Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)
1. Introduction and background
1.1. London now accounts for nearly a fifth of all crime in England and Wales. The number of people who live in, work in and visit the Capital is growing and becoming more diverse, resulting in an increased demand on services to keep them safe from crime and supporting the complexity and multiplicity of needs for those, particularly the most vulnerable, who are harmed by their experience of crime.
1.2. MOPAC assumed devolved responsibility from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for commissioning the majority of victims’ services in London from 1st October 2014 and annual funding of over £10 million is granted to MOPAC by the MoJ for this purpose (“MoJ Victims Fund”).
1.3. The Police and Crime Plan (PCP) 2017-21 puts victims at the heart of everything we do and makes significant commitments to ensuring better services and experience of the Criminal Justice Service for victims of crime.
1.4. The Integrated Victim and Witness Services Resource Plan 2017-2020, PCD 174, outlined a 3-year plan to deliver MOPAC’s ambitions to build on existing services, increase support for priority victims and transform the current provision into an integrated, accessible, responsive, quality service offer to victims and those affected by crime and help deliver the commitments of the PCP. The review of Integrated Victim and Witness Resource Plan 2018-2020, PCD 377, approved the updated plan covering this period.
1.5. A key element of the PCP is to sustain and continually improve current provision of services to victims whilst also developing and integrating those services to ensure victims receive effective support and are able to cope and recover from their experience.
1.6. The integration of victims’ services and associated commissioning plans to create a new Victims’ Service for London is in development with an anticipated start date for 2019-20. For 2018-20 it is, therefore, necessary to sustain via grant funding, with incremental improvements, the current provision of ECVCU delivered on behalf of MOPAC and the Corporation of London by City of London Police (Action Fraud).
1.7. The amount of grant funding per year is in line with the amount previously granted to City of London for ECVCU in 2017-18.
1.8. This decision form is, therefore, requesting approval for expenditure of £420,000 grant funding from the Ministry of Justice Victims Fund to City of London Corporation for the provision of an ECVCU from 1st April 2018 to 31st March December 2020.
1.9. Please note that the City of London Corporation is the legal entity with which this grant is made, but City of London Police (Action Fraud) is the delivery agent.
2. The Economic Crime Victim Care Unit
2.1. In the year ending December 2017, there were 43,464 Fraud offences referred to National Fraud Intelligence Bureau by Action Fraud for London, a 6 per cent increase on the previous year, continuing the upward trend of this crime type.
2.2. Last year the ECVCU assisted over 4,000 identified victims of fraud in London who had not previously been offered any support.
2.3. ECVCU has delivered continuous improvement in terms of service take-up and the identifying of needs. The proposed two-year grant for 2018-20 will embed further improvement in key areas including referral numbers and service take-up.
2.4. The ECVCU will:
- Consider the circumstances and needs of all victims of Economic Crime who live in London.
- Support victims through providing advice and referral.
- Deliver a customer focussed service by building and maintaining effective relationships with victims and witnesses by telephone.
- Gather all required information to support an informed assessment/referral process supported by clear rationale.
- Record all contact with victims securely and in confidence, and in accordance with procedures in place, adhere to organisational procedures
- Ensure that the appropriate advice, support and referral are given to victims of crime.
- Assess vulnerability and design bespoke advice through the new generation technology within NFIB, to make the process as efficient and accurate as possible.
- Assess situations where more immediate contact and emergency referral or referral to the ECVCU may be appropriate.
- Attend forums to promote the service and provide fraud prevention advice.
- To be the model of best practice for the National ECVCU roll out
- To build and develop secure pathways with victim support agencies
2.5. Outcomes are based on the Ministry of Justice Performance Framework:
- Better informed - advice and practical help given has provided enough information and confidence to victims to protect from fraud in the future;
- Feeling safe - has the prevention advice and guidance given enabled victims to feel safer and more confident;
- Ability to cope - has the prevention advice and guidance enabled victims to cope and recover from the crime; and
- Health & well-being - did the call handler provide support towards physical, mental and emotional wellbeing to the victim.
3. Issues for consideration
3.1. The proposed grant agreement covers the period from 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2020. The Integrated Victim and Witness Services Resource Plan 2017-2020, PCD 174, commits MOPAC to develop additional provision for victims of fraud, focusing on the most vulnerable, as part of the universal service offer. This will build on the work of the existing ECVCU, with provision from 1st April 2020 to be reviewed during the grant period considering whether the ECVCU Service could be subsumed into a MOPAC-commissioned Multi-Crime Service.
