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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 16 January 2013

 

Report of the Director of Development Services

 

Update on the Progress of the Gobaith Unit for Prolific and Priority Offender Unit

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To apprise Members on the progress of the Gobaith Unit for Prolific and Priority Offenders (PPO) and the new Integrated Offender Management (IOM) Service.

Recommendations

1.             That the report be noted.

2.             That the impact the Gobaith Unit has made in supporting prolific and priority offenders to make positive lifestyle choices is reported within the Annual Community Safety report. 

3.             That the progress of the IOM Service within the Vale of Glamorgan is reported within the Annual Community Safety report.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To apprise Members of the work of the Gobaith Unit and IOM Unit.

2.             To enable Committee to review the role of the Gobaith Unit.

3.             To enable Committee to review the progress of the IOM Service.

Background

2.             The Safer Vale Partnership was established in 1999 as a requirement of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.  The Partnership comprises of key statutory and non-statutory partners including the Vale of Glamorgan Council, South Wales Police, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Wales Probation Trust, Cardiff and Vale University Local Health Board and the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services.  The Act requires each agency to work in partnership to reduce crime and disorder in the Vale of Glamorgan.

3.             The Home Office define prolific offenders as the small number of offenders who commit a disproportionate amount of crime.  Home Office data suggests that 50% of all crime is committed by 10% of the offending cohort.  This cohort is defined as Prolific and Priority Offenders (PPOs).  

4.             The Home Office launched the PPO Scheme across England and Wales in 2004.  The scheme's objective was to ensure that PPOs were correctly identified, targeted and supported through an extensive provision of services.  This support was to achieve sustainable reductions in offending behaviour.  A premium service protocol outlining the support required for each local scheme was designed and distributed by the Home Office.

5.             The Home Office carried out a review of the Vale of Glamorgan's PPO scheme in March 2009.  The subsequent report recommended that the Vale develop a co-located multi-disciplinary team to address offending behaviour. The report recommended representation from Police, Probation, Local Authority Housing and Education Services, Drug Intervention Programmes and the Department of Work and Pensions.

6.             Following the review the Safer Vale Partnership established the Vale of Glamorgan's co-located PPO Unit in October 2010 comprising of a dedicated police and probation officer together with a funded 'lifestyle worker' to co-ordinate support.  The Unit was given the title Gobaith '(Hope' in Welsh).   

7.             The Home Office has since expanded the PPO scheme to support less prolific offenders.  Integrated Offender Management (IOM) provides the structured support framework to repeat offenders to reduce the escalation offending behaviour.

8.             The IOM scheme was launched in Wales in 2011.  Research has shown that the success of other IOM schemes in the country is directly linked the level of multi-agency participation and the willingness of partners to work together to align organisational strategies, operations and roles.  The co-location of staff facilitated cultural changes, case management processes, information sharing and knowledge transfer.

Relevant Issues and Options

9.             The Gobaith Unit has worked with 42 prolific offenders since its launch in October 2010.  The offences committed by this cohort have included burglary, theft, possession (of illegal substances) including intent to supply, shoplifting, criminal damage, fraud and theft from motor vehicles.  Drug dependency was cited as a contributory factor to the offending behaviour of 41 of the cohort.  The 42 offenders each received a structured support programme with interventions provided by adult drug and alcohol services, social services, supported housing projects, GPs and prison mentors. 

10.        Successful outcomes have been the completion of drug intervention programmes, completion of curfew and the ongoing willingness to engage and seek support from partner agencies.  The development of an IOM Unit within the Vale of Glamorgan has been led by Wales Probation Trust's head of service delivery for the Vale of Glamorgan, Julia Atwell.  

11.        An opportunity arose to locate the new IOM Unit at Barry Police Station.  Wales Probation Trust has taken this opportunity to relocate from Cardiff its entire Vale of Glamorgan team to the Police Station in Barry to support IOM, the Gobaith Service and to improve information sharing between statutory partners.   The new IOM Unit commenced in September 2012.

12.        The IOM Cymru Board are currently developing a performance management framework for all IOM Units across Wales.  This framework will be based upon the Results Based Accountability and the measures shall be reported in Ffynnon (the Vale of Glamorgan Council's performance management database) for the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

13.        The following is an example of how the Gobaith Team support offenders change their behaviour and attitude.  Case A - A male offender has been on the PPO list since he was 19 years old. He was at the top of the list for burglary in order to support his drug addiction.  Short prison sentences were given and the cycle of offending continued.  The Gobaith Unit visited him whilst he was in prison and a release plan was put in place. On release support was provided and he engaged with the team. As a result, he continued to provide negative drug tests which stopped his offending.  The Gobaith Unit also liaised with the benefits agency in order to secure suitable accommodation.   He has recently enrolled into Barry College in order to gain qualifications with the aim of securing work. He now needs very little support from the Unit.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

14.        The Gobaith Service is currently funded by the Welsh Government's Substance Misuse Action Fund from the Welsh Assembly.  Additional third sector funding is being sourced to continue this service at full time capacity from April 2013.  However the Partnership would have to review the arrangement if funding could not be sourced to cover this service.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

15.        There are no sustainability or climate change implications as a direct result of this report although the work undertaken by the Gobaith Unit does link positively to the promotion of sustainable communities.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.        The initiative is in accordance with the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.        Both services ensure the Vale of Glamorgan meets its statutory obligations under s17 Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.        Both services meet the Vale of Glamorgan's Equal Opportunity Policy by eliminating discrimination and promoting equality of all Vale residents.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.        To ensure better long term support and services to assist current offenders and to reduce Prolific and Priority Offender / IOM population as per the Community Strategy 2010/2020.

Policy Framework and Budget

20.        This report is for information only.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.        Councillor Bronwen Brooks as Cabinet portfolio holder has been consulted.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.        Housing and Public Protection

Background Papers

Home Office PPO Safer Vale Partnership Walkthrough 2009; IOM Cymru Guidance 2011

Contact Officer

Deborah Gibbs, Safer Vale Manager 01446 450210.

Officers Consulted

Mike Bumford (Finance)

Richard Price (Legal)

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services

 

 

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