Secucities Partnerships: report of the seminar held in Valencia on 8 and 9 June 2001

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The following were present at the seminar in Valencia [1] :

Mr Claude Jacquier, Researcher with CNRS, France
Ms Leah Janss Lafond, Healthy Policy Specialist, UK [2]
Miss Laurence Jamotte, Secretary for Prevention Policy, Belgium
Mr Pablo Alonso, Minister responsible for policies in large cities, Belgium
Ms Carmo Tovar, Primus, Porto, Portugal
Paulo Barros, Primus, Porto, Portugal
Mr Jean-Christian Sionsoillez, Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur Region, France
Mr Francisco Hernandez Diaz, Valencia, Spain
Ms Rosa Bardisa, Valencia, Spain
Ms Alice Paya, Valencia, Spain

The aims of the seminar:

The first seminar, which took place on March 2nd-3rd 2001 gave the opportunity to define the priorities within the framework of the study as well as to form an appropriate work methodology.  It had been agreed that the main objectives of the Valencia seminar would be:

Update the bibliography available on the subject
Continue with deciding on what to work
And present concrete examples of partnership or contractual practices as part of the fight against social exclusion (from the project’s partners’ experience) in order to analyse the good practices.

Besides a brief presentation on the state of the programme’s research, the opening of the seminar reiterated the concept of exclusion and the notion of the partnership within the fight against social exclusion, so that the partners were able to react [3].  The partners’ subjects and reactions are from now on focusing once again on the major issues.

Regarding exclusion:

During the 80s, there was a move from the notion of conflict to the notion of exclusion.  This change in perception involved the idea that no-one is responsible for exclusion (Claude Jacquier). Furthermore, the notion of exclusion was agreed upon and allowed political and administrative reforms to take place.  Finally, it was emphasised that the notion of exclusion conveyed a negative image and was therefore gradually replaced by the concept of inclusion.

Regarding the partnership:

The terms partnership and government assume the need to put complex measures in place as a response to the ever increasing complexity of our societies.  Horizontal policies have in part prevented, through development, partnership policies fighting against social exclusion from becoming over-complex.

As for contracts, it has been emphasised that they have not been used in the same way in all areas. In a contractual policy scheme as part of the fight against social exclusion, you cannot often “break” the contract, and it is also difficult to evaluate it.  Often in such a scheme, there are two states involved: the State that signs the contract on the one hand, and the State that controls it on the other.  The partnership never makes two states oppose each other, so that conflict is minimised.

1. The partnership in the Health cities:

The Health city network’s approach develops as follows:

Obtain an explicit political engagement at the highest level of the city, from where the partnership is managed (i.e. the person responsible for health)
Establish new organisational structures to manage the change
Launch a Health plan, based on a cross-industry partnership [4] ;
Promote cooperation.

In the same way, the necessary conditions and infrastructure to launch City Health systems are the following:

Formation of a cross-industry Committee comprising political and administrational decision makers
Hiring of a full time coordinator with administrative support
Commitment to allocate the necessary resources to put the Health cities Network’s strategies in place
Examination of the management of the system
Demonstration that the population is willing to take part
Launch of a communication strategy.

In order to present the example of the Health cities, Ms Janss Lafond choose to take the example of Rotterdam [5] (Netherlands) which has developed a system of indicators, called a “Health barometer”, which includes:

The quality of the environment
The local surroundings
Ways of life

These indicators together show the results in different districts of the city.  Evaluating the different districts could take place in three stages as follows:

1. Analysis: studying the results of the indicators
2. Discussion with the public
3. Launching of a strategy and a plan of action.

Once the strategy is ready to be launched, the coordinator must find an office in the area so that they are able to react quickly to or anticipate any difficulties that may arise in the area.

Definitively, the main effect of this type of policy is better cooperation, both between the organisations involved in dealing with the problems found in the neighbourhoods as well as with the local communities. The final result is an increase in social cohesion in the neighbourhoods where these policies are launched.

From a more general point of view, it has been agreed that the methodological support from organisations such as the WHO or the EFUS makes exchanges of experiences at a local level easier and also allows policies which are more relevant to the local area to be developed.  Such exchange networks give legitimacy to the cities’ actions.

However, for health as well as other issues concerned with social exclusion, evaluation of the partnership is key but remains difficult to achieve conclusively.

2. The partnership in the field of security: the P.A.CA Region., security contracts in Belgium:

The PACA Region

Three types of scheme from the P.A.C.A. Region have been successively studied.  Their main points are underlined here:

Local Security Contracts

Before coming to the example of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region, let’s briefly remind ourselves of the main characteristics contractual security policies in France.  Local Security Contracts (LSCs), created by the act of October 28th 1997[6], constitute the centre piece of the new security policy.  They must focus on three areas:

Every contract must be preceded by a security evaluation focusing on: a report of the crime situation, an evaluation of the feelings of insecurity and an analysis of the responses to the contract
The contract must include these three elements: a definition of the priorities, details of the scheme’s plan, and the involvement of every partner in implementing the scheme, so that the aims can be achieved
Finally, the LSCs must be monitored and evaluated.

