Public Engagement Funding 2019/20

Reference code: 
PCD 582
Date signed: 
05 June 2019
Authorisation name: 
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Policing and Crime

Executive summary

The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) has a statutory responsibility, in conjunction with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, for making arrangements for obtaining the views of the community and victims of crime on matters concerning policing in London (section 14, Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, 2011).This function is discharged through a variety of mechanisms, including the Safer Neighbourhood Boards (SNBs), which are an established borough level mechanism for delivering local police accountability and engagement, providing community members with the opportunity to speak directly with local senior police officers and to support local problem-solving projects that address local concerns. In addition, MOPAC also engages communities on policy and service development matters as required relating to specific policy areas, including stop and search, Neighbourhood Watch and hate crime. This decision seeks to secure approval for the 2019/20 public engagement funding.
 

Recommendation

That the Deputy Mayor for Policing and approve the Public Engagement Funding budget for 2019/20 and specifically the:
•    allocation of £1000,000 to the 2019/20 Public Engagement Fund (PEF)in line with the maximum allocations set out in Appendix A and the revised core functions and funding arrangements outlined in section 1; 
•    allocation of £60,000 to support the continued development of community oversight and engagement on the issue of stop and search; and 
•    That the signing of individual agreements be delegated in line with the MOPAC scheme of delegation.
 

Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)

1.    Introduction and background

1.1.    The Police and Crime Plan (PCP) sets out the Mayor's ambitions for policing and recognises how critical it is to our efforts to make every community in London safer, that people can engage effectively with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). The Police and Crime Plan 2017/21 (PCP) commits MOPAC to continuing to support the community organisations working to keep our city safe, promoting the role of local Neighbourhood Watch alongside our ongoing support to Safer Neighbourhood Boards and Ward Panels . This decision sets out our plans for the wider public engagement and active citizenship programme and seeks approval for the associated budget. 

1.2.    Arrangements for community led decision making and local police accountability  are in place in every London Borough, mainly through SNBs although some boroughs have alternative community engagement structures (CES), bringing police and communities together to decide local policing and crime priorities, solve problems collaboratively and make sure that the public are involved in a wide range of other community safety decisions.

1.3.    In previous years MOPAC has made £1m available for Safer Neighbourhood Boards to bid for to fund projects to help cut neighbourhood crimes and boost public confidence.

2.    Issues for consideration

2.1.    In line with our Police and Crime Plan commitment MOPAC has been working with the MOPAC-MPS Public Engagement Working Group and consulting a wide range of stakeholders as part of a review of public engagement, which commenced in 2018.  This is being developed within a framework aligned to the three dimensions of active citizenship - ‘inform, influence and involve’.  MOPAC’s Public Engagement Programme, including our work with SNBs, will form part of this new framework. 

2.2.    The broader landscape in which we are operating has continued to change over the last year, including for SNBs at the local level.  The funding climate continues to be very challenging and the introduction of Basic Command Units (BCUs) spanning several boroughs has in some cases changed the relationship between the Borough Commander and the individual SNBs.  In addition, some local areas have  adopted alternative community engagement structures (CES). 

2.3.    MOPAC discussed these matters with SNB chairs at the Forum meeting in October 2018. To reflect these changes the core functions of the SNBs have been revised. This decision seeks to secure approval for the 2019/20 funding of the SNBs/CES. Consultation with the SNB Forum identified that whilst some Boroughs have different engagement structures, the majority of SNBs will continue to function in their current capacity, albeit with revised priorities and core functions.

2.4.    The SNB Forum was consulted on the wider public engagement approach and the future priorities and arrangements for SNBs/CES.  

Those discussions established a majority view that the priorities for the SNBs/CES should be to:
•    enable local engagement with the Police;
•    enable local accountability of the police;
•    focus on the Policing and Crime Plan key principles and priorities - putting victims first and reducing inequalities; keeping children and young people safe; tackling violence against women and girls and tackling hate crime and intolerance. 

2.5.    The Forum agreed that the flexibility of individual SNBs/CES to address local needs had to be maintained to deliver the following core functions:  
•    monitoring crime performance and public perceptions (community confidence);
•    informing the development of policing priorities in the borough;
•    monitoring MPS support for the delivery of ward panels and community contact sessions; and 
•    engaging with Borough Independent Advisory Groups and other local mechanisms (e.g. neighbourhood watch and stop and search monitoring groups) to support and inform their work across the borough. 

2.6.    The Forum also discussed the current use of the PEF fund, the project funding criteria and a proposal to ring fence up to £100,000 from the SNB fund to enable central support of pan London public engagement initiatives.  The feedback indicated that SNBs wanted to ensure the funding process was as accessible as possible with minimal bureaucracy and that they were in favour of amending the funding criteria to support smaller local grass roots problem solving initiatives.  This should also help to guard against a growing tendency for larger voluntary sector organisations to submit significant applications (over £5,000) to multiple SNBs/CES, which should more appropriately be directed to other funding streams, such as the Young Londoners’ Fund. In addition, there was clear support for the ring fencing of funds to support wider engagement activities and functions, which MOPAC could administer directly to reduce the administrative burden on SNBs/CES and to achieve economies of scale. 

