Following a Government consultation in 2012, Getting it Right for Victims and Witnesses, in 2013 the Ministry of Justice confirmed the introduction of a mixed model of national and local commissioning of referral and support services for victims.
The Ministry of Justice Commissioning Framework was published in May 2013 and was based on the outcomes of supporting victims to:
(a) cope with the immediate impacts of crime
(b) recover from the harm experienced
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed that a number of specialist services would continue to be funded and delivered on a national basis. Governance and management of all these services will be retained by the MoJ nationally. MoJ have proposed that PCCs will have an interest in these in relation to how they fit with local services and that therefore information on these services will be provided to PCCs where this would be helpful in developing local services:
- Victims of trafficking;
- Those bereaved through homicide (albeit after 2010);
- Victims of rape – Rape Support Centres;
- Witnesses at Court;
- Some National Helplines;
- Some services for victims of Sexual and Domestic Violence.
Code of Practice for Victims of Crime
Victims' Services Funding 2014/15
In terms of core grant, a total sum of £478,000 was issued to commission and/or provide victims’ support services (including Restorative Justice) for Merseyside for 2014/15. This sum reflected the decision by Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to maintain funding to Victim Support until March 2015 (for both the referral mechanism and delivery of support services).
From October 2014, PCCs took responsibility for commissioning some local services for victims. As a priority, the Commissioner focussed on the local services that had received funding from the MoJ, but was withdrawn in October 2014.
The 2014/15 grant provided PCCs with cover to spend in relation to the commissioning and provision of:
(1) services for victims of crime and particularly victims in the priority categories outlined in the Victims’ Code: victims of the most serious crime, persistently targeted victims, and vulnerable or intimidated victims, to help them cope with the immediate impacts of crime and, as far as possible, recover from the harm they have experienced;
(2) support services for family members (as defined in Article 2 (b) of the Victims’ Directive);
(3) any associated costs that arise in the process of commissioning/provision of victims’ services.
Find out about the services that were commissioned here.
In addition to the core grant, PCC’s received notification (on 7th April 2014) that they could bid into a Competed Fund. PCCs were given the opportunity to bid for further funding to support priority categories of victims of crime (as defined in the Victims’ Code) to help them cope with the immediate impacts of crime and, as far as possible, recover from the harm they have experienced. Bids covering specialist and/or innovative approaches to service provision are encouraged.
Victim Services Funding 2015/16
In April 2015, the PCC received a grant of £1.547m to commission both victims services and the referral mechanism/s.
The MoJ also issued Victims Services Grant Agreement, which set out the finalised conditions under which PCCs were issued their grants.
A sum of £497,000 was also rolled over from 2014/15 to support preparations for local commissioning, including capability and capacity building. A programme of research was commissioned, which sought to to map victims’ services, provide a victim profile and develop a pan- Merseyside 'needs assessment', which informed all the Commissioner's decisions for 2014/15.
Find out more about this programme of research here.
The Commissioner took the decision to use this funding to launch Victim Care Merseyside - a new package of care and support for vulnerable people across the region. You can find out more about this service here
The service is designed to give victims the best possible help to cope and recover from the after effects of crime and ensure victims get enhanced support from the first moment they report a crime to Merseyside Police right through to greater emotional support and increased counselling and therapeutic services.
Included within the new Victim Care Merseyside package is a new victims’ referral system delivered by Merseyside Police which will ensure people affected by crime are directed straight to the best placed teams to support them and increase the number of face-to-face visits, while also reducing duplication and costs.
It also includes six key new support services providing additional care to some of the most vulnerable; and a dedicated new victims’ website Victim Care Merseyside.
Find out more about Victim Care Merseyside.
Victim Services' funding 2016/17
In April 2016, the PCC received a grant of £1.644m to commission both victims services and the referral mechanism/s. This grant was issued under the Victims Services Grant Agreement, released by the MoJ in 2015 which set out the finalised conditions under which PCCs were issued their grants.
The PCC took the decision to use this funding to run Victim Care Merseyside for the second year. Find out more here.
Victim Services' funding 2017/18
In April 2017, the PCC received a grant of £1.638m to commission both victims services and the referral mechanism/s. This grant was again issued under the Victims Services Grant Agreement, released by the MoJ in 2015 which set out the finalised conditions under which PCCs were issued their grants.
The PCC took the decision to use this funding to renew her Victim Care Merseyside service for the third year. Find out more here.
A proportion of the Victim Services Grant can be spent on capacity and capability building and commissioning victim initiated Restorative Justice services.
The grant agreement states that RJ provision must be victim led.
(1) account must be taken of guidance issued by the Restorative Justice Council
(2) potential and actual providers must demonstrate that victims who choose to participate in restorative justice processes will have access to safe and competent restorative justice services (in accordance with Article 12 of the Directive).
A programme of work was undertaken to develop commissioning arrangements for RJ. This involved an exercise to map out the current use of RJ in Merseyside and a review of the research literature in relation to both victim outcomes and the impact upon re-offending. Options for extending the use of RJ were compiled and considered by the CSP Commissioning Advisory Board and Merseyside CSP.
As a result, since July 2015 the PCC has commissioned a service raise awareness of restorative justice and increase its use in the region.
Find out more about this service and how Restorative Justice works and its benefits here.