Staffordshire PEEL 2014
How well the force delivers value for money
HMIC commends Staffordshire Police on providing outstanding value for money. The force has reduced its spending considerably and at the same time continued to do an excellent job in fighting crime and keeping its communities safe. It is developing ambitious and innovative plans to become even more efficient and effective.
Staffordshire Police has made excellent progress. It has a secure financial position for the short and medium term. It has already made all the savings it needs for the whole spending review a year ahead of schedule, and it has also found all the savings it needs for 2015/16.
The force demonstrates a clear focus on value for money through low workforce costs and a continual drive for improving satisfaction even further, despite having the highest level of satisfaction in England and Wales. Officers and staff are developed to achieve excellence and are motivated to provide the best service they can, taking opportunities to make it even more efficient. While finance is an important factor, this is clearly not the only driver in the way the force serves communities. Through strong financial management and good leadership, the force is now in a position to start developing the detail around its longer-term plans through to 2020 to achieve even more savings. This includes the police and crime commissioner’s innovative and ambitious plans for wider public sector reform in Staffordshire.
HMIC is impressed that, despite the force having reduced its police officer strength by 23 percent since 2010, it has worked creatively to maintain a strong focus on improving service quality and putting the victim at the centre of policing. Crime has reduced, and victim satisfaction is one of the highest in England and Wales. The force makes good use of local partnerships to improve services and protect its communities. Plans for greater joint working in the future demonstrate that this work is set to improve even more.
To what extent is the force efficient?
Staffordshire Police has a sophisticated understanding of demand which is reviewed regularly and used to inform decisions on how resources are allocated.
The force has identified that technology needs to improve and is developing plans to use IT to increase productivity.
Partnerships and joint working are used to improve the service to the public and make best use of officer time.
Crime has fallen over the spending review period at a greater rate than elsewhere, although there has been a slight increase in the past 12 months. The force has continued to maintain the highest level of victim satisfaction in England and Wales and is working to improve it further.
To what extent is the force taking steps to ensure a secure financial position for the short and long term?
Staffordshire Police is in a strong financial position to meet both its short and medium-term challenges.
It has overachieved on savings and, as a result, has balanced its budget for 2014/15 and 2015/16. It has detailed financial plans until 2019/20. The force has maintained a strong focus on effective service provision while making these considerable savings.
Future plans have been identified and are in the process of being explored in further detail. These include continued efficiency savings internally, and innovative and ambitious plans for wider public sector reform for providing community safety across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
To what extent has the force got an affordable way of providing policing?
Staffordshire Police changed the way it provides policing early in the spending review.
The force is developing plans for collaboration with the local public sector and the private sector to achieve a considerable proportion of future savings.
The management of change is intelligent and well led. Staff have a good understanding of the rationale for the changes and are engaged in developing the future plans.
Despite one of the biggest reductions in police officer numbers, the force has increased the proportion of officers at the front line. It has also successfully increased the size of its Special Constabulary by 70 percent and is making effective use of volunteers.