Venue: Committee Room 3 - 3rd Floor - Civic Centre. View directions
Contact: Deb Breedon 01902 551250 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies were received on behalf of Cllr Barry Findlay
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest
The minutes of the previous meeting (14.07.2015) were agreed and signed as a correct record
There were no matters arising
Reducing Gang Harm Strategy
[To provide a presentation relating to the consultation outcomes and invite comments from the panel]
Superintendent Keith Frazer provide a presentation ‘Committed to preventing gang related harm and youth violence, Together: 2016-19.
The Superintendent celebrated the success of the strategy to date in Wolverhampton and outlined key achievements. He indicated that without a strategy in place and excellent partnership working arrangements the reduction of recorded offences, many targeted interventions and development of a community reference group would not have been possible.
The Superintendent presented three case studies:
• Managing the on-going risks
• The changing face of ‘gangs’
• Prevention to harm
In each case study the Superintendent outlined the issues and explained how the measures in place and partners were working together.
The Superintendent identified eleven key challenges associated with gang culture and individuals affected by gangs. He referred to better partnership work and how this is improving the prevention of gang related harm and youth violence in the City.
The Superintendent outlined the four ‘P’s’ as follows:
He summarised each of the points highlighting that in order to prevent there is a need to protect the community against gangs, fear of crime and gang crimes; a need to identify and enforce against those in gang related activity and a need to identify instances and take early action.
The superintendent identified the objectives of the strategic vision and activities that are key to moving from reducing to preventing.
The Superintendent outlined the strategy consultation process and invited the Councillors to participate in the consultation process.
There followed a period of questions relating to the presentation.
Cllr Bishan Dass referred to the crime reduction figures provided in the presentation and asked if, in addition to guns and knives, a record of other weapons was kept. The superintendent indicated that pointed objects were recorded in the knives category.
In response to a question about risks to women, girls and other elderly people living on their own, the Superintendent informed the Panel that this highlighted the ‘fear of crime’. He explained that there may be a high degree of fear of crime for women girls and elderly people but that they are not likely to be the most likely to be directly affected by gang related activity, they are actually the least likely to be affected.
Cllr Ian Claymore asked questions relating to the membership of the community refernece group and about young people with mental health issues getting involved in gang activities. In response the Superintendent confirmed that the community reference group are a non-statutory community based group from the locality who report to the local prevention team. He advised that they are able to deal with the lower level activity using intervention measures, he clarified that they are not told what to do but do have a link into statutory bodies. In relation to youth mental health issues, he advised that currently a number of the Parliamentary committees are looking at youth and mental health provision and that there is some evidence to suggest those young people ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
The Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy
[To provide a presentation relating to the consultation outcomes and invite comments from the panel]
Kathy Cole-Evans, Manager, Domestic Violence Forum provided a presentation ‘Violence against women & girls (VAWG) strategy 2016-19’. She explained that the name acknowledges the gendered nature of VAWG but that it can be both male and female victims and perpetrators and it addresses additional barriers to help seeking as follows:
· Domestic violence (DV)
· Female genital mutilation (FGM)
· Forced marriage
· Honour based violence
· Sexual violence
She advised that awareness raising events have taken place, including a successful event to look at preventing domestic homicide. All of the additional barriers will be addressed in the new strategy and a series of case reviews will be available in March 2016 and could be shared with the Scrutiny Panel. The VAWG strategy 2012-15 is having impact; 46 actions completed including mainstreaming of specialist roles, improved processes and protocols and awareness raising; there has been increased reporting in the City, DV reporting up 60% (940 incidents) in Wolverhampton alone.
In relation to FGM there are no reported cases to police however health organisations are required to report cases which should give an indication of the scale of the problem in Wolverhampton.
The DV Manager advised that the VAWG strategy 2016-19 outlined objectives, outcomes and principles. She clarified that the objectives will lead to the reduction of incidents of violence and to the increased reporting of offences.
The DV Manager outlined the consultation process and highlighted that the 12 week consultation period was an opportunity for the Scrutiny Panel to contribute, either collectively or individually. She advised that the consultation primarily is through electronic questionnaire via a web-link, due to resources; that existing networks, boards and mechanisms were being utilised to cascade information and that some had made a pledge to the new strategy.
The DV Manager confirmed that there is a need to consult with the public, get them on board and to help them understand the law according to the issues. She highlighted the need to work with front line services and ensure they are on-line and aware; the need for schools to report out of the ordinary absences, children who go missing and behaviour change in young females following unexplained absences; GPs to be aware of older females with evidence of FGM as it is more likely for this to run in families and to try to identify communities and bring the community up to speed on issues.
Cllr Paula Brookfield cautioned when identifying communities there is a need to be careful. The panel considered the problems of not tackling some of the intelligence issues and communication and links between schools and health. They considered that in the City, as partners we may know where the problems maybe but there is more to do to raise the general public’s awareness through poster campaigns and education, even though there may be cost implications, without it people will not get to know about it.
