Harmful Practices training of front line practitioners

Reference code: 
PCD 224
Date signed: 
25 July 2017
Authorisation name: 
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Policing and Crime

Executive summary

MOPAC will be building on the success of the two year Harmful Practices pilot by funding training and awareness raising of front line practitioners. Training was a key success of the two year pilot and in partnership with London Councils; MOPAC will be using Victims Funding to roll out Harmful Practices training (covering Female Genital Mutilation, so called Honour Based Violence, Forced Marriage, and Faith Based Abuse) for front line practitioners.


That the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime approve that the Victims Fund allocated to take forward the learning from the MOPAC Harmful Practices pilot is targeted at training of front line practitioners.

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

1.    Introduction and background

1.1.    The two year MOPAC Harmful Practices (HP) pilot ended on the 31 March 2017. The pilot aimed to improve the way agencies identify and respond to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), so called Honour Based Violence (HBV), Forced Marriage (FM), and Faith Based Abuse (FBA), with a focus on early identification and prevention, safeguarding and support, and community engagement. The pilot was delivered by the Partnership to End Harmful Practices (PEHP, a consortium of seven women’s organisations) in Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

1.2.    A process evaluation of the pilot undertaken by the MOPAC Evidence and Insight Team found that the training element was widely recognised as the key success of the pilot. During the course of the pilot, the 74 training courses that were delivered were received well by attendees in terms of quality, content, and improving practitioner knowledge around harmful practices. Respondents to an evaluation survey felt the training had improved their ability to identify and respond to harmful practices, and often highlighted examples or plans to share learning with colleagues back in their respective workplaces. 

1.3.    In his Police and Crime Plan, the Mayor committed to ‘increase the training available for those who may come into contact with potential victims of these [harmful] practices…’ Consequently in the “Integrated Victim and Witness Services Resource Plan 2017-2020” which was approved by the Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime on the 7 April 2017, it was highlighted that Victims Funding would be utilised to support successful prevention initiatives such as the training element of the HP pilot. A total of £200,000 has been allocated from the three year Victims Fund budget to support this training element.  

2.    Issues for consideration

2.1    In moving forward, MOPAC had two key considerations:

  • Recognition that HP is a specialist area of work which would be best delivered by providers working in the Violence against Women and Girls arena. The MOPAC Evidence and Insight process evaluation found that the PEHP partners had a wealth of knowledge including language skills and cultural understanding and this added value was welcomed by statutory front line workers; and that,
  •  A commitment to work in partnership with and add value to regional or sub regional activities; rather than commissioning programmes in isolation. 

2.2     In the final quarter of the MOPAC HP pilot, MOPAC were asked to support the evaluation of applications submitted to London Councils for their three year Violence against Women and Girls Grant Programme. As part of their grants programme, London Councils have prioritised programmes that ‘specifically target services for those affected by harmful practices.’ One of the successful applications was for a Harmful Practice project which had multiple delivery strands including a training and awareness raising element. MOPAC Evidence and Insight colleagues working on the process evaluation of the HP pilot had already indicated that the training element of the two year pilot was widely considered to be a key success of the two year programme. Therefore, in order to take forward the learning from the evaluation, MOPAC proposed to London Councils that the MOPAC Victims Funding could add value to the London Councils funded HP project. This would ensure a wider reach, guaranteeing that universal and targeted training could reach more front line practitioners and other key partners. 

2.3    Planning for how the MOPAC funding will be utilised by the specialist service provider commissioned by London Councils to deliver their HP programme is still in the process of consideration. As part of their grants programme, London Councils had agreed that a key funding criteria for successful applicants was to take into account the learning from the MOPAC HP pilot. This will be a critical point of negotiation between MOPAC, London Councils and the delivery partners to ensure that we build on the success of the MOPAC pilot. It is anticipated that MOPAC will require the delivery partners to ensure that the training element:

  • Is clearly linked to the wider HP offer. This will ensure that trainees are aware of sources of advice and support when and should they require this; 

  • Is not just focused on increasing awareness of HP, but provides clear information on the roles of individual agencies in supporting victims;

  • Is rooted in the context of safeguarding, child protection and the wider Violence Against Women and Girls agenda;

  • Is tailored to the needs of the front line practitioners. Consideration will need to be given to the delivery of universal and targeted training and whether particular front line workers would benefit from a bespoke offer;

  • Gives consideration as to how trainees will be able to translate the learning into practice in their respective organisations; and finally

  • Is particularly targeted at those front line professionals and practitioners who are able to embed and cascade learning in their respective organisations. 

