Safer future communities
Managed by Clinks, a registered charity no. 1074546
NEW: Clinks and NAVCA, funded by the Ministry of Justice, are working together to enable innovative approaches to local partnership working in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) by providing eight small grants of £1,500. The focus of these grants is to bring together statutory sector with providers from the Voluntary and Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector and other stakeholders to jointly address local issues. We have a particular interest in activities that tackle inequality and/or discrimination in the CJS.
The Ministry of Justice has announced that all offenders who enter prison, even for just a few days, will be subject to 12 months' supervision upon release and will be given vital support into housing, employment, training and substance abuse programmes. Clinks has welcomed the extension of support to all prison leavers, but Clinks Director Clive Martin warns,
"This week's announcements are high level proposals and they do not contain the details that we need to see before we can be sure that this is a real opportunity for the Sector... The Sector will really need to be on our guard to ensure a fair price for a decent service, and in the interests of society we need to ensure that the reduced resources end up where they should be – in service delivery and not in creating a new and expensive bureaucracy."
Clinks are working with New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) to support voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations working in criminal justice to help improve capacity to undertake and/or commission research and evaluation and to understand the impact they have in reducing reoffending. They have launched a new survey on
- what VCS organisations working in criminal justice are currently doing on research and evaluation;
- the issues on which Criminal Justice VCS organisations would like support; and
- the type of support needed
The Local Government Chronicle has published an opinion piece (registration required) about a conversation with one local PCC: "The conversation was all about joined-up solutions to community safety and criminal justice issues. There were promises about specifics backed up by a vision that we had to break through public sector silos to make a real change."
Police and Crime Commissioners
The election of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) took place throughout England (except London, where the Mayor already holds equivalent powers) and Wales on Thursday 15 November.
16 Conservative candidates were elected, along with 13 Labour candidates and 11 Independents. They replace the former Police Authorities. The Home Office has published the full results and statements from the new PCCs.
A live post-election discussion on the Guardian website discussed Where now for PCCs?
The Electoral Reform Society has published a report on last November's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections which finds that 90% of people still don't know who theirs is. Please share this link to the full election results as widely as possible. A news release was published on 19 March.
PCCs' work covers specific police and crime issues, and the Home Office's wider community safety agenda around anti-social behaviour, re-offending, substance misuse, violence against women and girls and youth crime. This makes it vital that VCS organisations explain how their work can help Commissioners achieve their community safety aims and objectives.
The Home Office Police and Crime Commissioners webpage has further information on the government's PCCs policy initiative; there is also a short video explaining the role of Police and Crime Commissioners, and details of secondary legislation relating to Police and Crime Commissioners, including provisions around publishing information and transparency.
PCCs determine the entire budget for policing, crime prevention and community safety in their areas and also set the policing precept element of local council tax. BBC News reports that some two-thirds of PCCs are seeking to increase the precept significantly by up to 7%.
To enhance PCCs' local accountability, their work is scrutinised by Police and Crime Panels made up of not fewer than 10 elected councillors (at least one from each constituent local authority), plus at least 2 and a maximum of 24 co-opted members, subject to the Home Secretary’s agreement.
The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) was commissioned to provide an 'umbrella body' for elected PCCs and all policing governance bodies in England and Wales. Their website includes guidance for PCCs on Equalities, Diversity and Human Rights. In addition to the APCC website, there is an APCC facebook page.
Safer Future Communities
Many Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations deliver local services that address a wide range of Community Safety issues. It is essential that their local knowledge, experience and expertise in identifying and meeting the needs of diverse, vulnerable and marginalised groups and individuals is available to inform the PCCs' local community safety priorities and the services needed to address them.
The Guardian has published an article by Clinks' Director Clive Martin arguing for the importance of the VCS being "at the centre of the PCC conversation."
The Safer Future Communities (SFC) project supported the VCS involved in community safety to adapt to the replacement of Police Authorities with PCCs.
