unsupported and undiagnosed.

We have also supported other vulnerable individuals to be diverted away from imminent custodial sentences and into the appropriate services that can support their holistic needs with a view to also reduce the risk of further offending behaviours.

Over the last 3 years of the pathway, there has been an increase in referrals from other services such as community nurses, social care, Forensic Outreach services, probation, solicitors and other related healthcare, social care and criminal justice-related services and, through the development of the pathway, we have been able to draw these services together to support our vulnerable service users through the difficult and distressing journey through the criminal justice system (CJS).

  • A Neurodiversity Audio training video has been developed for West Yorkshire Police to assist their first response and front line officers when attending calls that may involve someone who may have a neurodiverse condition.
  • The West Yorkshire L&D service has had access to a Learning disability & autism resource to which a third resource has been added focussing on other Neurodiverse conditions. These resources have a number of sections covering such topics as:
    -Guides for staff
    -Government and health strategies
    -Local support services
    -Referral documents
    -Further information on the West Yorkshire L&D pathways for staff
  •  Learning disability and Autism pathway lead, Mick, identified a gap in mandatory training in respect to learning disabilities, autism and other neurodiverse conditions. West Yorkshire L&D service wide training is therefore being delivered on Neurodiversity covering such topics including Learning Disability, Autism, Learning Difficulties, ADHD and Brain Injury.

West Yorkshire L&D’s Mental health Practitioner & Learning Disability Nurse, Mick is involved in a new project 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 and inequalities faced by those with neurodiverse conditions, including learning disability and autism as part of their Learning Disabilities Challenge Campaign. Learn more about the campaign here:  Our Learning Disabilities Challenge :: West Yorkshire Health & Care Partnership (

Mick is looking to raise awareness and improve communications in relation to criminal justice which will look to improve links between services and improve the experience of vulnerable service users.

This is a huge project which, as well as increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes for our service users, will also increase the profile of the West Yorkshire Liaison and Diversion Service and hopefully enhance collaborative working practices to benefit all our service users.

The last few years has seen the development and launch of SOLDA-CJS. This is a website West Yorkshire L&D’s Mental health Practitioner & Learning Disability Nurse, Mick, has been involved in developing with Coventry University and a wealth of other criminal justice and healthcare professionals across the country which looks at supporting individuals with a learning disability, autism and other neurodiverse conditions who are unable to navigate themselves without support through the machinations of the criminal justice system.

This website is directed at criminal justice professionals who may well support or come into contact with neurodiverse individuals with a view to increasing their own understanding and knowledge base so they can best support these vulnerable clients at all stages in the criminal justice process.

The website has a number of case studies and life stories of three service users with neurodiverse conditions who have been let down in the past by health and criminal justice services, and with input from a wide variety of other professionals from the CJS and healthcare sector, it looks to advise on how the mistakes made could have been avoided and also to identify how services have began to improve, including the positive difference the Liaison and Diversion Service can make for vulnerable service users within the criminal justice system.

The website also has a wealth of resources and links to websites, guides, legislation and so forth that can be utilised by healthcare, social care and CJS professionals. Our aim is to continue to develop this website to meet the needs of those using it and we will continue to add information, links and guidance so we can build up a huge reliable resource moving forward.

Click the below image to visit the SOLDA-CJS website.

SOLDA CJS in large blue capitals. Support for Offenders with Learning Disability and/or Autism in the Criminal Justice System written below in smaller blue text. Two blue intertwining S to the left.