Posted: Wednesday 8th July 2015
Back in March I explained a little about what commissioning actually is and set out all the services we have commissioned to support victims of crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) across Avon and Somerset. At that point we were waiting for many of the services to go live on the 1st April. Now we have had nearly three months of the services being operational, to support and compliment Lighthouse which went live on the 1st October.
As many of you will be aware Sue aims to spend one day a week ‘out and about’ visiting projects, communities and individuals to hear about their good work and taking feedback and questions. At the end of last month, Sue dedicated a day to visiting all these victim services. As such we thought you might be interested to hear how things are going?
Well I am pleased to say that, while it is still very early days, the initial signs are very promising. Many of the services are supporting a very significant number of victims and cases and delivering a fantastic service to those individuals. We have received a number of complimentary letters and also read some case studies that really demonstrate the positive impact that the services are having. Visiting the services really brought home how complex many of the cases are that the services – and individual staff members and volunteers – are supporting.
The letters and case studies also highlight other really important factors in supporting victims and providing them with an excellent service – generally all the kind of things that we were told were important in the consultation period prior to commissioning the services. The care and positive attitude of staff and volunteers, the quality and tone of the interaction, keeping people informed and providing a face to face service for those with enhanced needs. It is great to see that this is being delivered in so many cases.
For all the positive progress and good news stories it is important that we continue to strive to do even better and identify areas for improvement. Working with other criminal justice agencies to resolve wider issues in the system is a high priority. Managing demand, whether that be due to in an increase in reporting (which we absolutely want to see for crimes such as domestic abuse) or due to reductions in funding is another big challenge - working to prevent crime and ASB in the first place is therefore crucial.
Please let us know if you hear any feedback from victims and individuals about any of the services – good or bad - both we and the providers of the services themselves are all very keen to hear it. We bring together all of the services on a quarterly basis for a ‘victims provider forum’ to discuss progress and issues/challenges. So far there has been a very positive tone to those meetings, even when discussing challenges, so I know feedback would be well received.
Don’t forget you can find out more about all the services on the dedicated victims commissioning section of our PCC website.
Finally I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in the process so far – the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner team, members of the Constabulary and also staff from partner organisations. The expertise that everyone has brought to the table and been prepared to share and contribute has been hugely important in helping us get to where we are.
Head of Commissioning and Partnerships
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner