Devon and Cornwall 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 2016 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.
Senior leaders in Devon and Cornwall Police have defined clearly what is expected from leaders and HMIC is reassured that leaders across the force are receiving a clear and consistent message. The force understands the current status of its leadership at every level, which includes an understanding of leadership capacity and capability.
The force leadership unit promotes leadership training programmes which include initiatives with partner agencies, a programme emulating the senior police national assessment centre programme and a shadow leadership group, which is only one element of the force’s overall approach in supporting its leadership strategy.
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.
Devon and Cornwall Police understands how its leadership is perceived and understood across the organisation. HMIC found evidence that the force does analysis information on its leaders and also has processes in place to conduct analysis drawing data from a number of areas, such as staff surveys and work with academic bodies.
The last staff survey was completed in 2014, and provided the force with the opportunity to understand better the thoughts of its workforce on subjects such as leadership. In addition, the force intends to follow the staff survey with a series of localised internal ‘pulse’ surveys on a variety of themes, for example, the understanding of the Code of Ethics by staff and managers and challenges faced by leaders.
HMIC found evidence that the force has defined a clear directive in respect of what is expected from leaders and is reassured that leaders across the force are receiving a clear and consistent message. Devon and Cornwall has introduced and communicated widely an ‘expectations of leaders’ statement across the force. The force also communicates expectations through road shows, leadership days, workshops and training. Those we spoke to during our inspection indicated a good understanding of expectations about the behaviour of leaders, explaining that such expectations are set at chief officer level and include key messages from the chief constable.
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.
During the inspection, HMIC found evidence that the force is making efforts to provide a clear and compelling sense of organisational direction and is striving to develop and maintain an ethical culture. The force has published a mission statement which is linked to the force standards and the national Code of Ethics.
Members of the senior team have taken responsibility for personally briefing inspectors and police staff equivalents on the force’s priorities relating to the code of ethics, the protection of vulnerable people and prevention of harm.
The new force mission is communicated throughout the organisation. For example, the force holds ‘leading the force’ events for the rank of inspector and above, at which the chief constable reiterates the expectations of leaders and speaks about the force mission.
Notwithstanding the efforts by managers and senior leaders, our inspection found that these messages have not penetrated through all levels of the organisation and some staff expressed concern over mixed messages in relation to performance measures. However, HMIC found that managers are promoting proactively and creatively the force mission among their teams.
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.
HMIC found evidence of good performance management at a senior level. However, we found an inconsistent approach at other levels of the organisation, including among frontline policing, due to a lack of structure in monitoring performance. The force no longer uses an annual performance review process, and has not implemented a prescribed alternative.
The force’s leadership unit develops and promotes effective leadership programmes from internal and external providers to build leadership across the force. HMIC found some effective programmes to identify and develop leadership throughout the organisation. Examples include leadership development courses, bespoke departmental training, senior leaders’ workshops and local initiatives in collaboration with partner agencies.
HMIC found evidence of a programme to identify talented staff taking place at a senior level. The force uses an objective grid system to help identify those with greatest potential. However, this was less prominent at other levels of the force.
During our inspection, HMIC found evidence of initiatives to encourage under-represented staff. For example, female staff are encouraged to develop their leadership skills by using the women’s support network and external initiatives such as ‘glass lift.’The inspection found that the force was making good progress in these areas.
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 Devon and Cornwall Police has resulted in a stronger focus on improving the legitimacy of the force, in the way it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The leadership of the force strives to develop and maintain an ethical culture, and HMIC found that the force uses the Code of Ethics to inform its policies and practices. The majority of police staff and officers generally demonstrated an awareness of the code, and senior leaders aim to ensure that the code is embedded within the force by being included in all training programmes and recruitment and promotion processes. However, an area where the force could strengthen its leadership is in how it communicates the code: during our inspection, we saw out-of-date material relating to ethics displayed in some police buildings.
Senior leaders also aim to provide improved wellbeing support for the workforce, and have introduced a number of initiatives to support police staff and officers. These include a mental health support group, a health and wellbeing management board and a force wellbeing group. Leaders are also committed to providing improved wellbeing support and during our inspection, HMIC found that leaders are clearly mindful of the needs of those they manage, and aware of their responsibility in relation to wellbeing.