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053/2013 – Establishment of a Central Referral Unit – 8 June 2013

Executive Summary and recommendation:

This paper is presented to the Police and Crime Commissioner as a summary and relates to the proposal to place a Central Referral Unit into City of York council premises therefore co-locating resource to deliver:

  • a Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) servicing the City of York safeguarding partners
  • a Central Referral unit for North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) safeguarding partners

The Police and Crime Commissioner is requested to:

  • Agree one off setup expenditure totalling £59,111 (to be funded from the capital programme) and recurring revenue expenditure of £23,441 (already funded in the budget).
  • Agree the recruitment of four police staff posts for an initial period up to 31 March 2016, which equates to recurring costs of approximately £114k. The Crime Directorate has identified recurring funding of £16k towards this from flexible working arrangements. The remaining £98k pa will be a cost pressure for the organisation. There may also be some one off staff related costs associated with the setup of the MASH, which could total £47k and will be funded from the Cost of Change Reserve.
  • Agree to employ a MARAC Coordinator on a fixed term contract until 31 March 2016, for which NYCC have agreed to provide funding on a full cost basis.

Police and Crime Commissioner decision:


Signature Date 8 June 2013
Title Police & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire

Part 1 – Unrestricted facts and advice to the PCC

Introduction and background:

What is Protecting Vulnerable People?

Protecting Vulnerable People (PVP) covers a far reaching spectrum of responsibilities which in short includes;

  • All forms of inter-familiar child abuse investigations and child death
  • Crime or abuse of within a ‘care’ setting
  • Serious incidents of domestic violence and domestic violence management
  • Vulnerable Adults
  • Multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) – (management of registered sex offenders and violent offenders)
  • Child sexual exploitation, tackling persistent missing from home children or vulnerable adults.
  • Honour based violence/forced marriage

The Protecting Vulnerable Persons (PVP) Unit deal with the most vulnerable individuals within our communities and act as the primary gatekeepers for risk and harm within our communities. Their work broadly splits into three strands; criminal investigation, offender management and partnership working. Each strand overlaps with the others and each carry challenging workloads which are high risk and if not managed/mitigated effectively would have a devastating impact upon victims, communities and organisational reputation. (note: for example serious sexual offences have increased despite the total number of sexual offences in NYP falling year on year). Due to the demands placed upon the units detective resources are often diverted onto administrative function to ensure that reports are provided to safeguarding meetings, thus reducing the capacity of those officers, often at supervising rank, to manage effectively high risk investigations. Also given the demand upon investigative resource there is currently a two tier service in delivery of investigation of sexual assault upon children depending upon whether or not they are interfamilial. This has been highlighted in a number of Serious Case Reviews and part of this proposed change is to ensure that resources are in place to provide a single uniform service to all children subject to sexual assault.

What is a Central Referral Unit (CRU)?

A Central Referral Unit (CRU) constitutes the ‘business and administrative brain’ for all safeguarding matters within North Yorkshire Police. It focuses the administrative resource function (research and report preparation), into a single unit at a single location therefore optimising administrative efficiencies and reducing the administrative functions that currently default to detectives. This would effectively release detective resource within operational Protecting Vulnerable Persons Units (PVPs) so their skills can be more operationally focussed on live investigations and the victims of those crimes.

What is a Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub?

If you Co-locate a Central Referral Unit with safeguarding strategic partners this effectively creates a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) which has been identified as best practice and feature as a recommendation within a variety of national reports. This arrangement would improve the information flow and should drive out further efficiencies for all partners associated with the range of statutory multi-agency meetings that take place.

Why do you need a CRU or MASH?

Austerity measures has seen and continues to see changes to legislation (Welfare Reform Act) and compression of budgets within all public sector organisations. It is expected that this will feed through the welfare chain as increased demand for those services contained within the umbrella of PVP. Given the demographics of North Yorkshire this is likely to have an impact along the East Coast. Demand modelling undertaken within North Yorkshire police has demonstrated that to perform the administrative function at a level proportionate to risk requires additional resilience, It is therefore accepted within North Yorkshire at Chief Officer and Senior management level that the PVP Units will need additional resource to meet current and future demands. The formation of a CRU/MASH to remove administrative function from Police officers would support the wider crime directorate realignment and create additional resilience within investigative function.

