VRU Work Programme: Community

Reference code: 
PCD 673
Date signed: 
11 December 2019
Authorisation name: 
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Policing and Crime

Executive summary

Keeping Londoners safe is a top Mayoral priority and the newly established Violence Reduction Unit was established to adopt a public health approach towards tackling violence in the capital. 

The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has a budget of £14.8 million which includes £7 million awarded by the Home Office for 2019/20. The 15 projects described below will be allocated £2.4m of the overall budget in line with VRU objectives. 

The 15 projects are closely linked to community-based projects including specific projects for young people, youth practitioners, support to communities and Local Authorities in response to critical incidents; as well as other pilot community and parent group programmes. Annex 1 details the proposals and funding profiles of the programmes. 

Recommendation

The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime is recommended to: 
-    In line with the VRU Strategy and work programme, approve the award of £1.8m in 2019/20 and £0.6m in 2020/21 of direct grants and uplifts of existing arrangements to selected organisations for the delivery of a community-based programme of work as described in this report. 
-    Approve allocation of £0.6m in 2019/20 and £0.7m in 2020/21 towards a competitive grant process for delivery of community-based programmes and, following this process, delegate to the Director of the Violence Reduction Unit finalisation of grants and contracts. 
-    Approve authority for a single tender process for a low-value piece of expert research referred to in 4.3.

Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)

1.    Introduction and background

1.1.    The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) was created in September 2018 by the Mayor of London. The strategic aims of the VRU are:
•    To stabilise and reduce violence 
•    To increase feelings of safety 
•    To place community at the heart of our work – only by doing so do we have a sustainable long-term approach towards reducing violence.

1.2.    Adopting the contextual framework and aligning that with the journey of a child our work programme encompasses the following core objectives:

•    Supporting individuals to be more resilient  
•    Supporting stronger families 
•    Young people leading change
•    Enabling communities to be strong, safe and resilient
•    Prioritising wellbeing and achievement in schools
•    Giving young people every chance to succeed
•    Making London a more compassionate and safer city
•    Increasing confidence in public institutions and changing the message around violence

1.3.    The VRU will take a public health approach to tackling violence, which means looking at violence not as isolated incidents or solely a police enforcement problem. Instead, this approach looks at violence as a preventable consequence of a range of factors, such as adverse early-life experiences, or harmful social or community experiences and influences. This decision specifically relates to the VRU’s work in relation to communities. 

2.    Issues for consideration

2.1.    The  VRU has a budget of £14.8 million which includes £7 million awarded by the Home Office for 2019/20.

2.2.    The Home Office sent confirmation of award of funding of £7m in August 2019, with the grant agreement being signed September 2019. The Home Office funding is to be spent on activity delivered in 2019/20 only and is subject to quarterly grant returns.

2.3.        The VRU has developed 15 schemes, which are closely linked to community-based projects including specific projects for young people, youth practitioners, support to communities and Local Authorities in response to critical incidents; as well as other pilot community and parent group programmes. Annex 1 details the proposals; a brief summary of each proposal is below:

1)    Community-based crisis intervention: Grant to Camden Local Authority to support existing work in relation to crisis intervention and community support following an incident of serious violence. 

2)    Provision of a community and voluntary sector-led programme of work on leadership.

3)    Knife Crime Community Seed Fund: extension to existing contract to fund all selected programmes.

4)     Expansion of seed funding programme to enable other grassroots organisations to bid for funding and be part of the existing seed funding network.

5)    Allocation of budget to enable local authorities to access and request a grant of up to £5k following a critical incident involving violence.

6)    Building on existing pan-London gang exit provision, the VRU will enable the current provider to review how services can support violence interruption and tension reduction.

7)    A toolkit was developed on responding in the aftermath of a serious violent incident. A community safety partnerships version will now be developed following feedback received from stakeholders.

8)    Parenting support: Development and delivery of a new or scaled-up model of community-based parenting support by borough(s)/localities identified by the VRU in partnership community organisations, with outcomes focussed on the broader social risk factors for violence.

9)    Google-funded Social Switch project: Enhancing the three core delivery areas: training for frontline professionals; training, mentoring and work placements for young people; and a grant programme to support organisations and individuals to support community engagement.

10)    Youth workers: Development of a leadership programme which supports and encourages talented youth professionals to develop their career paths and to support the next generation of youth sector leaders.

