6. Consultation events
This section sets out a brief summary of the discussion from the events held alongside this consultation, as described in section 2.2. Three virtual workshop sessions were held during the consultation period and the events were attended by a broad range of stakeholders, including social workers, community justice co-ordinators, third sector organisations (including victims organisations) and national community justice partners.
Strategy content and structure
- Attendees were generally comfortable with the content of the current strategy, while acknowledging that context was needed to support the implementation of the new structures, the fact that elements of the ambition require updating to reflect the current context and that a clearer delivery plan is needed. The OPIF was noted as being crucial to implementation.
- It was highlighted that there have been achievements in community justice in recent years that the strategy must build on and must continue momentum following publication.
- There was general agreement that a shorter and more targeted document with clearer actions would be beneficial.
Purpose and audience
- It was noted that there is still debate about the meaning of community justice - the new strategy needs absolute clarity on this and needs to ensure a shared understanding of other terms, e.g. prevention, public health, etc.
- Attendees stated that the purpose and audience for the new strategy needs to be clear, and appropriate language should be used. Some suggested that different documents or sources for different audiences may help to ensure wider understanding and accessibility.
- The importance of collaborative working in the first strategy was noted positively – but that improvements to this approach are needed. Linked to this some attendees highlighted that:
- There is regional variation in the involvement of national partners and there is a need to ensure the strategic inclusion of the third sector in community justice
- It is difficult for some partners to actively contribute to community justice partnerships due to their capacity and resource
- Many local community justice partnerships are now well established and their work is improving, and that the strategy should complement this
Roles and responsibilities
- Attendees states that there needs to be more clarity on the roles and responsibilities of statutory partners and those in the community justice sector, and that there needs to be accountability associated with these responsibilities.
- It was noted that there needs to be more support and direction for partners in implementing the actions in the strategy and detail on how doing so helps to fulfil the aims of the strategy. It was also noted that consideration should be given to updating the national guidance to support this.
- Some highlighted that there is a need to retain flexibility in the strategy so that local areas can focus on local priorities, and that national partners should engage local partners in how they can work together to deliver national strategies, as well as local ones.
Linkages and logistics
- Some noted that the linkages to related policy areas and other strategies needs to be clear (including the Justice Vision and the National Care Service).
- Resourcing and funding concerns were raised, including in relation to short-term funding and funding to deliver on any new priorities in the new strategy.
- It was suggested that engagement with all statutory and non-statutory partners, the third sector, those with lived experience and communities is needed in the development and delivery of the strategy.
- It was noted that there should be flexibility in the timescales associated with reporting against the new strategy, to allow local plans to be updated to reflect the new strategy.
Attendees suggested the following topics could be included/reflected in a revised strategy:
- Public health approach
- Mental health pathways
- Understanding of community justice
- Unpaid work backlog
- Prison and remand
- Drug deaths
- Trauma-informed practice
- Victims' experiences and interests
- Restorative approaches
- Lived experience
- The pandemic
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