The Scrutiny Support Officer presented a report to outline the purpose of the meeting which was for the Panel to address information presented by representatives of the Safer Middlesbrough Partnership (SMP) and explore the issues associated with the function, performance and accountability of the Partnership. The Panel had a statutory duty to meet with representatives of the SMP and the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CRDP) annually to receive an update on the past year.
The SMP was established approximately nine years ago and since its formation there had been many references to how well the Partnership was working and the impact on crime levels in Middlesbrough that agencies had had during that period. The Panel had previously been informed that generally crime levels in Middlesbrough were continually declining.
The Partnership had recently been reviewed and there had been some changes in the structure. The Community Safety Manager and the Team Leader for Public Health were present at the meeting to update the Panel on pending service and management reviews as well as the future arrangements for the new Community Safety Partnership (CSP) and its functions.
The Health and Wellbeing Board had been split into four aims. The old SMP had been under Aim 3 - Public Health Delivery Partnership, since public health became the Councils responsibility on 1 April 2013. Aim 3 would continue with the drug and alcohol early intervention and prevention and treatment programmes would remain under Public Health. Crime and disorder, domestic violence, reducing re-offending, hate crime and wider community issues would now sit under Aim 1 - Wellbeing In Middlesbrough Partnership (WIMP).
The Middlesbrough Community Safety Partnership (CSP) replaced the SMP. There was a statutory duty for local authorities to work with the Police and other partners to reduce and address crime and disorder in their areas. The CSP was made up of representatives from the Responsible Authorities, which were: Police, Local Authorities, Fire and Rescue Authorities, Probation and Health. The CSP function would contribute to Aim 1 - Tackling the Social Causes of Poor Health, and would report to the WIMP, which formed the function of the old Responsible Authorities Group (RAG).
As part of the Councils review, the CSP function and workload would transfer to the Supporting Communities Department. Various CSP areas were currently being picked up by the Public Health Support Team, until such time that they could fully transfer across.
Richard Horniman had been appointed Assistant Director of Supporting Communities. Supporting Communities would include the 0-19 Service, Middlesbrough Environment City (MEC), Libraries and Archives, Community Regeneration, Community Safety, Community Safety Partnership and Homelessness and Advice Services. The Panel was shown a copy of the proposed structure. Consultation on the new structure was due to close on 27 November 2014. The focus of the new department would be on early intervention and preventative measures with the aim of reducing the cost of the social care budget.
In future all CSP statutory responsible authorities would come under the WIMP. WIMP was the decision making body that would replace the old Responsible Authority Group (RAG). The existing RAG and Joint Commissioning Group (JAG) would be faded out. The WIMP would establish a Multi-Agency Crime Working Group to ensure that statutory functions were fulfilled. This Group would formulate, implement, monitor and review a strategy for the reduction of crime and disorder in Middlesbrough; lead on producing and continuously updating the crime topic in in the JSNA, report regularly to the WIMP; and review existing Community Safety Partnership working groups, including Joint Action Groups, to ensure they were fit for purpose.
Drugs and alcohol early intervention and prevention and treatment programmes were now the responsibility of the Public Health Delivery Partnership (Aim 3). It was highlighted that consideration needed to be given to who would Chair this group, its lead officer and its membership. There needed to be overlap with the Public Health Delivery Partnership to ensure joint planning across both systems.
Details of the crime statistics comparing 2012/2013 with the previous year and the first six months of 2013 were included in the presentation. In 2012/2013 there was a 10% reduction in crime overall from the previous year. In the first six months of 2013/2014 crime had been reduced by 2.8%. A copy of the Tees Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, (JSNA), published in January 2014, contained further statistical information and had been circulated to all Panel Members. Information relating to specific Wards was available, however it was a year behind and the Police had more up to date information available.
Panel Members were updated on the key areas of progress of the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) during 2013/2014 which were as follows:
- New Drug and Alcohol Treatment Model rolled out in October 2013.
- Development of Middlesbrough Crime Retail Partnership.
- Achievement of Local Alcohol Action Area (LAAA) status.
- Roll out of local Restorative Justice Programme.
- Reviewed Problem Solving Groups (now Joint Action Groups) and implemented recommendations of the Review.
- Progress on Domestic Violence (considered by the Panel as a separate topic).
In response to a query, it was acknowledged that the re-organisation of the department and consequent loss of staff would have an impact on the Councils work. It was emphasised that the focus had to be on early intervention and addressing families' needs to prevent issues escalating. There had to be a holistic approach to families as a whole, looking at all their issues and working in partnership with other agencies to help address them.
Concern was raised in relation to Mischief Night and diversionary actions taken to combat anti-social behaviour which included taking a group of young people to Blackpool on that evening. Unfortunately anti-social behaviour as well as gang nuisance was increasing.
It was highlighted that the Police provided a report on crime at Community Councils; however this was specific to the area and did not include information on Middlesbrough as a whole. The Community Safety Manager explained that although there were three JAGs based on the major priority areas which were Clairville, Gresham and North Ormesby, this did not mean that issues, for example in Hemlington, were not being discussed. It was suggested that regular feedback from the JAGs could be provided to Councillors via email to inform them of what was happening in their wards.
AGREED as follows:
1. the information provided was received and noted.
2. a further update on the Community Safety Partnership would be provided at a future Panel meeting.