2.7.    The Forum also discussed MOPAC’s support to SNBs/CES.  They acknowledged the relevance and need for an ongoing programme of support from the MOPAC community engagement team through forum events, facilitating learning and development and ensuring the effective engagement of the MPS in their work. As well as valuing the one-to-one support, the Forum also indicated that they found the SNB funding surgeries and training seminars on using the SNB and other MOPAC data dashboards to be useful and effective in helping them to effectively carry out their functions.

2.8.    As a result of these discussions, it is proposed that:

•    a ring-fenced fund of £60,000 will be held by MOPAC’s to support the ongoing development of community oversight of stop and search to ensure our mechanisms involve those individuals most likely to be affected by the tactic;
•    that each SNB/CES will ring fence £3000 within their allocation to support Neighbourhood Watch;
•    that a maximum of £5,000 be introduced for allocation to any single project to help ensure that SNBs are supporting smaller local initiatives.  Larger more costly projects would then be considered by exception;
•    funding applications will be submitted via the GLA OPS system to streamline the submission and sign off process; and 
•    funding will be disseminated as a grant, in a single tranche to reduce the administrative burden and improve cash flow.     

2.9.    As in previous years the fund will be separated into two elements; administration and project funding.  Up to £1m will be available to SNBs/CES, which includes the ring-fenced budget that has been maintained at £166,400 divided equally amongst all SNBs/CES (£5,200 each) to support administration. The remainder of the Fund will be available to the SNBs/CES to support the local crime prevention and engagement projects of their choosing (with £3,000 ring fenced for Neighbourhood Watch). 

2.10.    The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime is therefore asked to approve £1000,000 in 2019/20 to support the MOPAC Public Engagement Programme and the CEF, including borough allocations up to the maximums indicated in Appendix A and £60,000 for the continued development of community oversight and engagement on the issue of stop and search.

3.    Financial Comments

3.1.    It is proposed that the 2019/20 budget remains at £1000,000 to support the Safer Neighbourhood Boards/Community Engagement Structures and enable central support of the broader active citizenship/public engagement programme, with £60,000 allocated to support the continued development of community oversight and engagement on the issue of stop and search. The remaining funding will be available to SNBs/CES in line with the allocations detailed in Appendix A.  Provision has been made within the 2019/20 MOPAC of £947,000, which creates a potential budget gap of £113,000.  Historically the SNB Fund has been underspent in each of the last three years; on average the overall spend has been in the region of £776,000 of £1m.  It is anticipated therefore that the budget provision will be sufficient to accommodate both the SNB/CES expenditure and the funding required to support the wider public engagement activities described above. This being the case the funding available to SNBs/CES will be in excess of the level of total SNB expenditure in each of the last three years and it is anticipated that the budget gap will be managed through in-year savings.    

3.2.    In previous years this funding has been paid in arrears in two tranches of 50% of the total grant. For 2019/20 it is recommended that full payment is made on approval of a spending plan received at the beginning of the financial year.  To enable this new approach and mitigate any potential risks, the funding process will be managed through the online GLA OPS portal.  This will facilitate better cash flow to SNBs/CES, provide a facility to electronically document acceptance of the terms of grant, and reduce the administrative burden on both parties.  

3.3.    It should be noted that while the total funding pot is available to SNBs/CES, they are not obliged to apply for the full amount and MOPAC will only agree project funding to those who have adequately met the assessment criteria.  SNBs/CES will continue to be required to submit a mid-year return to confirm progress of the agreed projects and an end of year return, to be submitted with the application for the following year’s funding, to confirm completion or otherwise of the agreed projects.   Any underspend will be recovered directly from the SNB/CES or deducted from the following year’s allocation.     

4.    Legal Comments

4.1.    The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime is authorised to take this decision by the MOPAC Scheme of Consent & Delegation, Section 4, “Delegation to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime”, “Financial administration” para 4.7: “The approval of …MOPAC expenditure, income and funding of annual revenue budgets and capital programme”.

4.2.    The activities set out in this decision are in accordance with MOPAC’ s responsibilities under section 14 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (the 2011 Act), to make arrangements for obtaining the views of the community on policing in the area. MOPAC’s general powers are set out in the 2011 Act. Section 3(6) of the 2011 Act provides that MOPAC must "secure the maintenance of the metropolitan police force and secure that the metropolitan police force is efficient and effective." Under Schedule 3, paragraph 7 of the 2011 Act, MOPAC has wide 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.

4.3.    In addition, section 143 (1) (b) of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides an express power for MOPAC, as a local policing body, to provide or commission services "intended by the local policing body to help victims or witnesses of, or other persons affected by, offences and antisocial 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 deems appropriate. The proposals set out in this decision support MOPAC's duties under and are in accordance with MOPAC’s powers under that section.

