Greater Manchester 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.
Greater Manchester Police is a well led force with a clear understanding of the capacity and capability of its leadership at all levels. The force has communicated clearly its expectations of leaders, and has made a concerted effort to empower its staff and officers to feel supported to take decisions.
While the force provides extensive leadership development and training at all levels, it could do more to improve its identification and development of talented individuals towards promotion. Many police staff and officers are unaware of the talent management process, while senior managers inconsistently follow the process itself.
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.
Greater Manchester Police understands the capacity and capability of its leadership at all levels. By undertaking an audit of the cultures within the force, it identified its leadership culture as being focused on ‘doing things quickly’ and ‘doing things right’, while identifying its preferred leadership culture as one in which the focus was on ‘doing things together’ and ‘doing things right’.
The force communicates clearly its expectations of all leaders across the organisation, which include providing a quality service for victims, and managing vulnerability well. The force designed its recent promotion selection process from constable to sergeant so as to identify individuals who demonstrate aptitude against these expectations, and in supporting those they manage through change. The force views officers who were selected in this process as ‘change agents’ who will help support the force in achieving its stated priorities. The force recognises that this still leaves a sizeable group who have not been promoted, and is continuing to make concerted efforts to support and maintain the motivation of this group.
The force has expanded its chief officer group to include representatives from the Police Federation and Superintendents Association. The chief officer team is also working to improve relationships with a number of staff representative groups.
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.
The chief officer team has set out clearly its vision to change the leadership style across the force away from prioritising the achievement of numerical performance targets above everything else. The new style focuses on encouraging police staff and officers to take responsibility for their own area by empowering them to make rational decisions, with the knowledge that they will be supported if things go wrong.
Another important part of the force’s future priorities is the ‘fit for the future’ programme, designed to prepare the force for future challenges in policing. In early 2015, the chief officer team held a series of workshops with the force’s 250 most senior police and police staff leaders. As well as setting out the strategic plans and priorities of the force and identifying future challenges, the force used these workshops to identify opportunities for organisational development.
Despite these actions, HMIC found that many employees we spoke to do not have a consistent, clear and compelling sense of the future plans and priorities of the force. The workforce’s awareness of ‘fit for the future’ is growing, but police officers, and more particularly police staff outside of central departments, show little understanding of the force’s plans and priorities. This lack of understanding has created anxiety and uncertainty among staff.
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.
The force’s organisational learning and workforce development branch provides extensive leadership and development training to police officers and staff at all levels. This ranges from coaching and mentoring for individuals to the provision of 360-degree feedback and personality-profiling models, distance learning and classroom-based training, leadership development courses for middle managers, and bespoke programmes for senior leadership. However, HMIC was told by a large number of staff that opportunities to attend training are limited, with the lack of staff being able to cover for other staff members being cited as a common cause.
The force has put in place some effective mechanisms to identify and develop talent, though in an inconsistent manner. Each division operates a talent pool, where individuals whom the force considers to possess significant leadership potential can be selected by line managers, while individuals can also nominate themselves for inclusion. Once selected, the force provides individuals with additional support, mentoring and development opportunities.
However, we found a lack of consistency in the understanding and application of talent management processes among senior managers. HMIC also found a general lack of awareness among officers and staff that any talent management process exists.
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 Greater Manchester Police has resulted in a stronger focus on improving the efficiency of the force. Senior leaders in the force review their strategic risk assessment on a quarterly basis ensuring that set priorities remain valid. Senior leaders are adept at working with other organisations to improve the service the force provides. For example, the force is working strategically with North West Ambulance and Greater Manchester Fire services to develop a joint initiative to reduce unnecessary demand.
Leadership has also resulted in a stronger focus on improving the legitimacy of the force, in the way it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force is committed to public service reform and to working with partner agencies to this end. Senior officers from the force and local authorities work effectively across and within other agencies. This has improved the force’s effectiveness at keeping people safe and tackling anti-social behaviour in local neighbourhoods.
Encouragingly, senior leaders have shown some innovation in the way they look to improve the effectiveness of the force. For example, the force is looking at creating a policing model which fully integrates neighbourhood, response and investigative resources, to allow the force to focus more on preventative work. However, one area where the force could display better leadership is its investigation of non-complex crime. The force’s investigation of this type of crime is generally poor, and the force should address this.