Victim Support is being broken up as the Government passes the money to provide victim services to Police and Crime Commissioners.
At the Police and Crime Panel meeting last week I was shocked to read in the papers that the Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Hogg, is looking to move money away from the well established Victim Support Service. I sought clarification from the Police and Crime Commissioner and it seems he only anticipates Victim Support continuing to run the Court Witness Service for Devon and Cornwall.
I had involvement with Victim Support, back in the 80’s as it was developing Nationally. It is an organisation that has grown in response to victims needs and is heavily dependent on trained volunteers, many of whom have been victims of crime.
When I got home I did some research and found that the implications of Police and Crime Commisioner’s taking responsibility for victim services had passed me, and I suspect the media, by.
Last December the Government made announcements of how money for Victims Services would go to Police and Crime Commissioners to allocate rather than direct to Victim Support. More details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/local-commissioning-of-victims-services.
The response to this from the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall is to set up a bidding process for organisations. Victim Support is not excluded, but my conversation at the panel meeting suggested they will struggle to continue as they are today as the National Organisation is being broken up, in favour of local provision.
The office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has set out the bidding process and details can be found at http://www.devonandcornwall-pcc.gov.uk/News-and-Events/News-Archive/2014/Tony-Hogg-invites-groups-to-join-in-the-future-of-victim-services.aspx.
I will make some other enquiries as I have not had direct involvement with the Service for many years and not at all here in Cornwall. I just felt so sad that a voluntary organisation is being broken up like Health and Probation but I fear that unlike those statutory bodies, they may have no defense as they are there to do what it says on the tin, support victims of crime, and I suspect may not be so well geared up to ‘bid writing’ and competing for funds.