West Yorkshire’s biggest victim support charity says it faces “uncertainty” over how much funding it will get for the coming year and has told some staff they are at risk of redundancy.
Victim Support says a final agreement has still not been reached with Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioners over funding for local victim services, despite new arrangements needing to be in place by April 1.
The uncertainty means it has begun consulting with its Yorkshire staff and it says when the talks are concluded more than 70 staff across the region could be at risk of redundancy.
West Yorkshire’s PCC has said the uncertainty is due to the services being planned on a region-wide basis “and the negotiations with Victim Support are ongoing in other Police and Crime Commissioner areas”.
Responsibility for funding victim support services, which cost millions of pounds a year across Yorkshire, is passing from the Ministry of Justice to PCCs.
The uncertainty about the funding Victim Support will receive and the possibility of redundancies means the charity must consult with staff potentially affected and put them on notice.
The charity helps people cope with the effects of crime, by providing free and confidential support and information.
Karen Froggatt, North Locality Director for Victim Support, said: “Our local managers are working closely with the Police and Crime Commissioners on securing future funding for local victim services in the region, and we hope to have news about that very soon.
“Our teams have a good relationship with the Police and Crime Commissioners who are very supportive of our work. In the meantime, because there is some uncertainty about the level of our funding for the next financial year, we began consulting with our staff across Yorkshire and Humber.
“The outcome of those talks, which are due to end this month, may result in some staff being put at risk of redundancy. We are fully committed to supporting all of our staff during this period of uncertainty.”
West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “Here in West Yorkshire I value the work of Victim Support and the dedication of its staff and volunteers and have committed not only to retaining the current service but enhancing the support the organisation provides to victims, including through the recently launched Help for Victims website.
“However although my office worked to prevent this, Victim Support staff have unfortunately been put on notice.
“The reason for this is that the service Victim Support currently provides is commissioned regionally and the negotiations with Victim Support are ongoing in other Police and Crime Commissioner areas.
“I have spoken to my colleagues and reassured Victim Support that West Yorkshire remain committed and I hope that any outstanding issues can be resolved in the near future in order to give staff the security they deserve.”