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Structured Deferred Sentence (SDS)

Last updated: 27th June 2024


A structured deferred sentence is a flexible intervention providing structured social work support for individuals post-conviction but prior to sentencing. They can be used for people who have offended with underlying issues that might be addressed through social work and/or multi-agency intervention. At the end of the period of intervention, the court retains the discretion to pass sentence in any manner that would have been appropriate at the time of conviction, but with the benefit of information from the supervising officer in relation to the period of deferral.

Further Information:

Structured Deferred Sentence is provided by the Whole Systems Approach (WSA) team in conjunction with a range of partner services. The team is a centralised team of social work staff with specialist training and experience of working with young people involved in conflict with the law. The team work in partnership with a range of third sector services including Action for Children, Includem and Regen:FX to provide individually tailored support to young people. In accordance with ‘The Promise,’ any young person under the age of 16 years will be considered for remittal to the children’ hearing for disposal and will continue to receive intensive support. Action for Children (AFC), Regen:FX and Includem work in partnership with the Whole System Approach (WSA) team to deliver additional support. This can include assistance in areas relating to employability and learning opportunities, support with mental health and emotional management and support to develop strategies to reduce harmful behaviours.. Young people will be offered support from a range of services that will form part of a working group to help the young person take forward a plan that they agree will best meet their needs.