Dorset’s first Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill is now entering his third year of office. Since being elected, he has gained national recognition for his victim and mental health work. In April 2014, the Dorset Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) won the national Gold CoPaCC 2014 Award for Engagement. In addition, they were also commended in the CoPaCC “PCCs and Innovation” Awards, September 2014. This is a high achieving office.
Martyn, supported by the Dorset OPCC, has made direct contact with thousands of people through meetings, forums, community days, surgeries and correspondence. On average, the Dorset OPCC receives 100 enquires from the public per week. Many issues have been resolved through these channels, for example performance around the police 101 phone number and officers attending incidents of vehicle crime.
It’s been an exciting year for the team, with Martyn making history last summer by becoming the first PCC to commission a local service for victims. This new contract with Victim Support will include a 24 hour helpline for victims of crime and will provide additional support for victims of antisocial behaviour and business crime. The size of the Victim Support team in Dorset will also double and this year will see the ‘The Dorset Victims Bureau enter the second phase of the project, when it will become the first multi-agency victim’s service in the country.
The Dorset OPCC has achieved huge successes in greater multi-agency working on victim care and mental health. As Chair of the Mental Health PCC Working Party, Martyn helped spearhead a national campaign to improve crisis care for people with mental health needs across England. The Mental Health Concordat was launched in February 2014. Martyn has also secured a Mental Health Street Triage Pilot for Dorset which launched in May 2014 and sees mental health practitioners assisting police officers on patrol in dealing with mental health issues. The PCC was recognised by the Home Secretary for his good work in this area at the Policing and Mental Health Summit in October 2014.
In Dorset, the sheer scale of work by the Dorset OPCC has been captured in a diagram that represents this ongoing cycle of work. In order to deliver on PCC Martyn Underhill’s priorities as set out in his Police and Crime Plan, this ‘circle of life’ diagram remains a constant reminder of the breadth of work which this small team undertakes.
But the key question is how can an office remain small yet effective, busy yet efficient? Dan Steadman, Chief Executive of the Dorset OPCC said:
“We are constantly aware that we work for the people of Dorset and it is them who drive our priorities and our work. It is essential that we can demonstrate we are delivering for the people of Dorset and delivering in a lean and efficient way. Everything we do transcends the corporate structure of the PCC’s office and we are accountable for everything we do.”
The Dorset OPCC uses the pam cloud platform to run their office and to keep the ‘circle of life’ going. Dan continues:
“Every one of the almost 50 activities that make up the life of the OPCC is delivered through the use of the rich, fast-paced, integrated, collaborative, digital platform that allows us and our partners to continue to do the great work we’ve already been doing.
“We simply could not do our work without using a platform that allows us to monitor our relationships, create new alliances, track correspondence, and generally oversee all the work in the office. pam allows us to simply get on with the work that needs to get done, quickly and efficiently. With over 12,000 direct emails and phone calls each year it is imperative that we have a system that can manage that correspondence and ensure that each and every one gets treated with the importance it deserves.
“However, it goes far beyond just correspondence, as well as using pam for managing our strategy and priorities it is invaluable for streamlining our process-heavy work. We use pam for organising conferences, dealing with complaints against the Chief Constable, staff recruitment, inductions and appraisals, managing projects, assessing funding bids, developing policy, managing meeting agendas and coordinating national influence.”
pam is a key enabler for Dorset to manage their commissioning and importantly how their managing of contracts and the monitoring of grant awards and outcomes. Commissioning is one of the key aspects that marks PCCs out from the previous police authorities and is a relatively new responsibility for PCCs to undertake. By using a dedicated pam solution to enable this Dorset OPCC are able to clearly see who is requesting funds, how they meet the PCC’s priorities and to manage and demonstrate the results and value of any initiatives that are subsequently funded. Dan Steadman praised the solution:
“With help of a dedicated framework within pam we can demonstrate that the projects we fund are the right ones and that the work they’re doing is making a difference, especially to victims. This is one of the most important pieces of work we do – both in terms of ensuring victims are receiving the best care possible and also in terms of demonstrating to the public that their money being spent in the best way possible.”
By embracing new ways of working and acknowledging the need to adopt new technologies Dorset has been able to secure funding over and above the core policing grant. Martyn Underhill, Dorset PCC said:
“Dorset OPCC is an organisation that not only prides itself on being innovative but has been nationally commended for being so. By working closely with Alliantist, the team behind the pam platform, we have been able to secure funding from the Home Office to lead those innovations and genuinely be able to demonstrate how we are working for the people of Dorset.”
Last year, the Dorset OPCC secured over two million pounds of grant funding to help improve victim care and help fill in the gaps where provision is lacking. This is over and above the core policing grant and will go towards:
- £100,000 for 2 Mental Health Outreach Workers and a Mental Health Coordinator
- £85,000 for a programme to support child victims of serious sexual offences
- £30,000 for Freedom Courses to support victims of domestic abuse – this will include a pilot scheme offering freedom courses or pattern changing courses to male Domestic Abuse victims.
- £30,000 for special counselling for child witnesses of Domestic Abuse – this will include 1-1 creative therapeutic sessions for children.
Dorset OPCC is going from strength to strength and by using pam is able to get on with doing their work without worrying about how to do it. pam continues to work with Dorset OPCC to innovate and improve public confidence in policing and to help ensure the protection of vulnerable people.
However, it is not only Dorset OPCC that is working better together by using the pam platform. Their colleagues at Dorset Police are also using pam to realise their multi-agency initiatives as set out in the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan, to oversee their force-led governance and to manage their collaboration with their alliance partner Devon and Cornwall Police.
Dorset is not the only forward-thinking PCC to be using pam, Essex PCC, Nick Alston, recently came on board to use pam to help him and his office to collaborate effectively across the OPCC and with local and national partners so together they can commission the best outcomes for the people of Essex. The focus that the Essex OPCC has on partnership working and commissioning means the pam platform is a perfect match for their needs.
pam also has the Essex Community Rehabilitation Company and numerous other collaborators already working on the platform, alongside 50% of the probation providers and 25% of police forces.
If you work in any of the areas mentioned here and you could benefit from a platform that can help your team work better together, with comprehensive functionality and excellent value for money click here for more information. Or call 01273 704500 and speak to one of the team.