Archive for March, 2011

March 29, 2011

Who runs the police?

The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, Nick Herbert, gave a major speech to the Institute for Public Policy Reform on the role of the future Police and Crime Commissioners.  They will be important new budget holders in future and so we need to understand how they will work and exactly what their role will be.  This is set out in detail in Nick’s speech below.  The goals of the changes are to address the ‘democratic deficit in policing’, to improve performance and accountability.  Judge for yourself whether you think the proposals will achieve this….

Who runs the police? · Media Centre · Nick Herbert.

March 29, 2011

Update on Legal Aid – more news likely today

From the iLegal (not illegal….) blog last night I read that there will be more news on legal aid today.  Fingers crossed for better news.  So where it says tomorrow, read it as today!

There will be a press briefing tomorrow at 1.30pm and the Government will then issue a public statement at 3.30pm
Earlier today, the signals were that this statement was most likely going to focus on three areas:

  • concessions from Ken Clarke QC on civil legal aid, most especially a softening of the MoJ position in Family by extending the definition of domestic violence or, dropping the offending reform proposal entirely
  • a possible rethink on the abolition of legal aid for medical negligence cases
  • a suggestion that Clarke was likely to offer something to MPs across the political spectrum who have been lobbying the MoJ over the closure of CABx, law centres and other advice agencies

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March 28, 2011

Continuing Professional Development – New Steps for our sector

Some of you who know me well will have listened to me talk wistfully about a CPD programme for our sector.  The feedback we get from practitioners who attend our foundation training for IDVAs is really positive- but until now we have not had a way of building on this and developing the skills and practice of our sector still further.  UNTIL NOW!!  I am really proud to announce our new CPD programme which was launched earlier this month with a specialist module on safeguarding children living with domestic abuse, accredited with the University of Bath.

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March 21, 2011

Pressure prompts review of ‘domestic violence’ legal aid definition | The Law Gazette

5000 responses!  The Ministry of Justice received over 5,000 responses to the legal aid consultation!  As a result the response from the MOJ will now be delayed until after Easter and is likely to include a review of the definition of domestic violence.  Click on the link to read more:

Pressure prompts review of ‘domestic violence’ legal aid definition | The Law Gazette.

March 16, 2011

Testosterone vs Oestrogen

I went to a very special reception at 10 Downing Street today to celebrate International Women’s Day.  The Prime Minister started his address with a reflection about which was more challenging – the testosterone of PM’s questions, or the combined oestrogen of the women assembled there!  None of us tried to answer!  It was a fascinating group of pretty amazing women (yes, I did wonder how I got an invitation) from business, the law, charities, the arts, sport, armed forces and media.
The PM went on to talk about the three P’s which were as follows:

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March 16, 2011

My favourite quote

Warren Buffets’ 2010 shareholder report:

‘Charlie and I believe that those entrusted with handling the funds of others should establish performance goals at the onset of their stewardship. Lacking such standards, managements are tempted to shoot the arrow of performance and then paint the bull’s-eye around wherever it lands.’

It says it all!  As charities we handle the funds of others – public sector agencies do too (in rather larger amounts!).  Our goal for the next five years is to work with others to halve the number of high risk victims of abuse from 100,000 to 50,000 and the time it takes them to get help from 5 years to 2.5 years.  So we have said it- let’s hope we can paint a bull’s eye around those goals – something worth striving for.

March 16, 2011

Stalking Awareness Week 11-18 April

Coming soon is Stalking Awareness Week in which some of charities working in this area will draw attention to their belief that the law needs to be tightened in relation to stalking.  There has recently been an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calling for recognition of stalking (as opposed to harassment) being a specific offence and that more needs to be done to combat cyber-stalking.  It would be interesting to get your views on how seriously stalking is taken by agencies, especially the police, in your area and how effective you feel the Protection from Harassment Act is- certainly it is being used far more widely than was the case just a few years ago.

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March 9, 2011


At the National MARAC Steering Group today we had feedback from a sample of about 50 MARACs about referring cases involving ‘honour’ based violence to MARAC.  In about half of cases this was done systematically, and in half it was done selectively.  Less than 5% of MARACs did not refer HBV cases to the meeting.  Our advice does make a distinction between different types of cases involving “honour” based violence. 

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March 8, 2011

A glimpse at community safety….

Last week I was very privileged to be invited to speak to a group of community safety officers and local authority and police leaders. The Home Office published a ‘New Approach to Fighting Crime’ and the Home Secretary led the conference, supported  by Nick Herbert, Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice and James Brokenshire Minister for Crime Prevention. I was asked to speak on the role that the voluntary sector can play in working in partnership with statutory agencies.

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March 2, 2011

A cut out and keep guide to judicial review

Hopefully our sector won’t have to resort to judicial reviews to address the current funding cuts but just in case….

A cut out and keep guide to judicial review « UK Human Rights Blog.