The Kent Community Warden Service (KCWS) has, since 2002, become a recognised and highly valued service to Kent’s communities, helping to create stronger and safer communities – its overarching purpose. The service forms a key part of the County Council’s response to its statutory responsibilities under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (amended by the Police and Justice Act 2006) delivering a frontline response to local issues in partnership with the other statutory responsible authorities.
Whilst retaining its broad remit, the KCWS has adapted and evolved over the years to effectively build upon the original aims as it responds to local issues including preventing crime and scams, supporting vulnerable residents, tackling social isolation and leading community development activities. The result has been that requests for assistance from various KCC departments, partnership agencies, external organisations and charities as well as public demand has been on the rise. Given the current climate and of course the current COVID-19 pandemic, the demands and need for the service have never been greater.
Enhancement is required to ensure the service is fit for purpose and supported through improvements to efficiency and effectiveness. Expansion is required to meet the existing high demand, which is expected to continue increasing, not just in terms of the progressively complex criminal and societal problems but also as the 65+ population increases by an estimated 24.9% over the next 10 years
The following options have been considered to address the KCC strategic objectives to enhance and expand the KCWS;
1. Maintain status quo and current service as is. (Not recommended - as does not address the increasing demand on the service, the recruitment and retention issues or fit with SDP 2020-23.)
2. Increase frontline warden numbers only. (Not recommended - as expansion would fail to address issues of recruitment and retention, warden job roles and appropriate supervision).
3. Enhance service and then expand as per proposal. (Recommended - to enable service improvements and maximise the impact of expansion whilst meeting the objectives outlined in the SDP.)
How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’:
The proposed decision supports all three strategic outcomes as the service’s focus is on the wellbeing of communities and particularly vulnerable residents.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Division affected: (All Division);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 05/05/2020
Decision due: Not before 9th Jun 2020 by Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services
Reason: In order that that proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days in accordance to statutory requirements
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services
Lead director: Stephanie Holt-Castle
Department: Growth, Environment & Transport
Contact: Shafick Peerbux, Head of Community Safety 03000 413431 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cabinet Committee Members were engaged informally via email in advance of the proposed decision being published and all comments received were duly considered by the Cabinet Member as part of their decision-making.
Financial implications: The total cost of the proposal is £1m. A bid into the Strategic Development Board (SDB) £3.5m pot allocated in the Budget annually at County Council in February 2020 is being made to fund this proposal.
Legal implications: Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, as amended by the Police and Justice Act 2006, requires responsible authorities to consider crime and disorder (including antisocial behaviour and other behaviour adversely affecting the local environment); and the misuse of drugs, alcohol and other substances in the exercise of all their duties, activities and decision-making.
Equalities implications: Equalities implications: The changes being introduced to the volunteer scheme have been subject to an equality impact assessment, with an outcome of ‘low adverse’ impact alongside a number of positive impacts due to the more flexible nature of the new scheme. The role review, career gradings and structural changes will be subject to a full EqIA as part of the business plan and consultation documents for the proposed changes. Data Protection implications: The Case Management System that is being developed is undergoing a Data Protection Impact Assessment to both inform the final configuration of the system (what data will be held and how) and the subsequent procedures (e.g. privacy notices, retention) required to suitably manage the data once the system is ready to go live.