The elected police and crime commissioner could become the most powerful individual working within public office within a force area. Some might say that it could be back door local government reorganisation. A bold statement maybe, but potentially true, in parts.
Consider the following:
The sole aim of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 is to shift power to the PCC (the public representative) and reduce bureaucracy. It reinforces the need to work together through a reciprocal duty of co-operation across a force area with due regard to priorities, and the PCC power to call together community safety partnerships and approve CSP mergers.
In 2013-14 community safety resources will be channelled to the PCC. They will target funding at activities focused on local priorities via a new ringfenced community safety fund, replacing the majority of existing drugs and crime-related funding currently provided to local authorities. In 2014-15 this will be incorporated into the police main grant.
There is no intention to limit what a PCC should spend on community safety activity or to ringfence the police main grant. The PCC will decide how to use resources at their disposal.
Given the breadth of factors that contribute to this agenda – health, education, justice etc – and the realisation for earlier combined interventions for best effect, the PCC is likely to have fingers in many pies – and the right to have them there.
The PCC occupies a strategic position with the responsibility, resources and status required to co-ordinate changes (for the better), across a force area, presenting opportunities for collective leadership, broader collaboration and joint commissioning to drive improvements.
All organisations should seize this opportunity to jointly take stock and look for ways in which they can better engage with each other and the PCC to drive improvements, including:
- Assessing effectiveness of commissioning capabilities
- Obtaining a clear understanding of the current and future players, their priorities and performance
- Profiling risks and how they might be mitigated
- Reviewing the effectiveness of CSP arrangements, particularly important to councils given the statutory duties that they still hold with regards to community safety
- Development of joint business plans and outcome measurements as a basis for discussion with the PCC
- Investigation of new joint business models/legal entities for the purpose of strengthening future fitness for purpose.