3.2. Action Fraud are in a unique position to be able to deliver this service, particularly in London given their basis within City of London Police.
4. Financial Comments
4.1. The Integrated Victim and Witness Services Resource Plan 2017-2020, PCD 174, agreed a three year budget of £47,110,918 to enable the delivery of a change and improvement programme and the provision and integration of victim and witness services.
4.2. The Review of Integrated Victim and Witness Resource Plan 2018-20, PCD 377, agreed the revised budget of £17,592,781 for 2018-19 and £16,070,437 for 2019-20. An annual budget of £210,000 is included in this budget for the ECVCU.
4.3. This is funded from the MoJ Victims Grant Funded element of the Victims budget.
5. General Data Protection Requirements
5.1 MOPAC will take all reasonable steps to assure that services commissioned or in receipt of funding from MOPAC are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
5.2. MOPAC has taken proactive steps to assure itself that providers of victim services are compliant with GDPR and other data protection legislation. Providers have completed and provided the Information Commissioner’s Officer’s (ICO) checklist and MOPAC will be convening a workshop, attended by a representative of the ICO, to support their compliance with data protection legislation.
6. Legal Comments
6.1. MOPAC’s general powers are set out in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (the 2011 Act). Section 3 (6) of the 2011 Act provides that MOPAC must “secure the maintenance of the metropolitan police service and secure that the metropolitan police service is efficient and effective.” Under Schedule 3, paragraph 7 (1) MOPAC has incidental powers to “do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the exercise of the functions of the Office.” Paragraph 7 (2) (a) provides that this includes entering into contracts and other agreements.
6.2. Section 143 (1) (b) of the Anti-Social, Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides for MOPAC to provide or commission services “intended by the local policing body to victims or witnesses of or other persons affected by, offences and anti-social behaviour.” Section 143 (3) specifically allows MOPAC to make grants in connection with such arrangements and any grant may be made subject to any conditions that MOPAC thinks appropriate. As the proposals in this decision form are about supporting victims, they fall within the parameters of the legislation.
6.3. Under MOPAC’s Scheme of Consent and Delegation the strategy for the award of individual grants, all offers made and the award of grant funding are for the DMPC. The decisions in this report can be approved by the DMPC.
6.4. Officers must ensure that they are content that MOPAC can comply with any conditions to which the Ministry of Justice funding is subject and in any event no reliance should be placed upon such funding until there is a legally binding commitment from Ministry of Justice to provide the same.
6.5. Officers must ensure the Financial Regulations and Contract Regulations are complied with.
6.6. Paragraph 1.8 above indicates that the contribution of £420,000 to City of London Police amounts to the provision of grant funding and not payment for services.
6.7. Officers must ensure that an appropriate funding agreement is put in place between and executed by MOPAC and City of London Police before any commitment to fund is made.
7. Equality Comments
7.1. Section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010 provides that, in the exercise of their functions, public authorities must have due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Equality Act 2010;
- Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; and
- Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
7.2. The protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
7.3. The ECVCU is a universal service that, due to the nature of the crime types its clients have experienced (cyber and fraud), works closely with vulnerable victims who are likely to have one or more of the protected characteristics.
7.4. The obligation in section 149(1) is placed upon the Deputy Mayor, as decision maker. Due regard must be had at the time a particular decision is being considered. The duty is non-delegable and must be exercised with an open mind.
7.5. The Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that only 40 per cent of victims report their crime to the police. MOPAC’s commissioned support services will be accessible to all victims, whether or not they have reported their crime to the police. MOPAC ensures that pathways into support are tailored so that the police route to support is one of many available to victims.
7.6. The programmes of work covered by this decision will contribute to achieving the aims and objectives outlined in the Police and Crime Plan, which has been underpinned by extensive consultation, including focus groups with victims of crime. The Police and Crime Plan is designed to tackle the inequalities in provision of victim services that were evidenced during these consultation meetings. MOPAC’s service provision and commissioning intentions reflect and take account of these findings. Full Equality Impact Assessments will be undertaken for each of the programmes of work covered by this Decision.
8. Background/supporting papers