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The importance of information and data sharing has been the most cited recommendation in government and government commissioned reports in recent years; with domestic abuse, guns, gangs and youth violence and child sexual exploitation being some of the most recently reported upon following serious and woeful system failures up and down the country.

What, however, is information sharing worth if nothing is done with that information and if the right tools are not in place to actually take that intelligence and turn it into action and change? We have been working to refocus organisations away from simply recording action taken and to think about the offender, or the victim at the beginning of the chain and what actions need to take place in order for change to be implemented. Thinking about what change or outcome is needed, rather than simply how best to record it, will see a significant shift in results and outcomes for organisations from police to probation and beyond.

It is with this in mind that we have recently shifted the focus of our pam brand. For many years we have focussed on helping organisations get ‘better results, together’. We have been very successful in doing so, and this does, of course, remain a core goal for us. However, we have recently felt a growing sense of inertia within multi-agency working in the public sector. Due to the structural changes and uncertainty within these organisations, there is now far less resource to deliver the systemic and holistic change that is needed. There are a great number of unsettling factors at play currently; the general election, police funding cuts, Transforming Rehabilitation. All these things are good reasons to do nothing and to wait until the lie of the land is more predictable and more settled, but... what if all of these things are actually great reasons to do something? This is why we have shifted our strap line focus to ‘make it happen’. As a change-psychology based organisation much of our supportive energy and what pam does, is actually helping make that change happen, and enabling those results. 

By ‘making it happen’ we are urging public sector organisations to, yes, share information - we all know that information shared intelligently will help to ensure tragic cases such as Baby P and Victoria Climbe don’t happen again - but importantly to do it now.  It can be overwhelming to sit and consider the sheer number of people and agencies that we all come into contact with on a daily basis who could be there to help. For example, who knew that veterinary practices could be used to help identify those at risk of domestic abuse? Those who abuse family members often do the same to pets. When it comes to spotting the signs of child abuse the list of those who come into contact with a vulnerable child is endless – and yet signs still get missed and communication still breaks down. 

Once an organisation has embraced the importance of sharing information, it is the next steps that are so vital. Without analysis of evidence, database build-up of repeat offenders, management of those offenders and the ability to map their activities and consistently manage the risks, very little will change.
We have worked with police, probation and organisations such as GAIN (Government Agency Intelligence Network) for many years and have seen real changes to the way they’re tackling information sharing. They’re also developing new ways of identifying patterns of behaviour and the links between serious and organised crime groups, criminal individuals and repeat offenders is becoming clear. This is leading to real changes and innovations in these areas of work.

No public sector organisation is immune to the need to share information, work better together and to do it quickly and efficiency. The public have no appetite for a repeat of the failures to protect young girls from exploitation and abuse that took place in Rotherham. Change needs to happen and it needs to happen now. Probation is no different; CRCs can lead the way by providing a platform for themselves and partners to work together, share information, meet offender targets and make real changes within communities. This need for more communication between formal government agencies is matched with the need for those agencies to be able to speak to the smaller, often voluntary, organisations that see vulnerable people at ground level – these smaller cogs in the system are often the most useful and yet least engaged. The opportunities for CRCs to lead the way here carry great reward.

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