11)    After school provision: The VRU previously allocated £800k to expand and promote after‐school provision, especially activity for young people during the times of 4‐7pm on weekdays.  A further £400k will be allocated towards this. 

12)     Funding will be provided to local authorities to undertake risk management surveys of local authority premises in order to mitigate the risks around violence, within a community safety arena.

13)    Research: to fund the evaluation of the current sports programmes within a London Borough to evidence the impact of sports programmes on violence and identify and assess key indicators to improve and magnify the local effect of sport interventions focused on tackling violent crime in the capital.
14)    Research: To explore attitudes towards the sharing of personal data for crime prevention, among Londoners most at-risk of being victims and/or perpetrators of violent crime; this work will be undertaken by the GLA Intelligence team.

15)    Whole School Approach: The VRU had previously requested approval to award £395k to Tender to deliver the whole school approach in 10 boroughs. Inclusive Schools will target 13 boroughs, requiring an additional allocation of £65k. 

3.    Financial Comments

3.1.    Annex 1 details the schemes and funding profiles of the proposed programmes.  Funding for the schemes in 2019/20 is set aside within the VRU budget.

3.2.    Several of the programmes require extension into 2020/21 and future years to ensure the programme delivers impact and can be evaluated effectively. The financial implications of this will be dealt with through the 2020/21 budget process, but in the interim will be underpinned by MOPAC reserves pending the availability of other funding sources.

4.    Legal Comments

4.1.    MOPAC has powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (formerly under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011) to award grants to secure the reduction of crime and disorder in London. 

4.2.    Paragraph 4.8 of the MOPAC’s Scheme of Consent and Delegation provides the DMPC with delegated power to

•    approve bids for grant funding made and all offers made of grant funding; and/or where appropriate a strategy for grant-giving. 

•    The strategy for the award of individual grants and/ or the award of all individual grants whether to secure or contribute to securing crime reduction in London or for other purposes. 

4.3    Within the decisions, there is a single tender authority which we are seeking for project number 13. This relates to an evaluation of sport programme interventions to help tackle violent crime across the capital; assessing their effectiveness. This would be supplied by Loughborough University due to the unique expertise in this area of research and evaluation; being the only university to operate in this field, led by an international leading professor. Authority is therefore sought for a single tender process for this low-value piece of expert research.  

5.    Commercial Issues 

5.1.    The approach for Phase 2 of the VRU total spend includes a combination of awarding direct grants and enhancing existing grant arrangements which support the public health approach to violence reduction. This enables delivery of activity in line with Home Office spend conditions, where spend and delivery of activity must take place by March 2020. It is also proposed to allocate £1.1m via a competitive grants process. Where it has been possible, we have completed the grant agreements to remain within the parameters of a transparent and effective procurement process. 

5.2.    This approach will also allow the VRU to begin effecting change at a rapid pace and further build the evidence base to enable continuous improvement of the VRU approach. 

6.    Public Health Approach 

6.1.    The spend plan takes a public health approach to tackling violence, which means looking at violence not as isolated incidents or solely a police enforcement problem. Instead, this approach looks at violence as a preventable consequence of a range of factors, such as adverse early-life experiences, or harmful social or community experiences and influences.

7.    GDPR and Data Privacy 

7.1.    A full Data Protection Impact Assessment will be completed by all providers if required as part of the mobilisation for the services, to ensure that all delivery is fully compliant with the requirements of the GDPR.

7.2.    All contracts and grant agreements will include clear provisions relating to compliance in this area, and in relation to the processing of personal data. These terms have been drafted following consultation with MOPAC’s GDPR Project Manager.

8.    Equality Comments

8.1.    Under s149 of the Equality Act 2010 (the Equality Act), as a public authority the Deputy Mayor/MOPAC must have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and any conduct that is prohibited by or under this Act; and to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. Protected characteristics under the Equality Act are age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and marriage or civil partnership status (the duty in respect of this last characteristic is to eliminate unlawful discrimination only).

8.2.    The Violence Reduction Unit has commissioned an Equality Impact Assessment which will be published in due course; and reflect our work programme. Regarding the specific programmes included within this proposal, initial screening has assessed that there is neutral impact on a cohort of individuals included or not included in the programmes. 

9.    Background/supporting papers

9.1.    Annexe 1. 


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