The question raised by the introduction of this type of policy is not surprising, it deals with evaluating the impact of the policy [7].

The priority for the PACA Region is registering itself for security partnership policies and to therefore avoiding direct intervention (for example demands for arms or CCTV equipment from the city police), for which the region has neither responsibility nor expertise.  The launch of the LSCs showed itself to be an ideal opportunity for the region to obtain a favourable position relative to sensitive security questions asked in the communes.  The region is currently a partner to 32 communes within the whole of the territory (see attached table), with varied involvement, but the aim is always to reach a contractual global security and crime prevention policy and consequently an action programme relative to this policy.  In these communes, the Local Security Contracts led to a important study of their actions: for example in Marseille, where four commissions are based (transport, access to Law, preventing repeat offenders and teenage delinquency) as well as a certain number of essential files (public building sites, homeless teenagers, transport security etc.), as well as Avignon, Nice (at the heart of the Communal Council for Crime Prevention), Aubagne and Martigues etc.  In every case effective participation in the steering committees led to the schemes being monitored and a direct relationship with the project manager being formed in the involved cities.

Justice within the framework of the State/Region Contract plan

The development of a contract plan allowed a partnership with the Ministry of Justice to be formalised. It has been decided that, for an agreement which deals with Justice and requires the financial and political input of the local communities, it is best to organise and assess these actions at a regional level.  In fact, one of the consequences of commune programmes (which must be respected) is that development can be seen to take place unevenly throughout the commune.  The following aspects must respect a regional parity: the courts of Law and Justice, youth detention centres, the ways to teach delinquent children, alternatives to imprisonment and the ways to deal with homeless people.
To form a Committee for legal actions, the State/Region Contract Plan will be preceded by a working group composed of the General Secretary for Regional Affairs, the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur Regional Council, the Court of Appeal, the regional representatives for the organisation Legal Protection for Youths, and from the Regional Prison Administration.  This working group will try to monitor and evaluate all court actions in the Region.

Contractualisation of transport

The contractualisation of transport is directly linked to the fight against social exclusion where the aim is to improve transport security and more generally to fight against what is known as spatial segregation.

The Regional Transport Authorities decided to pay particular interest to this question.  Monitoring this issue was not easy due to the complexity of the partnership (in particular the SNCF).  At the same time, it was agreed that contractualisation of a regional security policy should happen in order to allow a more organised political and technical co-direction.  This should be take place by 2001.  The President of the Security Commission and the new Regional Director of the SNCF have already agreed on the principle of this contractualisation as well as its evaluation.

There are currently three places which have Local Security “Transport” Contracts: Marseille, Avignon and the Alpes-Maritimes Department (in the process of signing, which should be completed before the summer of 2001).  Besides these examples, it is likely that this type of approach will be developed in other large cities around the country.

Security Contracts in Belgium

Melle Laurence Jamotte presented to the partners the story of how Security Contracts originated and how they work [8].

The introduction of Security Contracts in 1992 in Belgium happened at a time when this concept was still new, and there were many influences to consider: evaluation of local conditions through human sciences and criminology, influence of organisations such as the European Forum for Urban Safety and the influence of the media on speeches of local elected representatives during periods marked by dramatic events.

For the contracts which continue year after year and which include two different sides (one preventative and one repressive), it is the Interior Ministry which is in charge.  Other difficulties included the self-evaluation system (is self-evaluation the best way to carry out evaluation?) and few citizens took part.

Finally, it must be noted that in the case of government schemes carried out at a local level, the geographical repartition of these partnership plans depends on the political context, with cities where the majority of the local elected representatives belong to the party in power having a priority in these schemes).  It is apparent that the duration of the contracts (i.e. annual in Belgium or undetermined in France) influences their ability to obtain long-term partnerships, especially if the contract directly finances the employment of staff who are only working for the money, not because they are devoted to the idea as well.  The risk of increasing instability amongst these people undeniably damages the partnerships’ chance of success.

3. City Policies

The example of contracts in Belgium:

The government uses incentives for financing, that is to say the cities try to achieve predetermined aims, which reflect the aspirations of the people living in the problematic districts.

Contracts have been agreed with the five largest cities in the country (Anvers, Charleroi, Gent, Liege and Brussels – in Brussels, it is not the whole of the city but rather 7 communes which have particular problems that are involved).  It is the communes which propose the projects, which will then be entirely subsidised by the state.  These projects should have the following objectives:

To improve people’s way of life
To improve the people’s quality of life
To improve safety
To revive the economy

Particular attention is paid to employment policy and social integration.  These contracts are fully aimed towards the fight against social exclusion.

