Posts tagged ‘police and crime commissioners’

July 22, 2012

Leading Lights Lunch – 2

About six months ago, we held the first working lunch for the managers of the Leading Lights accredited IDVA services.  It was an experiment based on your feedback, that it would be a good idea to bring service managers together, to share their experiences, hear about each other’s plans, and feed in to shaping CAADA’s plans.  I wrote at the time about how energising and uplifting it was to be in the same room with a group of such committed and competent people.  Everyone agreed that we had all benefited from the time together and that we should meet again in 6 months.

So this week, we had LL2 – the sequel….and it was as good, if not better than LL1.  There were four official things on the agenda – an update from CAADA (including an introduction to our new Director of Services, Christine Christie), contributions from two of the managers present, and an outside speaker to give us all a better picture of how the Police and Crime Commissioners will work in practice.  There were lots of contributions from all who attended.

Christine focused mainly on the launch of the revised MARAC programme (see my last post for more on this) and I talked a bit about some of the policy work that we are involved with.  I also mentioned our National Dataset report which will be launched in the autumn, and will include information from the Insights data that we collect.  We are really hopeful that this will have some strong policy and practice messages which will be relevant to practitioners, managers, and of course commissioners.  We also discussed the new Ofsted consultation about multi agency inspections of Safeguarding arrangements, which includes a proposal that the MARAC should be inspected.  I will write more about this in a future post, but suffice to say that in combination with the Domestic Homicide Reviews, we believe that this represents a helpful and important lever to help ensure that the quality of MARAC work is as high as possible.

Becky Rogerson, Director of My Sister’s Place in Middlesbrough ( ) gave us a fascinating presentation about her trip around North, Central and South America as part of her research as a Winston Churchill fellow.  You can read the whole report here  Personally, my ability to take in the whole thing was slightly hampered by my jealousy at having such a great opportunity!  It was really interesting to hear about the differences in approach both between individual States, the role of the IDVA (or equivalent), the availability of perpetrator work and the simply the amount of resource in the US compared to the UK.  We have a way to go.  Conversely of course, central and south America highlighted a complete lack of resource in every sense and quite different relationships with the police and courts.  Absence of electricity, cars and perhaps most importantly trust, acted as a big barrier to getting help.  However, Becky did highlight the strength of more grass roots women’s initiatives which perhaps we have lost in some ways.

Caitlyn McCarthy, who manages learning and development at the Worth Project in West Sussex talked about the important work that she has led in relation to two projects.  The first is the 2020 Think Tank (see ) which has been a two year project to set the vision, strategy and action plan for domestic and sexual violence services for West Sussex.  Caitlyn talked about the time it had taken to get everyone’s buy in to the importance of setting a common set of goals and objectives – but by now there are literally hundreds of signatories for all agencies across the county and the project has uncovered both new approaches, and the existence of more resources to support victims of both forms of abuse – both adults and children.  It was instructive since so many of us are struggling to get domestic abuse given the importance it warrants in local strategies.

Caitlyn also talked about the new questions we have been working on to use with mothers to establish any additional needs of their children which some of her colleagues have been piloting.  The aim of this is to be used across disciplines (DV, mental health, substance misuse) as an early identification tool to highlight children at risk of harm.  The reality is that asking these questions is time consuming and practitioners need to be very clear about who the support agencies are in their area to whom they can make referrals for the children before starting.  However, the feedback overall was that almost all the mothers in the initial small sample welcomed being asked and felt that it cemented their relationship with their IDVA, as well as identifying a group of children who were getting no support and who needed it.  We hope to pilot this formally but would like to make sure we capture the information in a robust way – so just need time to think that bit through.

Finally, Linda Pizani-Williams from CLINKS came and spoke about the role of the Police and Crime Commissioners.  They will obviously be very important for all of us going forward and she set out clearly the extent of their remit and gave resources which you can find at

So a real mixture of inputs.  I think I am fair in saying that just as valuable as the formal parts of the meeting, are the informal ones and the networking between everyone.  To all of you, especially our speakers and those of you how crossed half the country to be there, thank you.