Cheshire PEEL 2014
How well the force delivers value for money
HMIC found that Cheshire Constabulary has made good progress in saving money and has made strenuous efforts to make savings in areas that limit the impact on frontline policing. The force is well placed to continue providing effective policing and to face future financial challenges.
Cheshire is on track to meet its financial challenge of the spending review period and also for the year beyond, in 2015/16. In terms of 2016/17, there is an agreed timeline for developing and refining budget plans.
The force has a proven track record of meeting financial challenges while, at the same time, providing high-quality community policing to those working and living in Cheshire. The force’s change programme is developing how policing will be provided more efficiently, and with fewer resources, in the future. HMIC found that the way the force manages change is a real strength. Its programme is well led and ownership is shared widely among senior management and staff throughout the organisation. There was a complete change in the leadership team by the summer of 2014, and HMIC is reassured that there are good systems and processes in place, and that the force is well placed to face future challenges.
To what extent is the force efficient?
Cheshire Constabulary has a good understanding of the demand it faces. Further analysis is now underway to establish how much resource will be required to provide policing in the future.
The force takes steps to make the most efficient use of police time and has a ‘systems thinking’ approach to re-engineering processes and designing better services for the public.
The force makes good use of its information about the nature of demand. Crime is closely monitored so that action can be taken to tackle problem areas, and information is used to target problem-solving activities.
Recorded crime has continued to fall in Cheshire over the spending review period, and in the last 12 months it has fallen at a faster rate than in the rest of England and Wales.
To what extent is the force taking steps to ensure a secure financial position for the short and long term?
Cheshire Constabulary has clear plans in place to achieve all of the £6.7m savings needed in 2014/15, and a further £6.1m in 2015/16.
The force already has a proven track record of meeting financial challenges. Cheshire’s planning processes are a strength and give confidence that savings will continue to be achieved.
The force’s plans for 2016/17 and beyond are less well-developed and are currently being considered by the new chief officer team that came into post over summer 2014. However, there is an agreed timeline for developing and refining budget plans. It is likely that any savings needed can be achieved.
To what extent has the force got an affordable way of providing policing?
The force has had a strong focus on reducing non-pay costs and where possible protecting frontline budgets. The force has made fewer of its savings from cutting staff than other forces.
The force is open to considering all forms of collaboration if they can be of benefit, and it has developed a range of arrangements.
Collaboration is expected to contribute to 12 percent of the force’s savings requirement, compared to 10 percent for England and Wales.
Leading and managing change is a strength in Cheshire Constabulary; the approach of sharing responsibilities and accountability for leading change programmes widely among senior managers has been a success.