Evaluation of the Whole System Approach to Young People Who Offend in Scotland

Published: 2015

Murray, K., McGuinness, P., Burman, M. and McVie, S. (2015) ‘Evaluation of the Whole System Approach to Young People Who Offend in Scotland’. SCCJR Research Report 7/2015. Edinburgh: SCCJR


The Scottish Government’s Whole System Approach for Children and Young People who Offend (WSA) aims to prevent unnecessary use of custody and secure accommodation wherever possible, through the availability and use of services; and to seek opportunities to engage such young people, by putting in place a more streamlined and consistent response that works across all systems and agencies (a ‘whole system’ approach) to achieve better outcomes for young people and their communities.

This evaluation, commissioned by the Scottish Government, examines the operation of the WSA in three Scottish local authorities. It combines scrutiny of WSA policy documentation and guidance notes, with a set of 33 qualitative interviews with WSA practitioners and stakeholders, observations of WSA meetings in each case study area, and quantitative analysis of relevant management data.