The benefits delivered through a MASH are as follows:

  • provides a single location for safeguarding referrals (Police and multi-agency)
  • enables better identification and management of risk
  • enables immediate allocation and tasking of multi agency resources to meet the needs of our communities
  • releases detective resource to meet increasing investigative demands
  • improves efficiency in case management and investigations whilst meeting or exceeding national policies and procedures on Safeguarding
  • centrally locate both MAPPA and MARAC administration
  • improved data analysis to inform decision making and targeting of resource
  • improves service outcomes for victims within each multi-agency and as a whole
  • meets ACPO national best practice and associated national recommendations
  • enables ‘lean design’ working practices amongst all agencies to be adopted and robust multi agency data analysis to inform decision making and targeting of resources
  • sets clear protocols for information sharing that meet legal thresholds
  • enables analysis of all agency information to target potential perpetrators of Child Sexual
  • Exploitation and safeguard those vulnerable
  • enables more efficient response to requests for information relating to Clare’s Law
  • improves outcomes for communities and those most vulnerable by addressing issues relating to information sharing, decision making and early intervention.

n.b A simplified CRU (Two detectives and a single administration support officer) that was co-located within council premises for the York and Selby PVP Unit from April 2012 supported the view that there was improved information flow as an immediate benefit from co-location.

Strategic drivers for the implementation of both the CRU and the MASH are due to a number of independent inquiries in recent years into safeguarding measures and how well statutory agencies responded to individual needs. In almost all of the independent inquiries and serious case reviews it was highlighted there was a lack of communication and information sharing between those agencies involved in safeguarding children and adults:

  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • No Secrets (Adult Protection)
  • ACPO/NPIA Guidance on Safeguarding and Investigating Abuse of Vulnerable Adults 2012
  • Bichard Report/Sir Christopher Kelly Serious Case Review – Soham Murders
  • Lord Laming Report – Baby P
  • Munro Report – Review of Child Protection 2011
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children
  • Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme
  • The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare’s Law – pilot being run in four Police Forces Sept 2012 to Sept 2013)
  • Imminent changes to the definition of Domestic Violence which will reduce the age from 18 to 16 years old
  • Changes to the Health and Reform Bill
  • Harassment Act 1997 Reforms – introduced two new offences of Stalking
  • North Yorkshire Joint Strategic Needs Assessment
  • NYP Control Strategy
  • ACPO National Plan on Child Sexual Exploitation

Matters for consideration

To develop a Central Referral Unit (CRU) within City of York Council premises to deliver a Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) servicing the City of York. The MASH would also act as a Central Referral unit for North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) safeguarding partners with a future option to develop a NYCC MASH.

Other options considered, if any

Establish a Central Referral Unit within NYP estate as a standalone unit.

Cost; Minimal internal costs around IT infrastructure, or equipment and currently already provisioned within the police estate

Benefits: The benefits associated with a Central Referral unit for North Yorkshire are:

  • provides a single place for safeguarding referrals (Police and multi-agency) and full audit trail of subsequent case management by all agencies
  • releases detective resource within PVP Units to meet increasing demands freeing them from administrative tasks
  • improves case management and investigations whilst meeting or exceeding national policies and procedures on Safeguarding
  • centrally locate both MAPPA and MARAC administration
  • improves service outcomes for victims within each multi-agency and as a whole
  • meet ACPO national best practice recommendations and associated national reports recommending the same

Risks: The potential risks around not developing a Central Referral Unit into a MASH relates to:

  • The loss of joined up working and therefore the ability to immediately respond to demand, to maximum the benefit from shared information flow, increased risk around slower data flow and to maximise process efficiency.

Contribution to Police and Crime Plan outcomes

Safeguarding is at the forefront of North Yorkshire Police’s purpose, as highlighted within the North Yorkshire Police Control Strategy 2012/13 and encompassed within the Police and Crime Plan as a significant aspect of reducing harm and putting people first.

Consultations carried out

Consultation has taken place with some existing CRUs within the North of England together with local staff and social care managers to understand the benefits and future benefits a full MASH could provide. PVP senior management have also considered the benefits and shape a CRU/MASH should take in NYP to include Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) and Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) administration.