The DV manager advised that there is funding available some public and some voluntary contribution. She asked the ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
(a) Perspectives - Youth Council
(b) Targeted Youth Support - Youth Offending Team
[The paper provides an opportunity for Youth Council to raise concerns about youth safety and to consider targeted youth support arrangements]
Youth Council members Emma Curran and Emerson Palmer were in attendance at the meeting to ask four questions relating to youth Crime from the Youth Council:
1. We believe that a lot of crime goes unreported. Young people need to feel comfortable to report crimes that they have been victims of crime
2. What support is available to young people who have been victims of crime and how is this information being shared with them?
3. What crimes classify as "anti-social behaviour" and how can we reduce the negative stigma surrounding young people who gather on the streets, making everyone feel safer and improving relationships between young people and communities?
4. What can be done to avoid criminalising young people and delete victimising?
Karen Samuels, Head of Community Safety provided an overview of the report she advised that the report writer Sally Nash, Head of Youth Offending Team (YOT) had responded to the questions in the report that had been circulated with the agenda. The report focus is on the implications of the Youth Justice Plan and the contribution made by the Youth Offending Team to community safety and how that can be supported. She invited Superintendent Keith Frazer in his role of the Chair of the YOT to contribute to Councillors questions.
The Head of Community Safety advised that under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, each Local Authority Area is required to have in place Youth Offending Team (YOT) arrangements. Central government provides a grant to support Local Justice Services via the Youth Justice Board (YJB). A condition of the grant (£581,100) is the preparation of the Youth Justice (YJ) Plan which highlights performance and key priorities for the future for the area. Karen Samuels highlighted that targeted work helps to avoid victimising all young people.
The Superintendent advised that in terms of the fear of crime (FOC) as a police officer there is often a mismatch of FOC and actual crime. He suggested that there are routes where young people can become victims of crime and that work is on-going to raise awareness; currently working with ‘HeadStart’ to raise awareness of young people ‘Sexting’ taking images of themselves to share with others.
Superintendent Keith Frazer responded to further questions from the Youth Council to underline and emphasize what work is being done. Operation Nexus is about targeting activities for young people which have been really successful, work relating to cyber bullying and work with focus on families.
The Youth Council highlighted that there is a lot more drug related crime and contraband alcohol than is known about by authorities. The Superintendent identified that there are some unscrupulous shop keepers and that prevention aspects and education of young people was paramount.
Ros Jervis, Service Director Health and Wellbeing advised the scrutiny panel how agencies had worked together to counter issues with alcohol, tobacco, drug use and counterfeit goods in an area before the summer. This way ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
[To carry out pre-decision scrutiny on the future of adult short breaks services and Oxley Plus day service.]
Kathy Roper, Commissioning Team Manager provided a paper to outline the process and outcomes of consultation that has been undertaken about the future options for:
· Support Plus day service currently delivered from a number of sites across the City including Oxley Day Centre
· Pathways to work service at Bushbury woodcraft centre in Steele Drive
· Adult Short breaks services delivered from two sites in the City
The Commissioning Team Manager highlighted that the consultation around Oxley Day Centre had been positive with service users and their families recognising the proposal focus on better use of resource and integration for their sons and daughters.
In relation to Ernest Bold and Swan Bank short break provision feedback from family carers relating to the consultation is again positive, as long as the quality of service is not compromised. She advised there was some underlying concerns about change.
Cllr Rita Potter voiced concerns that the clients had different needs and asked for reassurance that they would get the individual care they require. The Commissioning Team Manager assured panel that the staff will be well versed and trained in supporting them. Staff comments from the consultation were also positive better outcomes for more people whilst contributing to the Councils savings by achieving value for money. She advised that alternative use was being discussed by the corporate landlord and the landlord for Swan Bank.
In response to an issue raised by Cllr Lynne Moran the Commissioning Team Manager clarified that there had been a printing error and contrary to the newspaper report there would be no staff losses from the proposed changes; a further article would be run to confirm this.
Cllr Patricia Patten asked for further information about use of the GEM Centre in Brickkiln Lane for overnight stays and was advised that the consultation had shown that families were not keen on the option. She asked if the new premises would be run on a basis where it could respond to family emergencies and was advised that should an emergency occur other families had indicated that they would be happy to change to facilitate the emergency.
Cllr Bishan Dass welcomed the report and indicated that he supported independent living.
1. That the All Age Disability In House Provider decommissions the service at Oxley Day Centre and provides the services across the city in community venues which will improve outcomes for individuals.
2. That the All Age Disability service decant from the Oxley site including Oxley Moor House.
3. That the sites are declared surplus by the People Directorate and approximated to the Corporate Landlord to manage as surplus assets and deal with the progression of their future use / disposal.
4. That the All Age Disability In House Provider Service relinquishes its lease with Corporate Landlord for the use of the Pathways to work Site in Steele Drive, Bushbury.
5. That the All Age Disability in-house providers merge the service provision for adult short breaks from the Ernest Bold and Swan Bank sites. ... view the full minutes text for item 8.