• Norwood Forum

Norwood Community Safety Partnership

The purpose of this new Norwood Forum project, the Norwood Community Safety Partnership, is to provide clarity on the reorganisation and purpose of Lambeth Health, Welfare and Policing Structures. The Forum is also planning guidance on how and where to get advice and assistance, and also ways you might choose to get involved both personally and through your organisation.

This is highly complex, and Forum Committee Member Philip Virgo has been deeply involved in piecing together the detailed picture. As we plan our way forward, our initial focus will be on:

  • violence reduction
  • youth inclusion
  • on-line security.

Please email Norwood Forum on: csp@norwoodforum.org if you, or an organisation you are involved with, are interested in being involved.

The Background
Reorganisation of Lambeth Health, Welfare and Policing Structures

A year ago attendees at the Lambeth 1st Annual Partnership Conference were told by the Lambeth Council Leader and Chief Executive that resources would need to be concentrated on those who could not help themselves. Others were to be encouraged and supported to come together and do so. The collective message from the representatives of the voluntary groups was they were willing, but they wanted to know what was already being done and to have continuity of contact with Lambeth.

Much has changed since then.      

As part of the local implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan, the Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group is transforming into the South East London Commissioning Alliance to reduce management costs. Local funding and delivery will be increasingly devolved to Primary Care Networks based on 'voluntary' clusters of GP practices. Those covering Norwood are the Old Dairy (Paxton Green, the Old Dairy and Brockwell Park) and BHP/Effra (Herne Hill, North Wood, Deerbrook, Brixton Hill and Knights Hill. The catchment areas for both networks straddle the Lambeth - Southwark border and Healthwatch Lambeth is already organising joint activities with Healthwatch Southwark.

Over the past year Lambeth has begun restructuring its childrens, adult and mental welfare operations under Lambeth Together with four delivery alliances:

One early deliverable is a Youth Outreach programme focused on some of the most disadvantaged parts of Gipsy Hill being organised by a consortium led by the Rathbone Society.

Meanwhile the Metropolitan Police have merged the Lambeth and Southwark Commands, including schools liaison activities which are to be extended into primary schools. This has delayed the implementation of the changes to the terms of reference and structure of the Lambeth Safer Neighbourhood Board proposed after a major consultation a couple of years ago. Norwood has the great advantage that the Safer Neighbourhood Teams for Gipsy Hill, Knights Hill and Thurlow Park are based at Gipsy Hill Police station alongside those for Dulwich Wood  and Dulwich Village.

As yet frontline delivery has not been joined up across organisational boundaries at the local level. One of the core objectives of the Norwood Community Safety Partnership (NCSP) is to use voluntary co-operation to facilitate this process, piloting processes which respect, build on and join up the evolving Lambeth, NHS and Police frameworks.

Residents Priorities?
Identifying and Addressing resident’s priorities in one of London’s most diverse communities

The consultations conducted by Lambeth for the Co-operative Local Investment Plan indicated common priorities (e.g. transport) but also significant differences between those who responded on-line and those questioned in the street (e.g. environment versus skills and jobs). The analyses in the  Lambeth Annual Public Health Report (People, Place and Opportunity) and the differences between registered patients and residents as identified by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) help explain these.

The 44,500 residents of Norwood comprise one of the most socially diverse populations in London, let alone the UK. Multi-millionaires live on the same street as migrant workers in residential hostels. 58% of the residents of Gipsy Hill are in the top quintile for deprivation. Thurlow Park has under 14% and is in the bottom quintile. The area is culturally and linguistically diverse. 32% of residents were born outside the UK. 25% have a non-UK passport. There are problems of communication with transient residents (turnover is over 13% p.a.). Perhaps most worrying is the combination of deprivation and social isolation. Nearly 40% of adult residents live alone or in single parent families: never been married/had a partner, separated/divorced, or widowed.

It may be that the problems are compounded by the growing switch to on-line services, to 'improve efficiency' and cut costs. Recent ONS data indicates less than half of UK adults have completed a government form on-line. Most pensioners have not gone on-line, save to read emails, in the last three months. Publicity for on-line fraud, combined with personal experience and the lack of access to realistic security education and support, appears to have bred fear and a reluctance to go on-line unless there is very good reason to do so, or there is someone trusted available to help.

Meanwhile reported crime, apart from sporadic violence (e.g. shootings and stabbings), is below average for London (let alone Lambeth). The area is therefore low on policing priorities. The task is to make better use of the resources already available within the community and draw in those interested in piloting new approaches, within the 'public health' strategy adopted by Lambeth and its partners. That strategy already involves working with a variety of providers, including Thamesreach and the Rathbone Society, both supported by City of London Livery Companies.    

Extending that approach to working with the many faith, residents, tenants, youth and other voluntary groups active in Norwood is hampered because most of the necessary contact files were deleted to comply with the new General Data Protection Regulations. Rebuilding them is complicated by an almost universal reluctance to provide personal (as opposed to organisational) contact details, lest these be leaked and/or abused.

First and Second Steps
The first step is to build contact files covering those who want to work together

The need is not just to enable those planning new initiatives to know what is already happening or to invite bids for funding. It is to enable existing groups to tell each other and local residents what they are doing. Shared contact lists have to be based on informed consent. This is best collected in the context of invitations to share information on what your group is doing or planning, to receive information on what others are doing/planning which may be of interest and/or to receive information on funding opportunities and/or shared events.

Then we need to build on what exists, filling in the gaps
Norwood Forum is planning a round table discussion workshop on Thursday 17 October (date and venue to be confirmed) for those interested in working together to achieve shared objectives and/or produce/promote a shared programme to educate and inform their target audiences. The expectation is that the NCSP will work towards holding public meetings. Areas for discussion will include our initial focus on:

Other subjects for round table discussions, if not necessarily public meetings, might be to bring together those concerned with issues of isolation, parenting and sexual health.

Please email Norwood Forum on: csp@norwoodforum.org for an invitation, with a note on which areas you or your organisation are interested in.

What can you do?
In the meantime, everyone can get involved. Those interested in improving local provision might consider:

      •   Joining the patient practice group of your GP practice. These are likely to become the prime channel for organising local health awareness and education events
      •   Joining your local Safer Neighbourhood Partnership and/or neighbourhood watch. These are the prime source of community contact for non-emergency intelligence led policing
      •   Joining your local tenants or residents group and organise social events for your isolated neighbours.

Norwood Forum can help put you in touch with the right people, email us on: csp@norwoodforum.org