4.4.    Under Section 5.23 of MOPAC’s Scheme of Delegation, grant agreements under the value of £150,000 may be signed by the relevant MOPAC Director in line with their individual Scheme of Delegation.

4.5.    Paragraph 1.12 above indicates that the contribution of £940,000 to the SNBs/CES in accordance with Appendix A amounts to the provision of grant funding and not payment for services.  Officers must ensure that the funding is distributed fairly and transparently and in a manner which affords value for money in accordance with MOPAC’s Financial Regulations and Contract Regulations.

4.6.    Officers must ensure that a grant agreement is put in place between, and executed by, MOPAC and each recipient, before any commitment to fund is made.

5.    Public Health Approach 

5.1.    The matters in this decision do not directly address street violence, knife crime, domestic violence and/or sexual abuse.  However, the SNBs may fund projects that do address these issues.  By its nature, the SNB/CES funding is targeted to specified localities (boroughs) and provides communities with the opportunity to be directly influencing local crime prevention activity.  SNBs/CES also have access to a bespoke data dashboard and they are encouraged to use that data to help inform their local funding decisions. 

6.    GDPR and Data Privacy 

6.1.    A Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) has been completed for the SNB/CES programme.

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.    To ensure SNBs/CES support the key principle of reducing inequalities, there are two key areas in which they can make a positive impact (i) by addressing the disproportionate impact of crime on different areas and communities and (ii) by seeking to involve and represent diverse communities in police-community engagement.

7.3.    SNBs/CES are funded on the basis of a formula that aims to reflect the different levels of demand and need (the borough allocations are detailed in Appendix A). Differential borough needs have been taken into account using a formula to allocate funds, rather than working on the basis that all boroughs should receive an equal allocation. The formula has been constructed using updated Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) combined with updated population data. The IMD has been developed by the Office for National Statistics and is well-established as a robust formula on which to build programmes and allocate resources to the areas of greatest demand. The indices use statistical techniques to combine information on socio-economic factors, including crime, income deprivation, health deprivation and disability, to produce scores for areas across the whole of England. These are relevant to this exercise because of the correlation between deprivation and reduced levels of civic engagement and increased levels of crime and victimisation. The IMD data is collated and verified centrally and independently of MOPAC and the underlying datasets are updated as and when appropriate to ensure the best information available at the time is used.

7.4.    The SNB/CES guidance stipulates that boards should include groups/individuals who are able to represent the views of the diverse communities within their area, e.g. Faith groups, older people and children, as well as democratically elected representation to bring in wider community views. However, some SNBs/CES have struggled to meet this requirement in terms of direct representation, although almost three quarters of the funded projects have had a community engagement outreach element to them. Many have targeted some of the most vulnerable or underrepresented groups in respect of policing and crime, including young people, older people, Eastern European and black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

7.5.    Some boroughs are actively seeking community engagement alternatives to the SNB/CES.  MOPAC will work with the Boroughs to ensure that its statutory requirements are met and that any such alternatives are in line with MOPAC’ s equality and diversity policy.  The funding formula as set out in Appendix A is based on an expectation of a full take up by all 32 Boroughs.  As such there will be provision to meet funding requests from alternative SNB/CES structures.

7.6.    The work that has been underway to develop a new approach to active citizenship for MOPAC will present an opportune time to review existing structures and membership so that we can collectively have an improved understanding of the levels of representation both within their membership and through their community projects and match this against the available evidence and inequalities data.  As part of the wider Public Engagement Programme, MOPAC will seek to identify and address any gaps in representation through SNBs/CES and other mechanisms and opportunities for engagement.

7.7.    The involvement of community volunteers in the work of SNBs/CES is important and central to the provision of community oversight of local policing. MOPAC will continue to provide direct support to SNBs/CES through (i) the allocation of a single point of contact for every SNB/CES, (ii) access to accurate and timely data through the MOPAC dashboards, and (iii) the provision of learning, support and development opportunities.

8.    Background/supporting papers

8.1.    Appendix A – 2019/20 public engagement allocations

 Appendix A - 2019/20 Safer Neighbourhood Board/Community Engagement Structure allocations

Borough

Allocation

(£)

Barking and Dagenham

31,933

Barnet

30,449

Bexley

27,996

Brent

34,480

Bromley

29,493

Camden

30,130

Croydon

33,073

Ealing

32,554

Enfield

32,038

Greenwich

33,325

Hackney

34,650

Hammersmith and Fulham

29,364

Haringey

34,650

Harrow

28,069

Havering

28,016

Hillingdon

28,781

Hounslow

30,838

Islington

34,650

Kensington and Chelsea

28,872

Kingston upon Thames

27,151

Lambeth

34,322

Lewisham

33,762

Merton

27,256

Newham

34,650

Redbridge

28,900

Richmond upon Thames

27,996

Southwark

34,001

Sutton

27,064

Tower Hamlets

34,650

Waltham Forest

34,650

Wandsworth

31,912

Westminster

30,119

 


Share this page