Last reviewed 1 June 2021

Guidance has been published which gives information and practical steps on how to carry out a strategic needs assessment (SNA) for serious violence under the new Serious Violence Duty.

This comes as the forthcoming new duty in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 will include a requirement for local partnerships to complete an SNA to understand how violence is affecting their communities and to help them develop a response strategy. It should be used alongside the Serious Violence Duty: Draft Guidance, here.

The responsible authorities in the Serious Violence Duty include clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local authorities as well as the police, fire and rescue authorities, and justice organisations.

Educational institutions, prisons and youth custodial institutions will be under a separate duty to cooperate with the responsible authorities, but they can choose to collaborate voluntarily with the Serious Violence Duty.

The new duty will create the conditions for responsible authorities to collaborate and communicate regularly, share information and take effective coordinated action in their local areas. All organisations and agencies subject to the duty will be accountable for their activity and cooperation with each other.

An SNA is a process where local partner organisations work together to assess the current and future health, care and wellbeing needs of a defined population, which then informs decision making and helps partners agree on priorities and allocate resources. A Serious Violence SNA has a specific focus on violence-related needs within a local area, helping local partners to identify people and groups who are most vulnerable to being or becoming victims or perpetrators of violence.

The SNA process will involve a wide range of partners and stakeholders in local health, care, education, employment and justice systems. The list includes authorities and organisations that are not subject to the Serious Violence Duty but whose knowledge and intelligence will be an integral part of forming a picture of how violence affects a local area.

Primary care organisations hold information including Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) services, where these are commissioned, and numbers of patients with domestic violence and abuse recorded on their electronic patient record.

The guidance is available at: