5. Issues Affecting Services Provided By Other Partners And Work Underway To Resolve Them
72. A small number of local authorities raised concerns that reductions in budgets and the uncertainty over continued funding could affect their ability to deliver interventions. However, they also noted that they had reorganised resources in order to ensure continued delivery.
5.2 Access to psychological and psychiatric services
73. A few local authorities reported that accessing psychological and psychiatric services can be problematic. Specifically, the long waiting times for access to these services, as well as securing continuing provision were identified as particular concerns. It was highlighted that when an individual's need is acute, any delay in accessing treatment can be traumatic, potentially leading them to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. This in turn means that they are denied psychological/psychiatric assessment until they can present as substance free.
74. One local authority reported that psychology services, other than forensic psychological assessments, are subject to a policy in their area whereby individuals are not eligible for the service whilst subject to a CPO or supervision. However, the local authority highlighted that joint working between CJSW staff and psychological services had resulted in more direct information sharing about individuals on CPOs whose circumstances and risk management suggested a possible need for psychological intervention. The number of unsuitable referrals to the psychology service had subsequently decreased, and CJSW staff were able to discuss these cases with psychology services colleagues more speedily.
5.3 Access to services in rural areas
75. A very small number of local authorities reported that the rural nature of their area had an impact on their ability to deliver some services. Due to the low number of people on CPOs in these areas, specialist services are not always available locally, with referrals to mainstream services more common. However this has the benefit of allowing the links made during supervision to continue seamlessly after the CPO expires. One local authority also reported that they felt some of the national accredited programmes were unsuitable for delivery in a small population context.
76. Another related issue which was raised by a couple of these local authorities was that it can prove difficult for people subject to CPOs who live in rural areas to travel to CJSW offices or to urban locations where accredited programmes are delivered, particularly in relation to the travel time. This can be exacerbated by the lack of public transport links in some rural areas.
77. A small number of local authorities reported that access to housing continues to present a considerable problem for individuals on CPOs. In particular, accessing appropriate accommodation and being subject to timescales governed by priority need were identified as issues. However, the local authorities that highlighted this as a problem also reported that work was underway between CJSW and Housing colleagues to identify ways in which the needs of those affected could be addressed.
5.5 Interaction with other agencies
78. A large number of local authorities reported that they did not encounter any issues in accessing other services. Some pointed out that the redesign of the model for community justice, and the integration of Health and Social Care should improve the understanding of the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the delivery of justice services. They also highlighted that this would lead to more effective resolution of access issues and would provide opportunities to improve joint working, which would benefit people on CPOs.
Email: Andrew Corrigan