Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To consider the draft Domestic Abuse Strategy and request for delegated responsibility. Under the Domestic Abuse Act, authorities are required to ensure domestic abuse services are available to all victims of domestic abuse and their children within safe accommodation. All tier 1 L.As were required to undertake a health needs assessment in relation to domestic abuse services with a view to identifying gaps in service provision. The health needs assessment included qualitative and quantitative data analysis, a TV wide survey and the commissioning of an external community engagement consultant. The health needs assessment informed the local domestic abuse strategy.
The Cabinet Member with the Stronger Communities Portfolio introduced the report of the Group Director of People (previously circulated) updating Members on the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and the work that is in progress to ensure the Council is ready to discharge its new responsibilities and requesting that delegations are agreed to enable decisions to be made within required timescales.
The submitted report stated that the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which received Royal Ascent and enacted on 29 April 2021, provided a statutory definition of domestic abuse; set out a range of initiatives to further improve the approach to supporting victims of domestic abuse; introduced a range of new duties for local authorities including addressing areas such as safe accommodation provision, support for victims and prioritisation of domestic abuse victims within homelessness applications; and required the development of a Domestic Abuse Strategy, which was a key element of the requirements for Local Authorities and would be based on a robust needs assessment to ensure that existing service provision and the development of new programmes were targeted appropriately to effectively discharge the statutory requirements of the Act.
It was reported that the Government provided the Council with a ‘New Burdens’ grant of £222,365 to support the implementation of the Act’s new requirements; no further funding would be available after 2021/22; any additional funding would be subject to the outcome of the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review; the Council was deemed a ‘Tier One’ authority which required it to develop and deliver the strategy and report back annually; the Domestic Abuse Strategy was required to be published before 5 January 2022; and the draft Domestic Abuse Strategy, which was currently being developed, would be published on 26 October 2021 for a period of 10 weeks.
In welcoming the report and the work that had been undertaken to date, Members made reference to the fact that there was still a lot of work to do to provide support to victims of domestic abuse; raised concerns around future funding; highlighted the importance of education; and the need to have the services in place when victims of domestic abuse were ready to seek support.
RESOLVED - (a) That the new responsibilities for the Council arising from the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, as detailed in the submitted report, be noted.
(b) That the production and publication of the draft and final Domestic Abuse Strategy (2021/24) and the associated Expenditure Plan and decisions taken thereunder, be delegated to the Group Director of People, in consultation with the Cabinet Member with the Stronger Communities Portfolio.
REASONS - (a) To enable the Council to effectively develop the Darlington Domestic Abuse Strategy (2021/24) and associated Expenditure Plan.
(b) To ensure that the key objectives of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 are met, and victims of domestic abuse and their children are supported within the Borough of Darlington.
(c) To enable the Council to comply with statutory timescales and make decisions arising from the new duties in a timely way.
Report author: Sarah Foster
Publication date: 11/10/2021
Date of decision: 05/10/2021
Decided at meeting: 05/10/2021 - Cabinet
Effective from: 19/10/2021