Derbyshire PEEL 2015
How well has the force performed in our other inspections?
In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMIC carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections (for instance, our 2015 leadership assessment); others are joint inspections.
Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.
As part of HMIC’s annual all-force inspections into police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) in 2015, HMIC assessed how well led forces are at every rank and grade of the organisation and across all areas inspected in PEEL. We reviewed how well a force understands and is developing its leaders; whether it has set a clear and compelling future direction; and how well it motivates and engages the workforce.
Derbyshire Constabulary has strong leadership and has clearly defined and communicated their priorities and expectations with the workforce, which means it has a good understanding of what is expected of them. The senior leadership team provides visible and accessible leadership.
The constabulary’s leadership programme provides development for staff and officers at all levels within the organisation. While many staff and officers we spoke to are clear that their leadership training is beneficial, the constabulary has no formal assessment of how well this programme improves its leadership capability.
How well does the force have a clear understanding of the current state of its leadership at every level?
HMIC examined how well forces understand the strengths and weaknesses of leadership across the force and how well the workforce understands its leadership role. Strong, clear leadership across every rank and grade is vital to the effectiveness and efficiency of a modern and capable police force.
Derbyshire Constabulary’s senior leadership team instils a people-focused leadership style which is based on values rather than performance targets. There is a culture of treating people well, which leads to better quality of outcomes and improved performance.
In 2013 the constabulary introduced a ‘Just Lead’ campaign, which enshrines a series of pledges that outline the standards expected of all leaders from sergeant rank and police staff equivalent and above. Relevant staff and officers commit to the leadership pledges, which form an integral part of the annual performance review, and are listed by the force as ‘inspiring people, challenging, getting it right, engaging and innovation’.
We found that the constabulary engages well with its workforce, especially with those in senior positions across the organisation, which enables the constabulary to understand its breadth of leadership capabilities. We found that senior staff and officers regularly monitor the planning for and identification of individuals with the potential to fill leadership roles across the force. The constabulary conducted a priority-based budgeting analysis last year in which each department assessed its leadership skills. This will help ensure the constabulary has the best mix of leadership skills to meet the challenges its change programme has identified.
How well has the force provided a clear and compelling sense of the future direction of the organisation?
HMIC examined the extent to which forces have set out a clear, compelling and realistic sense of future direction, because it is important to ensure that the workforce is motivated to build for the future and that the force knows the kinds of skills it is looking to develop. We were also interested to find out how well leaders are making use of new approaches to enable forces to meet future financial challenges.
We found a clear sense of priorities and core purpose in the constabulary, which is to ‘provide a high quality policing service to everyone in Derbyshire’. All of those we spoke to during our inspection were unambiguous about the constabulary’s commitment to prioritise resources towards areas of threat, harm and risk. This is largely due to the constabulary taking positive, proactive steps to brief its workforce about future plans and priorities and changes.
The constabulary encourages innovation and has a process to capture new ideas. The ‘star award’ programme encourages suggestions about new ways to improve performance. One winning suggestion is to create multi-lingual prompt cards to aid officers in obtaining details from someone who does not speak English.
The constabulary is keen to advance its use of innovation and technology in its day-to-day work and is developing this understanding through an evidence-based policing board. A steering group considers ideas and best practice from other forces, academia and the College of Policing. The constabulary plans to update its information and communication technology infrastructure and to improve mobile technology. For example, all frontline officers now use body-worn cameras, which saves officers considerable time as this automatically gathers evidence which strengthens a prosecution case and may mean a witness or victim doesn’t have to appear in court.
How is the force developing leadership, motivating the workforce and encouraging staff engagement?
HMIC examined how well forces identify and develop leadership, as good quality of leadership is key to ensuring that forces overcome their challenges of reducing crime and meeting the needs of victims. We were not looking for one particular style of leadership, but focused on how well leaders motivate their workforce and improve performance to provide a quality service to the public.
Derbyshire Constabulary has clear performance expectations of its workforce and this is reflected at all levels within the organisation. The constabulary reinforces expectations through its performance review system which ensures its workforce is focused on supporting the most vulnerable, while providing a quality service. The constabulary is reviewing this system, and subject to a successful trial, will introduce a simpler system next year.
Staff and officers generally value the performance review system, and have a good understanding that they must take individual responsibility for highlighting their development needs. Frontline managers obtain data on the activities undertaken by officers and staff, and use this as an indicator to assess workload. Personal objectives encourage personal development and are focused on the quality of an individual’s performance rather than the quantity of work they do.
The constabulary’s leadership programme provides development for staff and officers at all levels within the organisation. While many we spoke to are clear that their leadership training is beneficial, the constabulary does not assess formally how effectively this programme improves its leadership capability. This is an area that the constabulary could easily improve.
To what extent is leadership improving the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy of the force?
As good quality leadership is an important factor of policing performance, HMIC examined how leaders are improving the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy of forces through clear, reasoned and swift actions. This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible for this pillar.
Leadership in Derbyshire Constabulary has resulted in a stronger focus on their legitimacy, in the way it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The chief officer team provides strong leadership on ethical behaviour and expected standards. The constabulary’s chief officers are visible leaders who promote an ethical culture and the constabulary’s values.
Encouragingly, police staff and officers expressed confidence to challenge and give their views at regular ‘Talkback’ sessions hosted by chief officers. The sessions are well-attended and individuals spoke positively about their experience there.
A staff survey conducted in 2013 raised issues including workforce wellbeing. The constabulary recognised these findings and its leaders now more actively manage workforce wellbeing. We found good examples of leaders providing pastoral care. The constabulary also uses absence thresholds as a way of ensuring that when staff are absent they receive appropriate support. The constabulary recently reduced these thresholds and some staff are now concerned about how these are sometimes applied.
Leadership in the constabulary has also resulted in a stronger focus on improving efficiency. Leaders demonstrate commitment to active financial management and the constabulary has completed a priority-based budgeting analysis which enables it to design new ways of working to meet police and crime plan priorities.