3.    Financial Comments

3.1    A total of £200,000 has been identified from the three year MOPAC Victims Fund budget to take forward the HP training of front line practitioners. The Integrated Victim and Witness Services Resource Plan 2017-2020 which was signed by the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in April 2017, indicated that HP would be priority focus. It also specifically stated that MOPAC would “enable professionals to be upskilled with the awareness and knowledge to recognise and respond to instances of harmful practices.”

3.2     The funding requirement for 2017/18 is £100,000 and the remaining is planned for spend in future years to 2019/20. The scheme will be funded from agreed corporate resources and have been captured in MOPAC’s financial plans.  

4.    Legal Comments

4.1    MOPAC’s general powers are set out in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (the 2011 Act). Section 3(6) of the 2011 Act provides that MOPAC must “secure the maintenance of the metropolitan police service and secure that the metropolitan police service is efficient and effective.” Under Schedule 3, paragraph 7 MOPAC has wide incidental powers to “do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the exercise of the functions of the Office.” Paragraph 7(2) (a) provides that this includes entering into contracts and other agreements.

4.2    Section 143 (1) (b) of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides an express power for MOPAC, as a local policing body, to provide or commission services “intended by the local policing body to help victims or witnesses of, or other persons affected by, offences and anti-social behaviour.” Section 143(3) specifically allows MOPAC to make grants in connection with such arrangements and any grant may be made subject to any conditions that MOPAC thinks appropriate. 
4.3    The powers in section 143 were given to MOPAC following the Government’s response to the consultation Getting it Right for Victims and Witnesses (2 July 2012) in which it set out a package of reforms to the way in which support services for victims of crime are to be provided.

4.4    The recommendations in this decision are in line with the legislation.

4.5    Under MOPAC’s Scheme of Delegation, approval of the strategy for the award of individual grants and the award of all individual grants (for crime reduction or other purposes) is a matter generally reserved to the DMPC (paragraph 4.8). The release of funding in accordance with the proposals set out in this decision form is accordingly to be approved by the DMPC.  The delegation of responsibility for the finalisation of planning and contractual/grant arrangements, including relevant terms and the signing of agreements, to the Chief Executive Officer for activities to the value of £499,000 or less, is in accordance with the general power of delegation in section 5

5.    Equality Comments

5.1.1    The new Police and Crime Plan is based on two clear principles:
•    Victims First – putting victims at the heart of everything we do. 
•    Reducing inequalities in communities – a focus on setting an agreed standard and addressing the disparities we see across the city. 
5.1.2    In order to address the inequalities that exist in London, MOPAC has three targeted priorities directed at those people who are disproportionately affected by crime. The priorities aim to provide specialised services that safeguard the most vulnerable in society and reduce evident existing inequalities. These priorities are reflected in MOPAC’s victims’ commissioning plans over the next three years. They are:
•    Keeping Children and Young People Safe 
•    Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls 
•    Standing together against extremism, hatred and intolerance 

5.2    The context in which HP take place is complex, set against a backdrop of power, control and constructs of gender, where (actual or perceived) family love can mask abuse by multiple perpetrators and ‘normalise’ violent practices. Studies consistently point to a lack of professional awareness of harmful practices, compounded by inadequate training provision. Practitioners often have low confidence when engaging with affected individuals or communities, and are reluctant to intervene due to fear of being perceived as culturally insensitive. Furthermore, the response to HP and the support available for those experiencing them is piecemeal, with limited strategic coordination and integration into wider safeguarding and Violence against Women and Girls services. Specialist Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women’s organisations have been identified as an important factor both for immediate safety and a wider sense of empowerment.

6.    Background/supporting papers


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