Victim's Services Re-design

Victims First: Adult Specialist Support


A short series of workshops were held with voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations in March 2018 to inform the redesign of services for victims with complex or multiple needs. This builds on learning from current services and previous engagement with VCS delivering and directly supporting such services. The discussion considered the principles and practical issues to inform the next stage of development and commissioning.

A tender is due to be issued in summer 2019, to award a contract by autumn 2019 with a view to working with the lead agency to establish a new service for April 2020.

Market Engagement Events:


Group discussions: VCS feedback from across the three workshops


  • The victim is accepted – not judged nor discriminated against
  • People leave feeling hope, and receive services that meet their needs (evidenced)
  • Victims seen as individuals and responses to reflect this, where service-users feel they ‘own’ outcomes
  • Avoid service-user fatigue (not having to tell their story over and over again)
  • A whole-family approach with one assessment to build in leverage and connections to other agencies
  • The victim is able to move on, cope and recover or moved on to appropriate support over time (not creating dependency) and able to be independent of services

Strong, confident governance

  • Simplicity for the victim: access and support including named key-worker
  • Strategy to manage capacity and waiting lists
  • Evidence of how staff are supported and developed, no “race to the bottom line”
  • Staff have robust processes for covering absence

Lead agency

  • A lead agency with a track record and experience of managing multi-disciplinary teams who knows Thames Valley
  • Use county areas as a starting point, where (some) co-location will be beneficial
  • The initial assessment is key; avoid adding an unnecessary tier
  • Secure strategic buy-in from statutory services
  • Bring services together in a multi-agency approach, connected to statutory and other services
  • Potential bottlenecks: mapping, data, local knowledge on what exists and what the needs are.

County/area manager:

  • Operational and professional: consistency across the region; multi-agency working; network and engagement with other organisations; risk analysis.

Key workers:

  • Consistency, trust and (long term) relationship, not to be precious about supporting victims by crime-type but also avoiding dilution of their specialist skills


  • Both crisis and long-term support, with meaningful service engagement (costed)
  • Provision for spot-purchasing other specialist services and support?
  • Enabling multi-agency working, maintaining and enhancing diversity of provision and specialist practice to ensure quality service

Social value:

  • Clear social value and emphasis on outcomes over costs (weighting)
  • Build sustainable support in local communities in relationships and partnerships with VCS
  • Real partnership and not “bid candy” led by VCS and evidence of partnership working
  • Inclusive to work with all victims referred to the service
  • Work-life balance, wellbeing and supervision of staff (including Living Wage, etc)
  • Designing and delivering services that empower victims.

Innovation/ quality:

  • Build in capacity and the potential to fail; build and sustain relationships and co-ordination (by the lead agency) across the region; people supported to deliver sustainable change
  • Minimise barriers to access and support for victims; flexible capacity to work over the long term
  • Demonstrate the empowerment of victims and of communities to support long term recovery.

Tender specification

  • Outcomes rather than outputs focus
  • Greater weighting of outcomes over cost in any tender
  • Service users get a service which meets their needs, able to define their own goals and outcomes, and including service-users in measures of outcomes and evaluation of the service
  • Service-user involvement needs resourcing, for meaningful, costed and paid time to individuals involved
  • To manage work over a wide geographical area requires clear measurement and tracking of changes (what makes it successful?); strategies for managing capacity (delivering and scaling-up the quality of services); understanding the remit and capacity of other local services.
  • Lead agencies must demonstrate local community knowledge of the area they cover and the clear ability to recruit and retain the level of specialist knowledge/ skills needed; and how work will interlink with existing services to avoid duplication of service or victims falling through gaps.

The events were facilitated by Citadel Policy and Communications Ltd on behalf of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

For further information contact: Jonathan Hopkins;


Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What would the TUPE requirements be for the new contract if it was awarded to a new supplier?

Regarding TUPE, although this is a matter between the out-going and in-coming provider, we are intending to take some legal advice about this which we will share with you all in due course.  However, based on our current knowledge of TUPE, we would suggest it is very likely to apply.  The reason we think that is that we see no reason why the current workforce would not be able to deliver the services required under the new arrangements.


Adult Specialist Support: unmet needs

Q. Are we clear what unmet need looks like?

  • The Victims First Hub currently receives 50-60 cases a month that meet the criteria for ‘complex needs’.
  • The planned service will support those referrals currently supported for Exploitation and Complex Needs (The Willow Project), Independent Sexual Violence Advisory service (ISVA), and Restorative Justice provision
  • With additional capacity for referrals from other sources and for victims not included under current arrangements: stalking/harassment, cyber blackmail, ASB, whole-family support (aggravated burglaries), domestic abuse (inter-familial, historic), and when needs are compounded by mental health problems too.


Management/ co-ordination

Q. What are the skills set needed to support management/co-ordination?

  • A core function is to manage multi-agency case-work and some co-location; and how to avoid the potential bottleneck of cases and support around a key worker(s)
  • The significant part of the role is to ensure Quality and Supervision; and how risk will be managed while victim goes through the various stages of their journey
  • Discussions with providers identified: risk management; up to date on regulations and horizon scanning of the policy landscape; engaging networks and building partnerships


Key workers

Q. To what extent will key workers directly support a victim and how much will they navigate other services and support for the victim to cope and recover?

  • Key workers will act as a multi-disciplinary team for assessment and case-management, supporting a victim to cope and recover while not creating dependency over time
  • Discussions with providers identified: the danger of dilution of specialist skills and professional roles; and how the team will include or link to skills and experience in related areas of Housing, Mental health and Safeguarding


Service demographic

Q. What is the demographic breakdown of referrals into the Victims First Hub?

Please see tables below showing breakdown of cases that have come through to the Hub (and been successfully contacted and referred on) in the 6 month period 1st Oct 2018 to 31st Mar 2019:-

In addition, the gender breakdown into the Hub is currently 54% females and 46% male (a small number ‘indeterminate’ – note, this is a police category -  or failed to disclose). 


Draft Specification

The draft specification is available to view in the link below. Any comments or feedback on this specification should be submitted by the end of Monday 10th June 2019 to Jonathan Hopkins;

Draft Specficaton


Market Engagement Events for previous commissioning 

For information on the engagement activities we carried out in 2017 visit our 'Market Engagement Events 2017' page


Victims First: Young Victims Service

The draft specification is available to view in the link below. Any comments or feedback on this specification should be submitted by 10am on Monday 24th June 2019 to Jonathan Hopkins;

Draft Specification - Young Victims Service



The final tender documentation will be found on Bluelight on the below link:


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