National Office strategic plan 2005-2008 - Enhancing professional standards

Our services to victims and witnesses, both specialist and generic, are mainly delivered by volunteers, who are managed by paid staff. The people who support victims and witnesses are members of the local community who give their time freely and who are independent of the criminal justice system. By carefully recruiting, training and supervising our volunteers, we help them achieve the highest professional standards in their work with victims and witnesses, while retaining the principles of voluntary work. Professional standards in the governance of our services are also important. Trustees (directors in Northern Ireland), who also give their time freely, collectively ensure that the vision and purpose of Victim Support is achieved. They are drawn from the local community, recruited for the skills and expertise they bring, and include representatives from other local organisations.

To build on our existing professional standards, we will:

a. Continue to develop standards for all our work and ensure that these are met.

In year one, we shall:

By year three, we shall have:

b. Ensure that our services are based on sound evidence of 'what works' in supporting victims and witnesses and that the levels of personal contact we achieve with victims and witnesses are appropriate to their needs.

In year one, we shall make sure that developing knowledge of what works - effective practice - is used in all our service development standard setting and training activity.

By year three, we shall be able to demonstrate that all Victim Support National standards, service frameworks, toolkits and guidance materials are based on sound evidence of 'what works'. This will help ensure that Victim Support adopts an evidence-based culture that permeates all our service delivery.

c. Develop our use of performance measures to help us improve our services and our accountability, and to demonstrate the value of our work. This will involve developing our use of IT facilities to collect accurate performance information.

In year one, we shall:

By year three, we shall have implemented the systems demonstrating continuing improvements and improved the dissemination of performance management information.

d. Demonstrate that our services are responsive to the needs of all people particularly those who are vulnerable to discrimination. We will do this by committing time and resources to ensuring that our service is inclusive, and by fuller monitoring of service users.

In year one, we shall continue to work in partnership with other organisations to improve the quality and accessibility of our services to victims and witnesses who experience disadvantage.

By year three, we shall have developed the scope and accuracy of our service user demographic monitoring and be able to demonstrate that relevant demographic information about our service users informs service development and planning.

e. Strengthen the governance of our services by clarifying the distinction between governance and management and the respective roles of trustees and staff.

In year one, we shall:

By year three, we shall have introduced across Victim Support standard practices for achieving appropriate distinctiveness of function between governance and management.

f. Ensure that our services are properly accountable to the local communities they serve.

In year one, we shall:

By year three, we shall have provided a range of tools and mechanisms for integrating accountability into all our work.

g. Review the effectiveness of local organisational structures and identify models of good practice that combine local accountability with effective governance.

In year one, we shall:

By year three, we shall have identified models of good practice and provided templates and guidance for implementation.

h. Improve the efficiency, speed and transparency of consultation and decision making in Victim Support to be proactive and responsive to the changing environment in which we work.

In year one, we shall:

By year three, we shall have implemented a matrix of decision-making methods.

i. Strengthen mechanisms for managing conflicts within the organisation.

In year one, we shall:

By year three, we shall have established formal and informal dispute resolution systems for internal conflicts.

j. Ensure that all our personnel are competent to perform their roles effectively and that they are accountable.

In year one, we shall analyse all roles and develop a plan to implement a competence based approach, including management, monitoring and accountability.

By year three, we shall have developed and implemented a plan to apply a competence-based approach to recruitment and management of staff, volunteers and trustees. We shall have adopted a range of tools for managers and a learning framework to ensure implementation.

k. Consolidate our procedures for risk audit and management for example in relation to data security and business continuity.

In year one, we shall undertake a revised risk audit.

By year three, we shall have implemented updated controls.

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