Hertfordshire 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.
Hertfordshire Constabulary has strong leadership and has defined and communicated clearly what it expects from the workforce. The constabulary has a strong programme of leadership training which motivates its staff, however, there is no formal process to identify talent, which is an area that it could improve.
The constabulary has taken some effective steps to communicate its future plans and priorities, however requires further work in this area to ensure that its workforce has a clearer understanding of the constabulary’s vision for local policing. The constabulary has clearly communicated to its workforce information about collaboration with other forces.
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.
Hertfordshire Constabulary has strong leadership and benefits from a consistent chief officer team that has been in place for several years. Leaders have a good understanding of what the constabulary expects of them, which is defined and communicated by the chief officer team through ‘The Herts Way’. This is a well-understood constabulary mission and values statement, revised to include the Code of Ethics. HMIC found that the workforce is well aware of ‘The Herts Way’, and understands that the code is an integral part of that vision. In 2014 the constabulary provided one thousand officers and staff with two hours’ dedicated training on ‘The Herts Way’, with all staff undertaking Code of Ethics training.
While Hertfordshire Constabulary understands what good leadership is, it has not assessed the capacity and capability of leadership at all levels of the constabulary. A better understanding of leadership capability would help the constabulary achieve its core aims.
Further to this, the constabulary has carried out little work to determine what future capabilities will be required of its workforce. It has developed an understanding of the skills required for new and emerging crime trends such as cyber-crime and child sexual exploitation, and is investing additional resources in these priority areas. It has also actively contributed to and helped to shape the development of the College of Policing’s national leadership review.
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.
Hertfordshire Constabulary uses a variety of means to articulate its future plans and priorities and communicate this with its workforce. Information and communications technology systems aid the constabulary in communicating its strategic vision and police and crime commissioner’s plan through the intranet. The constabulary has a central team which manages communications, produces videos and training routines and manages an ‘answerbank’ which allows the workforce to raise issues and make suggestions about its future plans. The constabulary also communicates its plans and priorities through the chief constable’s blog and Hertsbeat newspaper, while relying on face-to-face interaction from line managers during meetings and briefings with those they manage.
While the constabulary has taken these steps to communicate with the workforce, not all employees felt their voice was being heard, staff understood the constabulary’s financial situation and its move toward collaboration much more clearly than its vision for local policing.
Hertfordshire Constabulary has a strong track record of collaborative working and has invested in recruitment and development, to ensure that its workforce has the necessary skills for collaborative work. Further support for collaboration is evident in the constabualry’s approach to selection and promotion panels, which places particular importance on competencies relating to negotiation and working with others.
The constabulary has displayed commendable willingness to understand and use new ideas and technologies. For example, while Cambridgeshire is the lead force for information and communication technology in the collaboration programme, Hertfordshire takes the lead for mobile technology to ensure service efficiency and transformation in the way the forces provide services to the public. We found strong collaboration with Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, with clear plans to realise further savings.
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.
Hertfordshire Constabulary actively promotes and supports good leadership principles across the organisation. ‘The Herts Way’ is key to the development of leaders within the organisation and is communicated through masterclasses in leadership, which consist of a wide range of useful topics.
Another positive aspect of leadership in Hertfordshire Constabulary is its effective promotion system which the workforce perceives to be fair. Candidates who submit a successful written application and pass assessments in areas such as the Code of Ethics, when applying for promotion to sergeant or inspector, are awarded a place in the force’s development pool. When in the development pool, successful candidates are temporarily promoted, and the constabulary supports them in their development as leaders through the use of tools including a 360-degree assessment.
While we found many positive aspects in the range of leadership programmes provided by the constabulary, it performs less well when it comes to identifying and developing talent outside of the promotion process. The absence of a constabulary-wide governance arrangement to identify and manage talent may result in a lack of fairness and the constabulary may fail to identify the most talented individuals to overcome its future challenges.
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 Hertfordshire Constabulary has resulted in a stronger focus on improving the legitimacy of the force, in the way it keeps people safe and reduces crime. During our inspection, HMIC found that the constabulary is thorough in its approach to developing and maintaining an ethical culture. Encouragingly, it has created an equality, ethics and integrity board to hold its leaders accountable for developing a culture built on transparency, integrity and accountability.
Leadership has also resulted in a stronger focus on improving the effectiveness of the constabulary, though there are some areas which could be improved. For example, the constabulary’s investigation of crime and management of offenders requires improvement. During our inspection, HMIC found that the quality of initial investigations is variable, which is an issue that HMIC has previously identified. Leaders in the constabulary could do more to address this issue, though more positively, HMIC found that later in the investigation process the quality does improve..
Another area which would benefit from stronger leadership is integrated offender management (IOM). The constabulary’s IOM governance arrangements are not clear, and this was reflected in a high level of workforce uncertainty about the future of the programme. Constabulary leaders should communicate clearly and regularly with IOM practitioners to clarify the IOM programme’s future role.