David Smith's secondment to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner comes to an end in January. In this article he gives an update on his work and reflects on a very successful year.
As the secondment comes towards its end on 21 January 2015, I think we can all look back with some satisfaction at the success of the work undertaken to follow up on the development of the Safer Communities Network back in 2012 / 13. The work was shortlisted for a Compact Award and although we didn’t win the award itself, the work has been recognised by Compact Voice, Clinks, NCVO and the Cabinet Office. It is now written up as a case study on the Compact Voice website. http://www.compactvoice.org.uk/resources/case-studies/developing-cross-sector-partnerships-police-and-crime-commissioners. I’d like to acknowledge and thank everybody who has contributed, but especially mention members of the Advisory Group, Trish Holder, Head of Delivery at the OPCC, the PCC himself Mark Burns-Williamson who has taken a close personal interest in the work, Chris Hollins the Chair of Voluntary Action Leeds and its Chief Officer Richard Jackson. The conference which is to take place in Bradford on Tuesday 3 February 2015 will hopefully provide a fitting conclusion to this phase of development.
Work on Police and Crime Plan Priorities
Domestic abuse, sexual violence and CSE
The advisor has continued to play a significant (and time consuming!) role in the commissioning of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre. He has also represented the OPCC in the discussions with the NHS about the child sexual assault assessment service (CSAAS) previously referred to as the “Paediatric SARC”. The advisor has supported the OPCC’s Head of Delivery in commissioning the West Yorkshire ISVA service. In particular he led on the Equality Impact Assessment and the organisation of a briefing for those interested in submitting proposals. The advisor has also supported the W Yorks CSE Strategy Group and W Yorks Directors of Children’s Services in submitting a proposal to the PCC’s innovation fund. It has been agreed that partnership engagement with the third sector should be a key element of this work moving forward. The advisor attended the November meeting of the CSP Forums Domestic Violence Sub Group. It is chaired by Cllr Maureen Cummings (Wakefield MDC). The group is considering how to make best use of the funding the PCC has made available. Nicola Hughes is undertaking the mapping of independent domestic violence advisor (IDVA) services.
Drugs and Alcohol Services
The Advisor organised a workshop at which the sector was well represented. Following the workshop Nicola Hughes was commissioned to refine the action plans developed at it. Follow up action is the responsibility primarily of the Community Safety Partnerships and West Yorks Police. A performance framework for CSPs will be used for quarterly monitoring by the OPCC. Progress is being reported to the W Yorks Directors of Public Health – the PCC had a second meeting with them in September 2014.
The advisor is working with Duncan Cooper. He is a public health registrar on placement with Wakefield’s Director of Public Health. As part of this arrangement he spends one day a week with the OPCC. He has reviewed current mental health initiatives in the criminal justice system and reported his findings to the Partnership Executive Group. Along with CSE, this has been identified as a possible priority for the PCC’s innovation fund.
Services for Victims and Witnesses
The advisor supports the programme of preparatory grants allocated earlier this year. He is organising a further meeting for the 16 projects funded, which will take place in December. He is also supporting the Head of Delivery in drawing up the format for the final evaluation report. A list of the 16 projects is available on request. The Help for Victims website was launched on 24 October. A report on restorative justice in W Yorks has been finalised. The vast majority of other projects will be complete by April 2015. The development of victim’s hubs in districts is especially noteworthy. It is important to note that the MoJ has awarded the contract for support services for victims to Citizen’s Advice at national level, from April 2015. Currently the work is done by Victim Support. The funding for other services provided by Victim Support is delegated to PCCs from April 2015. Discussion is underway with other police force areas; the West Yorks PCC wishes to build on the good work done by Victim Support and retain a the strengths of a regional approach as far as possible, so the discussion includes other police force areas.
Community engagement and user voice The adviser continues to liaise with the OPCC Community Engagement team and attended the last presentation of SCF grants – the themed round on Equality and Diversity. He continues to undertake some direct engagement work with BME and LGBT communities.
The advisor is representing the OPCC with the WI-FI (West Yorks Finding Independence) Big Lottery funded programme. He now attends the stakeholder group meetings, and will participate in the event organised for Friday 5 December. He arranged for the WI-FI Programme Manager to attend the PEG Innovation Sub Group. The advisor is maintaining contact with the Community Rehabilitation Company. He attended its staff conference in September with the PCC. The MoJ announced recently that the preferred bidder for West Yorks is Purple Futures. This is a consortium led by Interserve, with third sector members including P3, Addaction, 3SC and Shelter. Their website is http://purplefutures.sites.interserve.com/ The implications of this development for West Yorkshire are not yet clear. The advisor attended the launch (by Rt Hon Chris Grayling) of the regional re-settlement consortia aiming to reduce youth offending. This took place on Monday 10 November. The West Yorkshire consortia is at an early stage of development, led by the Leeds Youth Offending Service. The St Giles Trust, a national third sector organisation with a presence in Leeds, plays a key role nationally.
The advisor takes a lead policy role in the OPCC for Business Crime. This has involved liaising with the Sheffield-based Business Crime Reduction Centre, and with local business against crime partnerships which exist in Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield. BCRC is funded through EU structural funds till April 2015 to provide crime prevention advice, training and support to SMEs. As SMEs third sector organisations can access these services if they wish to do so.
Work at district level
The advisor has sought to strengthen links with West Yorks support and development organisations, third sector networks and also third sector members of main Community Safety Partnership Boards. He has attended meetings of the Safer Leeds Executive and the Kirklees Safer Stronger Communities Executive. Third sector members of West Yorks CSPs now receive all papers for the advisory group and have an open invitation to attend. Regular contact is maintained with VAL (Leeds), CNET (Bradford), NOVA (Wakefield), NBF (Calderdale), and VAK (Kirklees). The advisor led the organisation of the West Yorks Safer Communities Summit organised by VAL. A full report of this event is available on request. Bradford CVS hosts the Young Lives network which receives a Victims Services Preparatory Grant. The advisor has supported the development of a third sector led Crime Reduction Network in Leeds. This has attracted strong support from the Police District Commander, Chief Supt Paul Money, which is very encouraging for future development. It was launched on 3 October; and there will be a follow up meeting in December. The Advisor has also provided specific support to NOVA; and attended meetings of CNET’s Safer Communities Network in Bradford.