More haste, less speed? An Evaluation of Fast Track policies to tackle persistent offending Scotland

Published: 2007

Hil, M., Walker, M., Moodie, K., Wallace, B., Khan, F., McIvor, G. and Kendrick, A., (2007), More haste, less speed? An evaluation of fast track policies to tackle persistent youth offending in Scotland. Youth Justice Vol 7, No. 2, pp. 121-138.


In 2003 the Scottish Executive introduced a new `Fast Track’ policy on a pilot basis, which was intended to speed up the processing of persistent youth offending cases and reduce rates of persistent offending. Additional resources were provided to promote access to dedicated programmes, as well as quicker assessment, report delivery and decision making. This paper, based on a multi-stranded comparative evaluation, describes how the policy was welcomed by a wide range of practitioners, decision makers and managers involved with children’s hearings who mostly thought it was a positive innovation consistent with the hearing system’s commitment to a welfare-based approach. `Fast Track’ cases were handled more quickly than others. After two years, however, the policy was discontinued, largely because of negative evidence about re-offending.