Financial/ resource Implications

With the development of any unit there are potentially financial costs associated with it. For the development of a CRU/MASH the structural and equipment costs are as follows

Capital costs

Function Cost New / existing budget Comment
Capital ISD costs £9,850 New One off capital cost of additional hardware for equipping CRU (computers, printers, telephony)
Capital Accommodation £5,840 New One off cost of security enhancement to achieve PND accreditation
Capital Additional ISD costs (MASH) £30,341 New Hardware cost of providing network point enabling MASH staff to connect to NYP network

Revenue costs

Function Cost New / existing budget Comment
Revenue ISD costs £13,080 New One off revenue costs
Revenue Additional ISD costs (MASH) £18,141 New Annual recurring cost of providing network point enabling MASH staff to connect to NYP network
Revenue Facility service charge £5,300 New Rent £0 and service charge £5300 fixed for 3 years

The resource implications

In delivering an alternative model there are a number of non cashable resource costs associated with implementation which can be divided into force cost, development cost, resource abstraction costs.

Force cost:

This model requires additional support staff resource to be identified from within the force establishment to supplement the existing support staff resource in place. The costs are estimated to be up to £159k in 2013/14 and £112k recurring.

Development cost

There are not anticipated to be any additional staff developmental costs outside of internal NYP training costs.

Abstraction cost

NYP staff will be working exclusively on NYP business so there is no anticipated abstraction of resource from NYP business.

2013/14 2013/14 2013/14 2014/15 Detail to be
CapitaL Revenue Total Revenue Found
To be funded by RCCO 46k 46k 6.1 – Capital
ISD Set up costs 13k 13k 6.1 – Revenue
Staff setup costs 47k 47k 6.2 and Part 2
Recurring staff 114k 114k 114k 6.2 and Part 2
Recurring ISD 18k 18k 18k 6.1 – Revenue
Recurring service charge 5.3k 5.3k 5.3k 6.1 – Revenue
TOTAL 46k 197.3k 243.3k 137.3k
Available Funding 46k 99.3k 145.3k 39.3k
Shortfall 98.0k 98.0k 98.0k

Crime directorate has identified £16k recurring funding from staff working flexibly and £23k is already provisioned within the budget along with the capital and one off revenue costs of £107k (£46k + £13K + £47k).

Legal Implications

NYP Legal and Compliance services will assist with any premises licence required as a result of co-location in CYC premises, any working practice protocols and legal issues and information sharing agreements necessary.

Public Access to Information

The Police and Crime Commissioner wishes to be as open and transparent as possible about the decisions he/she takes or are taken in his/her name. All decisions taken by the Commissioner will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

As a general principle, the Commissioner expects to be able to publish all decisions taken and all matters taken into account and all advice received when reaching the decision. Part 1 of this Notice will detail all information which the Commissioner will disclose into the public domain. The decision and information in Part 1 will be made available on the NYPCC web site within 2 working days of approval.

Only where material is properly classified as restricted under the GPMS or if that material falls within the description at 2(2) of The Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) Order 2011 will the Commissioner not disclose decisions and/or information provided to enable that decision to be made. In these instances, Part 2 of the Form will be used to detail those matters considered to be restricted. Information in Part 2 will not be published.

Is there a Part 2 to this Notice – YES
If Yes, what is the reason for restriction – Operationally sensitive

Tick to confirm statement √
Director/Chief Officer ACC Spittal has reviewed the request and is satisfied that it is correct and consistent with the NYPCC’s plans and priorities.
Legal Advice Legal advice has been sought on this proposal and is considered not to expose the PCC to risk of legal challenge.
Financial Advice The CC CFO has both been consulted on this proposal, for which budgetary provision already exists or is to be made in accordance with Part 1 or Part 2 of this Notice Jane Palmer 0043646 June 2013
Equalities Advice An assessment has been made of the equality impact of this proposal. Either there is considered to be minimal impact or the impact is outlined in Part1 or Part2 of this Notice.
I confirm that all the above advice has been sought and received and I am satisfied that this is an appropriate request to be submitted for a decision Mark Bates Date Revised 6 June 2013
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