Local public sector commissioners of services for women fleeing violence are facing perhaps the most difficult decisions of recent times, as they themselves face severe cutbacks, yet the wrong decisions in this field can cost lives, say Women’s Aid and Imkaan, two national federations of services preventing and tackling violence against women and girls. The two organisations are today jointly releasing a free guide for local public sector commissioners, designed to support public sector staff responsible for commissioning services for women experiencing and fleeing violence. Successful Commissioning includes clear information on commissioners’ legal duties around domestic violence, the type of services victims and survivors need, and how to measure service quality through the tender process.
Starting from the National Audit Office’s position that “successful commissioning means delivering the right outcomes for the right cost”, Women’s Aid and Imkaan are committed to supporting commissioners in what are very challenging decisions at a time of austerity. The charities are also committed to supporting members at local level to engage effectively with public sector bodies. As well as the guide, Women’s Aid and Imkaan are offering practical support, advice and guidance to commissioners about service user need in local areas and commissioning appropriate services to meet it, and are supporting local services to meet commissioners’’ needs and work together in partnership and consortia.
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid said:
“In today’s challenging economic times, local public sector commissioners have a difficult job. In domestic violence, the wrong decisions can be truly dangerous. Central funding only covers a small proportion of local provision, local funding is severely reduced and there is no one commissioner with a statutory duty to address violence against women and girls. Decision-making to ensure consistent provision of safe, quality support for survivors is an increasingly complex task. We are committed to supporting commissioner to navigate the complex and unique needs of service users and deliver the best quality and best value services through the provision of Successful Commissioning.”
Marai Larasi, Director of Imkaan said:
“If we are to truly address violence against women and girls, we need to make sure that survivors have access to effective, appropriate services, and that prevention is a core part of everything that we do.
“In a time of such great economic difficulties and increasing concern about the impact of austerity measures on the most vulnerable individuals and groups in our society, it is even more important that we get the commissioning of vital frontline women’s services right.
“This unique commissioning pack takes into account the challenges that we know commissioners themselves face, it distils the knowledge of frontline providers and other experts, and it sets out the legal context for commissioning services. Even more importantly – it outlines what survivors, including black and minority ethnic women, are saying they need in terms of support.”
For a copy of the pack, or for further information, please contact Franki Hackett in the Women’s Aid Press Office on 0207 566 2511 or on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Press Release at http://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-violence-press-information.asp?itemid=3270&itemTitle=Charities+offer+free+advice+to+commissioners+of+services+for+women+escaping+violence§ion=0001000100150001§ionTitle=Press+releases