Last year we heard that all ICV schemes in the country were eligible for an award from the Independent Custody Visiting Association – the national body which supports, leads and represents local custody visiting schemes.
I remember the initial email explaining that all ICV schemes would be able to work towards these Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) awards. I opened the email and gulped, eyes wide like a rabbit in headlights, then got up to make a cup of tea and sat back down to digest the task ahead.
Reading through the criteria for each level of the award, I was confident we were fully Code Compliant. For the Silver level we hit about 40% of the targets; Gold 20%; and as for Platinum – Eek!!
It wasn’t really down to me to make the decision about which level we went for. Whilst I’d do the paperwork and presenting, it would be the ICVs themselves who’d have to update, change or work with any new processes – so the QAF working group was formed to discuss the awards.
After the initial meeting and showing the areas we’d need to evidence, we decided to aim high; we’d just see how it went and review it along the way. After a few months which passed by very quickly, I presented what had been done and the decision was taken to go for the Platinum level.
The fantastic news came through in April that we were one of only two schemes in the country to be granted Platinum status – the highest that can be awarded! We were all absolutely thrilled.
The last year has at times been hard work -but all our ICVs have engaged and supported what was required. The changes we’ve made to ensure that a detainee’s welfare is looked after (which is our common purpose) and that they’re treated with dignity have all been acknowledged and reflected in the award we’ve achieved.
On 15th May my manager Graham and I travelled up to the House of Lords to receive the award. It was a fantastic day, and to be invited to such an amazing place was so special. We listened to some great guest speakers and then had time to mingle and catch up with all the other schemes which had all done amazingly well.
So what’s next? We have to maintain the Outstanding status we’ve achieved, while looking at areas where improvements can be made. I’m so proud to call myself the Sussex ICV Manager – and we couldn’t have achieved this award without working as a team. So thank you to all the volunteers, to ICVA for their continued support and to Sussex Police who involve us in all things to do with Custody.
Our ICV scheme thoroughly deserves its Platinum recognition. It means we’re doing the very best we can – and we’ll continue to do so. If you live In Sussex and would like to be part of the ICV scheme then please email me at [email protected]