You may have noticed that this blog has moved from its traditional place on the Community Safety CoP to our new home on the Knowledge Hub – and the CoP itself will be following suit by the end of March. The KHub, as it’s known, offers a whole new functionality designed to get people communicating with each other rather than the messageboard/library set up of the old CoP. Watch this space for more details.
So February was another busy month for the team, starting with our Adult Safeguarding and Community Safety event in York, which saw 80 delegates from across the country come together to participate in our innovative actor-led sessions, with the aim of demonstrating the similarities between Adult Safeguarding and Community Safety – in particular, in terms of the people we deal with and the importance of data sharing.
Dominating the agenda at the moment is the transition to Police and Crime Commissioners, and this month we’ve worked with groups of CSPs on the ground in Hampshire, Devon & Cornwall, Staffordshire and Cumbria, as well as attending a number of the Home Office Roadshows and dealing with queries from all around the country. It’s really interesting to compare how places around England are preparing differently, and working together to overcome some of the challenges laid down by the Act, particularly around establishing the Panel.
We now have a dedicated Panel Hotline open (020 7664 3241) and will shortly be producing some advice on establishing proportional panels. On the policy side, we’ve been working with ACPO and HMIC about elements of the transition programme to PCCs, and also working with Cambridgeshire Police Authority and NOMS about guidance for PCCs on commissioning.
We have established a Knowledge Hub site for those involved with establishing Panels – if you’re responsible in your area, get in touch and we’ll sign you up. Recentlywe’ve been providing updates on discussions with Home Office officials around the establishment of police and crime panels on the new Police and Crime Panel group established on the LGA’s Knowledge Hub to help those involved in setting up police and crime panels.
Perhaps most exciting of all for us is the announcement of the LGA’s intention to create PaCCA – the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Association. This will be a membership body for all PCCs, and enable them to have a single voice in communication with the Government, as well as being provided with support and improvement services from officers here at the LGA.
We’ve been supporting the Home Office Ending Gang and Serious Youth Violence programme, by running accreditation centres for peers, assisting with recruitment of secondees to the programme, and attending their Expert Group, Programme Board and Senior Official’s Group. This is a fascinating programme and I think we can achieve a lot in terms of helping partnerships progress in this work. We have agreed to provide 29 Community Safety Peers to the HO’s programme of reviews.
Other partnership work includes meeting with the NPIA to talk about how the LGA could raise awareness amongst councils of their Employer Supported Policing programme, which is designed to both encourage people to serve as special constables and ensure they are better supported by their employers if they do. We also accompanied LGA councillors to their meeting with Lord Henley about metal theft, which discussed the proposals from Central Bedfordshire to allow councils to introduce their own tougher licensing arrangements for scrap metal dealers provided a suitable bill was available to allow for this power to be introduced.
Only one conference this month – Mark spoke alongside Baroness Newlove at a conference on anti-social behaviour about what the community ASB trigger might mean, and outlining what we expect the forthcoming Anti-Social Behaviour White Paper to look like. The White Paper itself which was due out last month will provide the formal response to the ASB consultation the Home Office conducted at the start of last year. We are anticipating that the main proposals set out in the consultation will be confirmed in the White Paper and the bill needed to make the legislative changes will be included in the new Queen’s Speech in May.
Vicki’s been working hard on DV this month, working with the Home Office’s Violence Against Women & Girls (VAWG) Strategy team to influence the government’s revised and forthcoming VAWG action plan, and working with Davina James-Hanman, Director of Against Violence & Abuse (AVA) on the web resources she is developing on the commissioning of VAWG services – see the CoP for further details of an event with commissioners 14th March to further inform these resources. Vicki also met with Anthony Wills, Chief Executive of Standing Together Against Domestic Violence, to discuss how the LGA on behalf of local government can be involved in Standing Together’s peer review/consultancy work programme with domestic violence and VAWG partnerships in the next financial year.
Given our move from CoP to KHub, it seems sensible to make sure that any new groups we create are on the new system. Our new Prevent KHub site, developed with the Tavistock Institute, is currently being developed, and we’ll send notifications about that transfer – and the CoP one – in due course.
Finally, I noted in a previous blog how we were looking for new Community Safety Peers. We have accreditation centres in Manchester (27/28 March) and Birmingham (18/19 April) open to any experienced local government officer – if you’re interested, let us know.