Complex responsibilities undermine public bodies work on community safety

18 Oct 2016 - 12:05am

Changing responsibilities and complex working arrangements are creating barriers to effective joint working on improving community safety

The Auditor General has released his latest national report, Community Safety in Wales, which looks closely at the way the Welsh Government, Police and Crime Commissioners and local authorities are working together to improve community safety.

The report, published today, has four main key findings;

  • Overlapping responsibility and inconsistent leadership is creating barriers to partners working together effectively;
  • Planning at a national, regional and local level is disjointed and not coordinated to ensure public bodies are focussing on the most important issues;
  • Welsh Government funding for community safety work is growing but these improvements are offset by cuts in Home Office grants and real terms reductions in police force and local authority budgets; and
  • It is difficult to measure the impact of different public bodies on addressing community safety.

This report also includes findings from a Wales Audit Office public survey, which highlights limited effective engagement with citizens and local communities by public bodies in setting their priorities and Welsh citizens have mixed views on how safe they feel.

Whilst the report highlights fourteen good practice case studies from all parts of Wales, much work remains to be done by public bodies to improve community safety. The report concludes with seven recommendations, which focus around improving strategic planning, partnership working and funding of community safety as well as improved engagement and communication with citizens.

Auditor General, Huw Vaughan Thomas said today: “Our latest report considers the work and performance of the public bodies responsible for community safety in Wales – the Welsh Government, the Home Office, Police and Crime Commissioners and local authorities. Our review provides a detailed analysis of current practices and highlights a range of weaknesses with the current arrangements. Given the importance citizens and communities place community safety, it is important that public bodies improve how they work together to keep us all safe and the recommendations I have made are focused on addressing the key challenges currently faced”