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LGA: Better Whitehall coordination key to tackling crime in communities
Better coordination across Whitehall departments is needed to prevent crime and break the cycle of re-offending, council leaders told MPs yesterday
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, will recommend the creation of a new Crime Reduction Board, made up of ministers from all departments, to the Justice Select Committee's inquiry into the Government's crime reduction policies.
This would end the frustration and confusion of differing Government policies and schemes that exist within Whitehall and which can hamper efforts to tackle crime.
Councils are also regularly frustrated at a lack of engagement from some Government departments, such as the Department of Health, which are failing to recognise their key role in reducing crime.
One example is through its funding of treatment for people with alcohol or drug addictions and the impact that can have at a local level.
It would also allow central government to nationally replicate the success achieved by councils and their partners, including the police and health services, through innovative multi-agency community budget pilots.
A central principle of the LGA's radical Rewiring Public Services campaign, it has seen them pooling resources to integrate their work and design services around the needs of their residents.
And the LGA believes it is time for this community budget approach to also be adopted across the Government's crime, justice and community safety work.
Ahead of giving evidence to the Committee, Cllr Joanna Spicer, Vice-Chair of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
"One of the key successes in tackling crime in recent years has been multi-agency working at a local level between councils, the police and health services. Local government is playing its part in ensuring our communities are safe and secure and it is time for central government to replicate our successful formula.
"Whitehall has already recognised the importance of this joined-up approach in areas such as tackling gang violence, troubled families and domestic violence. But in order to successfully break the cycle of crime and re-offending, there needs to be a genuine commitment to this cross-working approach across the whole of Whitehall. That is the only way communities will see the real benefits.
"That is why we are recommending the creation of a ministerial level Crime Reduction Board. It would be able to provide proper challenges to new proposals and ongoing work and ensure there is better coordination between departments as a matter of course."
Greg Burns, Senior Media Relations Officer
Local Government Association
Telephone: 020 7664 3184
Media office (for out-of-hours contact): 020 7664 3333