I attended Takeover Day at the Police and Crime Commission Office on Friday, 22nd November 2013. I wasn’t too sure about how the day would pan out, but I found it excellent – it was fun and very informative, and during the course of the day we took part in several activities designed to help us understand the responsibilities and activities of the Police and Crime Commissioner and his team.
The ‘Takeover Team’ consisted of eight students: three year 11 pupils from Oaklands School in Waterlooville, and five members of the Hampshire Youth Commission, ranging in age from 15 to 20.
We started the day with introductions, both of ourselves and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner from Rob Jarman, the Deputy Commissioner, who gave us an overview of what the OPCC does. We then had a tour of the offices and were introduced to the other members of staff who briefly described what they did. It was interesting to chat to the staff to learn about their roles.
Next we had the commissioning exercise, with 2 members of staff who work with Simon Hayes on allocating funding, Alan and Caroline. In this exercise we learnt about the problems facing Commissioners when people or groups ask for funding, how they prioritise and decide who to award money to, as well as what the groups have to prepare and include in their submission to the Commissioner. We were split into two groups both containing three members, one focusing on ‘Drugs and Alcohol Misuse’, and my group thinking about ‘Healthy/Respectful Relationships’. After some discussion we presented our project proposal to the panel of Commissioners, briefly describing what we would plan on doing, our proposed pilot scheme, how we would spend the money, how we would find out if people are being affected, where and who we would aim our pilot at, and how we know if we have achieved our objective and helped the people being affected. We had to calculate the funding we would require from the PCC based on how long our pilot scheme would last for, prices for office supplies, who we would employ, etc. The presentation felt a bit like Dragons' Den ! There was a big difference between the groups, especially in the amount of money being asked for. Our group focused on domestic abuse; we decided that children learn from their parents and if one or both of their parents is abusing them or their other parent, they could learn the behaviour was acceptable and they may copy the action, increasing the problem. We asked for £17,500 to run a pilot, whereas the other group asked for £200,000 to fund their proposal, a huge difference of £182,500.
We then had the opportunity to create and design marketing materials with Emma for the planned Police and Crime Commission Work Placement Programme, working in 2 groups of 4 people. We came up with designs for a logo, website pages, and materials to advertise work placements, postcards and posters, which we then presented to the Communications team. This was great, as our ideas will actually be used on the PCC’s website and as promotional ideas!
After lunch we had a mini COMPASS (Commissioner's Performance, Accountability, Scrutiny and Strategy meeting) session on Anti-Social Behaviour, for the first part we asked our questions to Simon Hayes and then it was our turn to be questioned by Simon Hayes. We gave Simon our perspective, giving him our ideas on what we think causes Anti-Social Behaviour, such as peer pressure and boredom. Like all COMPASS meetings, the meeting was recorded and will be put up on the PCC’s website.
We finished our day with a round up, the students and PCC staff discussing what we all thought of the day, what we learnt from each other and will take away. Overall I think the day was a great experience. The best bit for me being the commissioning process exercise, learning how services are commissioned as well as some of the complexities involved in funding them.
The day gave me an insight into the work Hampshire’s PCC, Simon Hayes and his office, and in particular their decision making processes, and some of the challenges they face. I enjoyed meeting and working with the Takeover team on the exercises, and having the opportunity to discuss our views on the PCC’s activities and priorities with Simon and his staff.