To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health and the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing on the proposed commissioning approach for domestic abuse service provision in Kent, which the Committee is invited either to endorse or make a recommendation to the Cabinet Member.
Ms M Anthony, Commissioning and Development Manager, was in attendance for this item.
Mrs A D Allen declared an interest in this item as an observer at ‘Choices’, North West Kent Women’s Aid.
1. Ms Anthony introduced the report and, with Mr Ireland, responded to comments and questions from Members, as follows:-
a) the increase in the number of recorded cases of domestic abuse was due partly to raised awareness and partly to an increased confidence and willingness to report incidents. To have a reliable overview of patterns across the county would make it easier to target resources and ensure that services covered all areas evenly;
b) the need for alternative accommodation for families escaping domestic abuse was whole-heartedly supported. Individual local councils sometimes struggled to provide such accommodation, so an holistic county-wide approach was needed;
c) cases of domestic abuse among elderly couples would sometimes come to light when domiciliary carers went into their home as part of a general care package. Patterns of abusive behaviour may have become ingrained over a lifetime and become accepted as the norm; and
d) the County Council would work with the Police and Crime Commissioner to shape its approach to service provision, and would work in close partnership with other organisations to ensure that their respective service provisions were mutually compatible. The Council had agreed with its partners that it would retain overall control, management and monitoring of countywide service delivery, to ensure that service provision continued to be appropriate and consistent across the county.
2. The Cabinet Member, Mr G K Gibbens, directed Members’ attention to the timing of the tendering process required to serve a contract start date of 1 April 2017, which meant that the key decision to award the contract would need to be taken between meetings of this committee. He offered to provide an additional briefing to any Member who wished to have one. There was general acceptance around the table that this would be the way forward, with an additional special meeting of this committee being convened if necessary.
3. RESOLVED that:-
a) the funding for domestic abuse services from 2017/18 be noted; and
b) the decision proposed to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, to commission integrated services for domestic abuse support and to delegate to the Corporate Director of Social Care Health and Wellbeing, or other suitable nominated officer, authority to implement that decision, be endorsed, taking into account the comments made by Members, set out above.