The Victims and Witnesses Consultation – ‘Getting it Right’

I attended (most) of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Victims and Witnesses yesterday where the new consultation ‘Getting it Right’ was debated.  This is a very important consultation for our sector.   The main point of contention was the use of local commissioning for victim services, in particular Violence against Women services.   There was some eloquent input from Javed Khan, CEO of Victim Support and Sheila Coates, from Rape Crisis, both of whom argued strongly that there should be national direction for the commissioning of services for victims with local implementation. They argued that the current system works well and should not be amended.  To be fair, the Minister, Crispin Blunt, confirmed that services related to homicide would be commissioned nationally, most other victim services would be commissioned locally and that the consultation document did not specify where violence against women services should sit–suggesting that there is an opportunity to influence this.

Given the focus on localism, the advent of police and crime commissioners, and in the wake of the new social value bill which puts the responsibility of local authorities to consider social value (let’s call it social impact) when commissioning, it seems that an element local commissioning is something that we are very unlikely to avoid.

It would be great to share ideas about how local commissioning can be made to work well and examples of good practice that we can showcase, as well as debating the merits of national commissioning.   If you can send over your experience from your area, it would be much appreciated. Thanks for your help.

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