Agenda item

Most Appropriate Agency

A report by West Mercia Police to share with the Health and Wellbeing Board a new policy and procedure referred to as ‘Most Appropriate Agency’ (MAA).


John Campion (West Mercia Police Crime Commissioner) provided an overview of the Most Appropriate Agency (MAA) report produced by West Mercia Police. The points under item 24 of the MAA report were referred to in asking for feedback from board members.

Kevin Crompton asked what the mechanism is for multiagency decision making and where is the conversation for agencies to decide whose remit it is to respond to a certain situation.

The Police Crime Commissioner responded that there is no multiagency function in West Mercia, however, part of the solution may include the development of a new forum which makes it easier for the right response to be made to a person in need.

The Chair asked if there will be confusion as to who people should contact in certain situations.

The Police Crime Commissioner responded that while the police are very accessible, not all emergency services are in that position. It is for the partners to sort out how demand is re-routed not necessarily the person in need.

Lorraine Baker (Service Lead) noted that there is an escalation policy in place with the police to request the police deployment to assist with certain situations, particularly with relation to mental health.

Superintendent Helen Wain (West Mercia Police) added that the escalation policy is available should agencies feel that the decision taken by the police is not correct. There are monthly meetings with A+E and mental health services at which these issues are discussed.

Simon Trickett noted the success of the pilot in Humberside and is confident in the strength of local partnerships to make a success of this policy.

The Police Crime Commissioner added that going forward how the different processes, budget cycles, and commissioning of services are aligned and how gaps are addressed where they exist.

Jane Ives noted that Herefordshire, as a small county with small public services, needs to be more flexible with how public services work together.

The Police Crime Commissioner agreed that Herefordshire is unique, however, this provides opportunities where partners can collaborate and work closely together. At present, the route map does not exist to make that happen enough of the time on such particular issues.

Jane Ives responded that in relation to the first bullet point under item 24 of the report, partners do not fully understand the implications of the policy for themselves from both a strategic and an operational perspective. Broad conversations do need to take place with the partners.

The Chair asked regarding Humberside, what are they doing differently to what Herefordshire is doing now and what can be learned from Humberside.

The Police Crime Commissioner responded that the Humberside partnership was set up as a partnership around the shared problem of demand not being met in the right place. The way they set up their project is very different to how it started in West Mercia.

Simon Trickett added that working with the community is important to ensure that there is a self-sufficiency and people can help look out for others.

Councillor Jonathan Lester (Leader of the Council) thanked the Police and Crime Commissioner for the document and noted that unless there is a policy response for people to know who to approach then this policy will not have the traction it needs to have an impact. A policy therefore needs to be in place to cope with the requirements of this document.

Stephen Brewster (VCS) added that the VCS has a role to help support what comes next in the development of the policy.

The Director of Public Health noted that there is a consensus around some sort of partnership, and it is worth considering how existing groups/partnerships are utilised to oversee this policy or whether a short task and finish group can be created.

The Police Crime Commissioner added that there was enough governance to go forward. A number of partners are not happy with what is happening and therefore it is important to reassure those partners that everything that could be being done is being done. Therefore within existing organisations, it would be useful to focus on the areas where concerns remain.

In addition to the report recommendations, the Director of Public Health recommended that a meeting to work through solutions be delegated to the One Herefordshire Partnership and then an item be brought to the meeting in December for the Health and Wellbeing Board.

Resolved that:

a)    Members are invited to note the report.

b)    Members are invited to consider implications of the West Mercia Police policy as part of both their own organisations and the wider system.

c)    Members are invited to consider potential options relating to joint / co-ordinated governance activity.

d)    A meeting be delegated through to the One Herefordshire Partnership before an item is brought to the Health and Wellbeing Board in December.


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