Agency Collaboration Fund: Another chance
Creating partnerships to prevent violence
We know that many children and young people at risk of becoming involved in violence are known to local statutory agencies such as police services, GP practices, schools and colleges and children’s services. Yet this knowledge is often fragmented across multiple organisations, with different people holding different pieces of the puzzle. Opportunities where agencies could and should work together effectively to better prevent children becoming involved in violence are missed.
To help understand where those opportunities are, we’re investing in our Agency Collaboration Fund. We want to understand if, how and when effective collaboration between agencies (and sometimes within agencies) can prevent children from involvement in violence.
Which partnership models work best to support children and young people and how?
How do local conditions and contexts affect change?
Which agency collaboration activities, interventions and approaches are most effective at preventing children and young people from becoming involved in violence?
In the first grant round of our Agency Collaboration Fund we’re investing in a multi-agency approach, which research has shown to be particularly effective at reducing violent crime: focused deterrence.
We want to build on the current evidence and improve our understanding of how agencies can best share data, power and information to successfully implement a focused deterrence approach.
Focused deterrence is an approach to violence reduction that was developed in Boston (USA) in the mid-1990s. It recognises that most serious violence is associated with a small group of people who are themselves very likely to be victims of violence, trauma and extremely challenging circumstances. Their involvement in violence is often driven by exploitation, victimisation and self-protection. Some versions of focused deterrence, including the original ‘Boston Ceasefire’ intervention of the 1990s, focus primarily on groups rather than individuals. These approaches recognise that violence is often driven by conflict between groups. If two groups are engaged in violent conflict, focusing on the individuals who have committed violent crime is unlikely to prevent future conflict between other members of the groups.
Focused deterrence for group violence attempts to identify:
Once identified, focused deterrence then offers support to young people, to help them stop their involvement in violence.
In summary, focused deterrence combines several strategies:
With the Home Office we’re investing £6 million in four different local partners to delivery focused deterrence projects in five locations:
In our consultation for this round, people told us that some children and young people become involved in violence without ever having accessed or effectively engaged with support services – even when those young people are known to statutory agencies. They told us that traditional support services have not been able to fully address the needs of these children and young people, and that agencies are often not collaborating as effectively as they could or should.
In our Toolkit, the evidence shows that focused deterrence could have a high impact on reducing violent crime. However, implementation in the UK to date has had mixed results (often because it’s quite complicated to manage all of the different agencies involved). That’s why we want to fund and evaluate more focused deterrence programmes in England and Wales. By finding out if and how focused deterrence works in our local communities, we can keep more children and young people safe from violence.