Allan was born and raised in Saltcoats, Ayrshire in Scotland. He began offending at the age of 12 and subsequently spent more than a decade steeped in an offending lifestyle. This culminated in years of detention in various penal institutions across the country. After returning to school at the age of 31 and obtaining Higher qualifications, he attended the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow gaining his Diploma and BA in Social Work. He has been employed by North Ayrshire Council as a Criminal Justice Social Worker for over 20 years and has been a Team Manager for the past 16, during which time he completed his MSc in Criminal Justice and obtained a Practice Award in Advanced Criminal Justice Studies. He is also a qualified Practice Teacher and has supported a number of students through their placements. His autobiography ‘So You Think You Know Me?’ was published in 2008 by Waterside Press and he played the narrator and protagonist in the film ‘The Road From Crime’ produced in 2012. Allan has spoken at various public events, sharing his experience of desistance to inform the developing dialogues surrounding desistance focused policy and practice as well as developing innovative practices to support desistance in practice.