Venue: Committee Room 2 Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Jess Bayley
Apologies and named substitutes
To receive apologies for absence and details of any Councillor (or co-optee substitute) nominated to attend this meeting in place of a member of the Committee.
Apologies were received from on behalf of Councillor Anita Clayton.
Apologies for absence were also received from Commander Phil Griffiths (Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue) and Inspector Ian Joseph (West Mercia Police)
Declarations of Interest and of Party Whip
To invite Councillors to declare any interest they may have in items on the Agenda and any Party Whip.
There were no declarations of interest or any party whip.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Panel that took place on the 7th September as a correct record.
the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 7th September 2010 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
To interview a representative of
Worcestershire PCT regarding the possible introduction of a sexual
assault referral centre (SARC) in the West Mercia Police Force area.
The Panel welcomed Liz Altay and Rachael Cox from Worcestershire PCT to respond to five questions that had been drawn up earlier by the Panel on the possible introduction of a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in the West Mercia Police Force:
1) What is your provision at the moment for victims of sexual violence?
Worcestershire PCT Officers informed the Panel that the Worcestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (WRASAC) had been established to provide advice and support to women in Worcestershire who had suffered from sexual violence. The WRASAC was described as a charity funded service set up by NHS Worcestershire PCT and based in a confidential location in Worcester. Although the offices were not manned 24 hours a day, a 24 hour support hotline had been installed. This was seen as particularly useful for users living away from Worcester, e.g. Redditch. It was understood that approximately 180 women in Redditch had eventually received face-to-face support through the WRASAC.
A pledge to establish ‘clear and agreed care pathways’ equivalent to those of a SARC for victims of all ages of sexual violence had been signed by four NHS PCTs, including Shropshire County; Herefordshire; Worcestershire; and Telford & Wrekin, in partnership with West Mercia Police. The pledge appeared within a Certificate of Stakeholder Agreement, a document that principally set out to establish consensus amongst the relevant PCTs and West Mercia Police to deliver improved health and criminal justice outcomes for victims of sexual violence within the West Mercia Police area.
Work was being undertaken to strengthen the pathway to service entry to the WRASAC which had been identified as requiring strengthening.
2) What funding could you provide to support a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in the West Mercia area?
The Panel was informed that no funding had been earmarked by the four PCTs within the West Mercia Police area to support the establishment of a SARC. It was understood that funding would not be forthcoming until, at the very least, a detailed business plan was drawn up explaining how the establishment of a SARC would save money in the medium-long term. The emphasis had been placed on developing a bottom-up approach building on what current provision of care for victims of sexual violence already existed.
All relevant PCTs had however signed the Certificate of Stakeholder Agreement to ensure partnership working to support victims of sexual violence. Having been informed that there existed a will amongst the PCTs to introduce a central service, the Panel suggested possible locations that might be able to act as a base for the service. The Alexandra Hospital was proposed as a potentially convenient location. However, the Panel was advised to acknowledge that immediate acute need for care and support required local provision as concern was raised that victims might not be able to access a centralised service.
3) Please could you briefly outline what changes are due to be made to the NHS and in particular to local PCTs? ... view the full minutes text for item 24.
SARCs - Conclusions
To determine whether to make any recommendations regarding the possible introduction of a sexual assault referral centre in the West Mercia Police Force area.
The Chair clarified the process for the Panel to make recommendations.
The Panel discussed make appropriate recommendations regarding the possible introduction of a SARC in the West Mercia Police Force area.
The Panel support Cllr Blagg in her forthcoming discussions with the
Rt Hon James Brockenshire MP, Minister for Crime Prevention,
regarding the future provision to support victims of sexual
violence and the potential establishment of a SARC in the West
Mercia Police area.
b) The Panel issue a letter to the Community Safety Partnership expressing its concern regarding the impending demise of the Worcestershire PCT and the uncertainty over the possible establishment of a SARC in the West Mercia Police area, whilst pledging its support to the WRASAC and the Certificate of Stakeholder Agreement, with particular reference to paragraph three.
The Panel recommend that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Council pledge their support for the establishment of a SARC in the West Mercia Police area via a letter to the Worcestershire Health and Wellbeing Board highlighting the current obstacles to establishing a SARC and the level of uncertainty for future provision of care to victims of sexual violence following the release of the NHS White Paper.
To consider the contents of the Panel’s
(Report to follow)
The Chair informed the Panel that Kate Ray, Alcohol Lead at the Worcestershire Drug and Alcohol Action Team, would deliver a presentation on alcohol related admissions to the Alexandra Hospital at the next Panel meeting on 20th January 2011. This was further to the suggestion of Cllr Anita Clayton made at the Panel meeting of 15th July 2010 upon the item ‘Sustainable Communities Strategy Action Plan’ that more information on alcohol related admissions be provided.
Cllr Sheila Blagg would provide a verbal update from the meeting to be held with James Brockenshire MP at the next meeting.
The next Panel meeting on 20th January 2011 would commence at 6.30pm.
the contents of the Panel’s Work Programme be noted