Westminster Briefing on PCCs and Community Safety Partnership

Today, I have been combining my old job (Community Safety Manager) with my new role as PCC pundit/prospective candidate, by joining Suffolk’s Labour PCC candidate Jane Basham on a panel at a House Magazine Westminster Briefing event on PCCs and partnerships. We and a few attendees with twitter accounts somehow put aside the natural reluctance to meet people you have only previously encountered on the Internet.
It was clear that attendees were concerned about changes to Community Safety funding, and in particular the fact that the Commissioner will have such an important role in, well, commissioning. Some seemed to feel amalgamations of partnerships were on their way, with PCCs possibly preferring a simpler life with less Partnerships to deal with. Others were worried about competition between partnerships for diminished funding. It’s natural to worry when you don’t know what’s going to happen, but that doesn’t mean that it will always be the worst thing that does happen.
For myself, I have no inbuilt desire to abolish any partnership that has been working well for the past 13 years and is ready to embrace the future. I value the expertise that has been built up and am reluctant to start again.
Attendees were concerned about how to make their case to PCCs. Forests are currently being grown to supply the paper for everyone who wants to ‘brief’ the PCCs when they arrive on the scene. In my judgement partnerships would be wise to avoid information overload, and so I was happy to hear Pamela McAllister make the point that what they needed to do was ‘tell the story’. This is so much more important and more rare than raw data. PCCs will need to know not just what the data says, but what it means, to do their job effectively.
Beyond the prepared questions of ‘why are you standing’, ‘what’s your understanding of the role’, and ‘what are likely to be the themes of your campaign’, you may wish to know what community safety folk wanted to know:-
What will you actually be doing on a day to day basis? (fairly sure I read that one on the way to the event as one of Jon Harvey’s latest list of 13 questions for PCCs.)
What happens if a PCC’s plan and a partnership’s Strategic Assessment don’t match up?
What do you expect from your relationship with the Police and Crime Panel?

But mostly they, like others, want to know how they can get you on side. Most of them have been hacking away at crime quite well over the past 13 years, so it might be worth finding out what they think.

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5 Responses to Westminster Briefing on PCCs and Community Safety Partnership

  1. ianchisnall says:

    Sam, this is fascinating, I have tried unsuccessfully to meet with the CSPs in Sussex over the last few months and to date they have resisted my charms for fear of showing political bias. I think there is a degree of double think here.

    • samchapman says:

      Perhaps some undue caution. Try individual meetings with CSP managers. I can’t see how anyone can object to you finding out about crime and what they are doing to tackle it. Also, how canthey treat you any less favourably than Joe Public. Until nominations open, that is exactly what you are.

      • ianchisnall says:

        I agree with your analysis – however I cannot demand an audience, but clearly my manifesto priorities cannot be aligned with their plans if they are unwilling to meet me.

      • That is true Sam – although I heard from someone the other day that Ian is walking around at community & network meetings with a ‘vote for me’ campaign badge / rosette on…. (Is that true Ian?)

      • ianchisnall says:

        Hi Jon, I have a lovely badge with my logo on it which I tend to wear wherever I go – I have had lots of compliments from people but would of course remove it if it caused offence. Other people have been asking for badges too.

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