National strategy statement 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 is also important. Trustees (directors in Northern Ireland), who also give their time freely, collectively make sure 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 make sure that these are met

b. make sure 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

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.

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 making sure that our service is inclusive, and by fuller monitoring of service users.

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

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

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

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

i. strengthen mechanisms for managing conflicts within the organisation

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

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

top of page