Our Violence Reduction Partnership

Our

VRP Model

In March 2019, the (then) Home Secretary announced a £100million Serious Violence Fund to help tackle serious violence. Of this, £35 million was allocated for the development of Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) across England and Wales. Eighteen Police force areas worst affected by serious violence received this VRU funding. Avon and Somerset was one of these 18.

The Avon and Somerset Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) created a Hub and Spoke model for the Avon and Somerset Violence Reduction  Partnership (VRP).  The OPCC is the Hub and five Local Authority areas are the VRP Spokes.

The hub and spokes are supported by a wider collaboration of partners, together they drive the response to serious violence. This dedicated collaboration is the Violence Reduction Partnership.

The five spoke areas are:

Somerset Violence Reduction Partnership

Somerset

Bath and North East Somerset Violence Reduction Partnership

Bath and North East Somerset

South Gloucestershire Violence Reduction Partnership

South Gloucestershire

North Somerset Violence Reduction Partnership

North Somerset

Bristol Violence Reduction Partnership

Bristol

Each Local Authority (LA) Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) spoke has their own dedicated Coordinator, who works closely with their specialist Early Intervention Police Sargent and Team. Each spoke Coordinator, Early Intervention Team and multi-agency partners identify risk and vulnerability of individuals at risk of serious violence. Each spoke partnership is led by their LA and includes Education, Health, Probation Services, Social Care and Youth Justice. Together they addresses the individual’s or area/s underlying causes to violence or vulnerability. These partnerships are key to preventing and reducing serious violence and its causes.

The Hub and Spoke model is based on the 2018 Avon and Somerset strategy, which is prior to the Home Office Violence Reduction Unit initiative. The Developing Serious Violence Strategy recognised that the five different LA areas had diverse needs when it came to serious violence and recommended that each area should drive its own response. Each LA creates its own problem profile and plan to deliver its response.

The Hub oversees and coordinates the activity and developments across the VRP spokes and the wider partnership. Central to this, the Hub and it’s Director drive the Avon and Somerset VRP Strategy and response, ensuring that it is fit for purpose, making a positive impact, continually improving and involving all partners.

The Hub’s key responsibilities as part of this strategic work are to ensure reporting, performance, and evaluation is delivered to understand effectiveness of the VRP. As well as implementing shared communication and awareness approaches to drive key messages and understanding. The Hub supports partners to collaborate and implement a sustainable approach to tackling serious violence. In leading this, they are supporting the VRP in meeting the requirements under the  Serious Violence Duty. 

In 2020-21 an external evaluation was conducted on the efficiency and effectiveness of the Avon and Somerset VRP hub and spoke model. The evaluation concluded that it was an appropriate approach for Avon and Somerset, primarily due to the importance of enabling localised responses needed, to tackle serious violence across a geographically diverse area. This has been further supported by a second independent review in 2023, which agreed that the VRP and wider stakeholders should continue to support this model.

The Avon and Somerset VRPs are now well established, with their networks constantly growing. They are engaging and supporting the increasing numbers of children and young people, whilst gaining a clearer understanding of what matters to the community. The VRPs continue to work in partnership to keep children and young people safe.

Governance and Delivery

Avon and Somerset partners came together to form the Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), they reflect both strategic level partners (working together to drive pan Avon and Somerset work) and local authority level partners (delivering more targeted VRP spoke work).

Across these two layers of delivery, these partners include:

  • Education representatives
  • Fire
  • Integrated Care Boards – Health
  • Local Authorities and Community Safety Partnerships
  • Office for Health Improvement and Disparities
  • Police
  • Probation
  • The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Voluntary Sector representatives
  • Youth Offending Services

The VRP has responsibility for driving and overseeing the work which aims to reduce serious violence.

In January 2023, it became a legal duty for partners to ensure they take equal responsibility and share resources to collectively tackle priority issues. This Serious Violence Duty is currently being implemented locally, to ensure all partners can deliver on this requirement.