From a technical point of view, the government minister responsible for the policies of large cities must identify and coordinate a proactive city policy, in cooperation with the national, regional and community authorities.  During an inter-ministerial city conference, he could propose specific intervention areas, in which positive discrimination measures could be taken.

In fact, the Belgian administration has launched what could be described as an “offer” for the Belgian communes: the cities must define a project within the framework of the final objectives.  The contract, which is envisaged as an impetus and not as a catalyst, is renewed each year.  The commune benefiting from the project must be able to illustrate results both in terms of quantity and quality.

The Shaerbeck Study Contract showed that despite the contract’s general action framework, it is the question of safety which remains ever present.  As a case in point, let’s use the example of the chapters Improving life and Life Conditions, which include respectively measures such as the recruitment of auxiliary police and the purchase of CCTV equipment.  For these points the project received “positive feedback” from the government, whereas measures such as paying for a new sports hall, hiring a moderator to consult the residents or forming a welcome centre received negative feedback.  The priority, although the Belgium Security Contracts do not finance recruiting auxiliary police, is still hiring new people to ensure a certain police presence on the streets, thus fighting against the feelings of insecurity that many residents harbour.

You can easily realise the effect of the political agenda on local elected representatives’ policies.  This does not constitute moreover a criticism of the local elected representatives’ attitudes in their use of partnerships.  It is more about illustrating that certain areas, such as security, promote contractual approaches.

Porto’s Contract:

A remarkable fact is that the contract in operation in Porto was inspired by the Security Contract in Liege, which demonstrates the interest and above all the effectiveness of exchanges of practices within the European Union.

This contract, which is the first of its kind in Portugal, is principally targeting insecurity.  The City Council is following a report, which states the need to develop schemes designed to fight insecurity in an integrated way.  These schemes can be categorised under four headings:

Young People and Outreach programmes: launch of schemes to fill young people’s free time and prevent drug use
Drugs: promoting the treatment and integration of drug users
Helping victims of prostitution: creating a Information and Help centre for prostitutes
Victim support: the creation of a safe house for women who are victims of violence.

Furthermore, a Permanent Safety Observatory has been launched in order to study problems linked to insecurity in Porto and to direct the implementation of other actions.

This city contract is divided up into districts, with the government financing schemes in the poorest districts.  The City Council is in charge of all the programmes overall which form the city contract.  An evaluation is currently underway on the effects of this contractual programme and we will analyse the programme’s final report.

The Seminar’s Conclusion (Mr Claude Jacquier):

Even before asking how the partnership works, we must focus on the question of exclusion.  The latter term does not affect the vast majority of society, but saying that there is exclusion is above all saying that there is cohesion.

With regards to the partnership, as Machiavelli put it “men only leave the convenience of the existence of their life for need”, i.e. the partnership acted as it was needed in the regions where local policies were no longer working.

It must be added that there are some fields, such as health, security or education where partnerships would be possible.  These large fields are in sorts “integrating issues” as they facilitate the forming of partnerships.

The passage to a policy of “doing with” (the partnership) presumes a journey from investment to operation.  The work and methods involved require much longer than the length of an electoral mandate.  This movement from the “back office” to the “front office” involves having more abilities than those required for policies introduced by only one administration.

This new form of response in terms of the policy regarding social exclusion involved rethinking even how the organisations which form the partnership operate.  The partnership could from now on be seen as a Trojan Horse, in transforming the partners and their careers.  The question remains despite these slow transformations, of how to make an impact in time?

The issue of time returns us to evaluation.  Elections could become a way to evaluate politicians who intervene in the partnerships.  Politicians must show that they are having a real impact on the way that projects are managed; an initiative that they started.

Finally, the question of partnerships which began with the issue of reform, leads us to ask once again how societies world wide operate.  It has generally been agreed that the world economic crisis has finished, therefore the need to put into place a partnership to fight against social exclusion shows us that we have also partly forgotten the effects that is had on family structures, which has led to problems in the community systems.  Therefore clearly the role of the partnership is to rebuild this domestic economy in the social sense of the word.
[1] The following were present on behalf of the European Forum for Urban Safety: Ms Clotilde Tascon-Mennetrier, Programme Director, and Mr Jean-Paul Buffat, Project Manager.
[2] Replacing Mr Agis Tsouros, who was not able to attend.
[3] The preparatory text for the seminar will be linked here.
[4] In the case of Rotterdam, the main partners involved are: social services, the Board of Education, the Sports Delegation, the local councillors and the local health trust.
[5] See Rotterdam in the World Health Organisation’s newsletter, Urban Voice, n.3 vol.1, December 2000.
[6] Up until this point, the around 425 Local Security Contracts have been signed, with another 287 currently being developed.
[7] This key question was notably raised recently during the Conference at La Villette on June 25th 2001.
[8] In order to avoid repetitions, the preparatory text for the seminar will be linked here.