Torbay Council (Unitary Authority)

Torbay Council is the local authority of Torbay in Devon, England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. It provides a full range of local government services.

The council is unusual in that its executive function is controlled by a directly elected mayor of Torbay, currently Gordon Oliver. Torbay is divided into 15 wards, electing 36 councillors. It has a population of 131,000 (2011 figures).

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

Torbay Council works closely with the wide range of partners that make up the Devon and Torbay Suicide Prevention Strategic Group. The three unitary authorities in Devon (Devon, Plymouth and Torbay) have come together through this group to agree an overarching strategic statement to be supported by localised suicide and self-harm prevention implementation plans for each of the three unitary authorities.

The Torbay Suicide and Self-harm prevention plan for 2018/19 can be found here. This is a multi-agency plan setting out ambitions from a wide range of partners. The Public Health team in Torbay Council will report regularly on progress made on the plan to the Health and WellBeing Board.

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What are your current priorities?

Training and awareness raising to enable people in communities to support each other is a key priority for Torbay along with appropriate bereavement services. Alongside these, the Public Health team in Torbay is keen to establish a mental wellbeing partnership to support work across the Bay on suicide and self-harm prevention and also on promoting mental wellbeing. There is support for such a partnership and we anticipate this beginning in late 2018.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

Whilst we have been able to increase the number of local trainers, for suicide awareness and connect5 for example, as a result of central funding we would wish to increase our capacity further. Resource constraints make this increasingly a challenge which we will need to meet through better joining up of existing trainers and being more creative in identifying alternative sources of funding.

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