Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill

Written evidence from Skills for Justice on behalf of the JSSC Group (ASB 57)

1 JSSC is the umbrella organisation that incorporates Skills for Justice and Financial Skills Partnership. Our joint licence as a sector skills council (SSC) covers around 3.5 million working people, the equivalent of 13% of the overall UK workforce. They work in police forces and law enforcement agencies; courts, tribunal & prosecution services; forensic science services; custodial care; fire and rescue services (FRS); armed forces; local and central government; the voluntary and community sector; legal and financial services and the accountancy sector. These sectors provide critical public functions within UK society, including providing the safe environment required for business, individuals and communities to thrive. Our sector comprises the spectrum of private, public and voluntary sector organisations and includes large, medium and small scale employers including those dedicated to supporting victims of crime and those working in offender management.

2 We welcome this consultation and the opportunity to contribute. We have focused our submission on the two areas where we feel we can add most value; restorative justice and forced marriage. This includes advice on how to prepare and enable Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to successfully support the government’s ambitions in these areas.

3 We welcome greater use of the restorative justice approach and concur with the government’s suggestions of where this would be appropriate. We support the provision of good restorative practice services, to ensure that the skills requirements of the practitioners are met. In conjunction with employers and key stakeholders, we develop and maintain National Occupational Standards (NOS). NOS define ‘what good looks like’ in terms of competency. Not only does this assist good practice but it also provides reassurance for service users and commissioners. A relevant example is the suite of National Occupational Standards (NOS) that we have developed that articulate the key components of effective restorative practice. However, there are a number of NOS that we have developed for the justice sector that would help to prepare and inform PCCs in delivering the new critical functions outlined in the Bill. As the guardians of such standards, Skills for Justice have regularly reviewed and developed new NOS to ensure that they continue to reflect best practice and remain relevant to the sector.

4 In addition, based upon these standards and again at the request of employers, a Level 4 Diploma in Restorative Practice has been developed. Skills for Justice is also currently in the process of developing a National Competence Assessment Framework (NCAF) for the Victims, Survivors and Witnesses (VSW) Workforce, which the Restorative Practice NOS and qualification will be part of. The NCAF will identify the functions carried out by those who come into contact with victims, survivors & witnesses and clarify the NOS and learning and development opportunities, together with other practice standards that are relevant to these functions. These tools, together with other resources, will be included in readiness for its launch in September 2013. We would be happy to provide more information about the NCAF on request.

5 The National Competence Framework will also provide a useful and timely tool to help support PCCs as it provides a helpful overview of what standards should be met when developing their commissioning frameworks. It will not only be relevant to the new duties associated with restorative justice, but also other new roles and responsibilities outlined in the Bill.

6 With regard to the criminalisation of forced marriage, a wide range of NOS are available to the workforce supporting victims and witnesses. Skills for Justice working, with stakeholders and employers, is keen to ensure that any identified gaps in required practice are appropriately addressed. Again the VSW NCAF could provide a valuable source of support and information.

7 Sector Skills Councils have a unique relationship with employers, and a keen insight into their needs. Skills for Justice is eager to work with government to support the ambition of the Bill through quality workforce development for those providing essential services to victims of crime. We would be happy to discuss further how we support this vision.

July 2013

Prepared 17th July 2013