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Apologies for Absence.
Apologies had been received from Councillor Gemma New. Councillor Hunt noted that she had reported that she was happy with the reports.
Declarations of Members' Interests
No interests were declared.
To seek cabinet approval to bring a contracted service and an in house service together as one specialist service for victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse (DA) and to go out to tender for that service.
RECOMMENDED that the Cabinet Member for Community Safety:
1. Agrees to retender domestic abuse provision until 31st March 2024 with an option to extend by 3 years (plus 1, plus 1, plus 1) at a maximum contract value of around £4.4m over 6 years.
2. Approves an annual budget transfer of £39,500 to the Children and Families Portfolio to recruit an additional domestic abuse practitioner for the Family Safeguarding Service.
Bruce Marr, Head of Harm and Exploitation read out a deputation from Kirsty Mellor. Deputations are not minuted but can be viewed as part of the webcast of the meeting.
Mr Marr introduced the report and in response to questions, clarified the following points:
The number of women killed has increased during the Covid 19 pandemic.
The council's domestic abuse strategy identified a need to be more responsive to individual need particularly victims where their relationship continues. Up2U is Portsmouth City Councils bespoke programme to support those who use abusive or unhealthy behaviours and want to change and the council is looking to the University of Portsmouth to carry out an evaluation.
The voluntary sector has access to funding opportunities that are not available to Local Authorities and therefore increases resources for residents.
Nationally specialist domestic abuse support is offered by the voluntary sector. Being more independent increases the ability to challenge statutory services.
Last year a service-users survey had been conducted but the level of responses was not sufficient to be validated.
Councillor Cal Corkery thanked the deputee and noted the importance of encouraging the public to engage in the democratic process especially when they are very knowledgeable about the subject.
As a trade unionist, he believes services should be provided by the council whenever possible in order to maintain the council's control and accountability. Moving council staff to the voluntary sector would likely have a significant impact on their pension entitlement. However the service must be structured to meet the needs of the service users. He expressed concern regarding the level of consultation that had been carried out so far for this service change and generally for council services.
Councillor Hunt noted that the service was trying very hard to consult with service-users and had held a Community Services event that had been attended by Councillor Corkery. He also highlighted the fact that, despite there being no women present at this meeting there had been input from women and service users to inform this decision.
Councillor Horton joined the meeting and made a deputation on this item which can be watched as part of the webcast for this meeting.
Councillor Hunt explained his personal experience of domestic abuse growing up and the significant change in the way that this is dealt with by the police today. He also added that:
It was very important that the public receive an immediate response when they contact the council for assistance with this issue.
Councillors Judith Smyth, Terry Norton and Gemma New have been involved in the shaping of this new service.
Involving the voluntary sector would mean that they would have access to more external funding opportunities which is even more important now that government funding has decreased by 40%.
The Cabinet Member for Community Safety agreed that:
1. The lead member for Community Safety agrees to retender domestic abuse provision until 31st March 2024 with an option to extend by 3 years (plus 1, plus 1, plus 1) ... view the full minutes text for item 13.