There are two key partnership forums within the Avon and Somerset VRP collaboration.

The Serious Violence Delivery Group
The group owns the Strategy and response plan, this core group of partners drives action across the system at an Avon and Somerset level. They report into the Serious Violence Reduction Partnership,

The Serious Violence Reduction Partnership Board
This is an executive level board, made up of Duty holders, who oversee and ensure the partnership is delivering as efficiently and effectively as it can. The Director is accountable to this forum.

Within our previously outlined  priorities, are a subset of key themes that have been identified through the evidence and knowledge that we have considered and assessed; these are set out below.

People Partners Places

*Interventions

*Risk identification

*Hotspots & contextual responses

*Leadership

* Data & evidence

*Sustainability

*Engagement

*Local opportunities

*Awareness & resilience

These key themes enable us to focus the proposed commitments and subsequent responses to drive the activity that the VRP will further collectively develop and deliver. This is the framework to our strategy.

Evaluatingour VRP

Data, evidence, and evaluation are core elements of the public health approach, the Home Office also advocate these principles as part of their guidance in VRP delivery. Effective use of data provides new insights and a more complete understanding of the drivers of serious violence, moreover the pooling of partner data then provides opportunities to observe stronger correlations or anomalies, as well as supporting themes and trends.

It is critical that we understand the effectiveness and positive impact of what is being delivered across the VRP. As such, monitoring and evaluation are critical components of the partnership’s work. To ensure our partnership is effective, we are committed to continuous learning and improvement.

Our performance framework sets out an activity against our priority areas, using a set of agreed measures to establish the effective impact.

We use a performance measurement to informs how we learn and grow.

Current state → Activity → future state
Performance measurement from → future state back to → current state 

The partnership uses their internal data and olice data to review serious violence trends., consider vulnerabilities and hotspots. This strategic view provides an opportunity to understand any new and emerging risk/s which could require a change of direction in the planning and allocation of resources.

Understanding the need

A dedicated data group of data Analysts and Managers across the partnership regularly come together to ensure information is shared in a timely and legal way across partners. They complete the annual Serious Violence Duty Strategic Needs Assessment (SNA) and are responsible for the Performance Framework, ensuring processes/outcomes are measured and monitored for an effective evaluation.

Intervention monitoring approaches have been developed collaboratively between the spokes and hub Senior Evaluation Lead, to enable providers and organisations delivering support and interventions the ability to demonstrate their impact (on individuals, their families, and communities) in an agreed method. Providing these approaches are essential to empowering partner organisations to build evidence into their delivery whilst exploring sustainability opportunities.

The VRP has a dedicated independent evaluation partner, who is working with us (until April 2025) to ensure the delivery of our robust evaluation process. Our VRP Senior Evaluation Lead works with partners to develop evaluation plans for new or emerging practice, support Theories of Change, monitoring frameworks and develop evaluation resources for the partnership to develop in this space.

Funding and opportunities

Serious violence destroys lives; repercussions span beyond those immediately affected to subsequent generations.

 

Funding

Tackling serious violence is a priority for the Government, who have allocated funding to Police and Crime Commissioners across the Country.

In 2022, the Home Office announced a further three-year funding of £5.08 million to the Avon and Somerset Violence Reduction Partnership. This funding will enable the Avon and Somerset VRPs ground-breaking work to continue.

 

Opportunities

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) funds a wide range of services to support the delivery of the Police and Crime Plan.

The OPCC also has two prevention funds, which are delivered in partnership with Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) and Quartet Community Foundation (QCF).

Click here to find out more. 

“I am delighted that the VRP work has received a three-year funding settlement. This funding means that we can properly plan, evaluate and work to sustain what has been achieved so far.”

“In my Police and Crime Plan, I discuss the importance of building on a public health approach that is used by the VRPs to ensure a range of agencies are supporting those young people who most need it. We need to ensure agencies across the board are identifying vulnerability and intervening early to prevent serious violence.”

Mark Shelford

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner