To update members of the Stronger Communities & Neighbourhood Services Scrutiny Board on the outcome of the review of Safer Solihull CSP to date, and to seek the views from members on the proposed new governance arrangements.
In attendance: Mrs Alison McGrory (Assistant Director – Communities & Partnerships) and Councillor Mrs A Rolf – Cabinet Member (Stronger & Safer Communities) and Chair of the Safer Solihull Community Safety Partnership.
The Board was invited to consider a detailed report regarding the outcomes, to date, of a Review of the Safer Solihull Community Safety Partnership and to seek the Board’s views on a proposed new Governance Framework and a potential reset of the Board’s crime and disorder scrutiny function, going forwards, to complement those arrangements.
In addition to the report itself, Officers also delivered a PowerPoint presentation to highlight the key objectives of the report.
Officers emphasised that it was important that there were clear lines of accountability for each of the statutory Partners at a senior level and that there was clear oversight and challenge by Elected Members. In order to achieve this, the report set out a number of proposed changes to the existing formal governance process.
As a result of the report, the following questions and observations were noted:
· In supporting the overall principles, the Chairman highlighted that the Review brought about the opportunity to reset the Board’s Crime and Disorder Scrutiny function to ensure that all Strategic Partners were held to account equally. To date, the community safety performance of the Police tended to be the main focus of much of the Board’s attention.
· Moving forwards, the Board considered that each Strategic Partner should have measureable individual community safety targets within the new structure. From a scrutiny perspective, those targets could be reported to the Board at the beginning of each Municipal Year and the Board could then undertake performance monitoring and robust challenge at agreed points during the ensuing year. The Board considered that this would be a more effective means of scrutiny instead of Partnership updates on key activities as was the current model. Officers supported the suggested approach which would ensure all Strategic Partners demonstrated their “added value” to Safer Solihull Partnership, rather than reporting on the regular work of their individual organisations by default.
· The Board supported the proposed new framework and highlighted that there was an opportunity to strengthen links to other groups to better deliver the Partnerships priorities and have clearer accountability and commitment. Members also sought clarification as to what budget, if any, had been appropriated to the new proposed arrangements going forwards. Officers highlighted the importance of the links to the two Safeguarding Boards within the Framework and the ongoing work to clarify those linkages. In terms of the individual groups that reported into the Safer Solihull Strategic Board, work was also in hand as part of the Review to fully understand their work and achievements to ensure clear and measureable outputs.
· The Board also highlighted the importance of streamlining the governance arrangements so the role and purpose of each group within the Framework was relevant and obvious; and that clear pathways of communication resulted.
· Officers also highlighted that the Review sought to re-establish the links between the Strategic and Delivery arms of the Partnership to ensure clear accountability.
Councillor Mrs A Rolf – Cabinet Member (Stronger & Safer Communities) and Chair of the Safer Solihull Community Safety Partnership highlighted her support for the Review and the potential reset for the Boards Crime and Disorder Scrutiny function.
That, subject to the comments and views recorded in the preamble above, the Board unanimously made the following RECOMMENDATIONS to the Safer Solihull Partnership and the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Stronger & Safer Communities:
(i) That the Board supports the Governance Framework Review outcomes, to date, for the Safer Solihull Community Safety Partnership and the proposed new Governance Framework as set out in Appendix B to the report;
(ii) That the Board supports the proposal to use the Review as an opportunity to “reset” the Boards statutory Crime and Disorder Scrutiny function;
(iii) That each Strategic Partner be set individual targets, in consultation with this Board, to enable their individual “added value” to the Safer Solihull Partnership to be measured throughout the year; and
(iv) That this Board receives the final report at the conclusion of the Review process for information.