VCS networks, co-ordinated by NAVCA member organisations, were developed in each police force area, to provide voice and influence for the sector and to liaise with PCCs. These help identify local priorities on community safety and how the VCS seeks to address these.
SFC supported these networks to develop new skills in marketing the work of the VCS: its engagement with and understanding of local communities and their needs, in addition to the services they offer. This includes liaising with PCCs and other key partners and commissioners with whom the VCS needs to develop constructive working relationships.
In particular, SFC encouraged the involvement of organisations working to address:
- crime and re-offending
- antisocial behaviour
- substance misuse
- violence against women and girls
- youth crime
Details of VCS network contacts for your local area can be found on the clinks website.
SFC published a leaflet outlining the VCS' offer to PCCs entitled How the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector can help reduce crime and keep communities safe.
Read the latest SFC newsletter here (opens in new window).
Jessica Mullen, Project Coordinator for Safer Future Communities, spoke exclusively to The Information Daily about how the partnership, led by Clinks, worked in the development and delivery of community safety.
Clinks created an online learning platform to enable Safer Future Commuities networks and members to access free e-learning courses. The courses were designed to offer "bite-sized" information and support with the flexibility to be completed from office or home, without the need to travel or give up a whole day to attend training courses. Each course was designed to meet the needs of local VCS organisations working in community safety and criminal justice.
Clinks has now published the evaluation report on the Safer Future Communites project.
A film about the project is also available to watch online, presenting the business case for the community safety needs of those the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) works with and represents, the services the VCS provides to address these needs and the role of infrastructure organisations and SFC networks in supporting the VCS. For further information on the film, contact Jessica Mullen at Clinks.
The current funding for Safer Future Communities came to an end on 31 March 2013.
NAVCA continues to provide some limited support through our core policy and local development work. The national partner organisations are also currently in discussions about how the partnership relations that have been established as part of this project might be maintained with or without further funding.
Meanwhile the local SFC networks are building on the foundations laid in 2012-13.
We have recently heard the good news that as a result of information provided to PCCs about existing Home Office funding to their areas, two local networks have been told that the PCC is likely to continue funding them, at least for an interim period.
The extent of the information that was provided to PCCs by the Home Office does, however, seem unclear and appear to be a bit confusing. We have asked the Home Office for details of this but have been unable to obtain it. In some areas it seems that PCCs have simply been told the sum total of their Community Safety Fund budget; in others, where they have asked the Home Office for further details, they seem to have a breakdown of funding to existing projects for the current financial year. However there are some questions about the accuracy of these breakdowns and the activity they cover. We advise networks to discuss this with PCCs and their staff.
On 5 December 2012, Graham opened a parliamentary debate, asserting that
"We need our police commissioners to hammer home the two key principles of modern policing: partnership and prevention. Those two principles come together in early intervention...
"The new police commissioners could be the midwives of a cultural change in policing from late intervention to early and pre-emptive intervention. The police will always have the task of reacting to crime, but sustained crime prevention and reduction requires a strategy that unites the police with all the other agencies, whether public, private, third sector or business, that can help tackle the behaviours and lifestyles that breed antisocial behaviour and crime."
SFC network leads are ideally placed to ensure that PCCs are aware of local voluntary and community groups working to address the causes of local crime and antisocial behaviour, as well as those working with their consequences, and to make the case that investment in early intervention can save much greater expenditure in the future.
- Safer Future Communities project
- Criminal Justice Alliance
- Electoral Commission
- Home Office - general
- Home Office - candidates
- National Council for Youth Services
Clinks' annual survey of the effects of the economic downturn on voluntary and community organisations working with offenders, ex-offenders, their families or victims of crime is now available online. The results are published in reports and widely distributed to those working in the Criminal Justice System.
This project is co-ordinated by Clinks and run in partnership with Women's Resource Centre, Drugscope, National Council of Voluntary Youth Services, National Association of Voluntary and Community Action, and Wales Council for of Voluntary Action. It is funded by the Home Office's Community Safety Unit.
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