Merseyside PEEL 2015
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
HMIC found that Merseyside Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. It has successfully reduced its spending over the last spending review period while working hard to maintain its services to the public. For these reasons the force is graded as good. Future saving plans beyond 2017 are not detailed and rely heavily on savings coming from the force’s change programmes. For this reason it cannot be judged outstanding. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Merseyside was judged to be good.
HMIC judges Merseyside Police to be good. The force continues to make good progress in achieving its plans to address the budgetary pressures it faces. It has a good understanding of the main elements of the demand for its services, especially from the public and uses its resources well to fight crime and keep its communities safe. The force is enhancing its current understanding of demand through work within its change programme and is altering the way it works to ensure its reduced resources can match demand while improving the timeliness and quality of its services.
There is a clearly articulated and well understood view of the short term priorities for the force and the resources and skills required to achieve them. The force’s change programme is ensuring workforce plans are closely aligned with demand and future organisational and financial requirements. However, these plans are not sufficiently developed to inform the force’s future operating model which will be vital in providing affordable and sustainable services in the future.
The force has a good track record of achieving its savings. It has controlled its expenditure well and achieved its total savings requirement over the last spending review period. There are plans in place to make savings in future years although beyond 2017 they are less detailed and rely heavily on savings coming from the force’s change programmes.
How well does the force use its resources to meet its demand?
The force uses its resources well to meet demand for its services from the public. Its understanding of demand is being enhanced by the work undertaken as part of its change programme.
The force ensures that its response to calls from the public is prioritised according to the level of threat, risk and harm to individuals and communities. However, it recognises the limited flexibility it currently has in managing resources across its various departments. This issue needs to be addressed to enable the force to manage anticipated reductions in its current workforce without impacting negatively on the quality of service it provides to the public.
The force is in the process of changing the way it manages performance. It is moving from a strongly target-driven approach to one that enables activity to be directed at areas posing the greatest threat and risk to its communities.
The force is using different ways of working and new technology to reduce demand on its services, often by working with other organisations.
How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?
There is a clearly articulated and well-understood view of the short-term priorities for the force and the resources and skills required to achieve them. The force understands the need to develop the skills of its workforce and has a training plan in place for this year, enabling staff and officers to fulfil their roles and meet new demands for their service.
The force’s change programme is ensuring workforce plans are closely aligned with demand as well as future organisational and financial requirements.
However, these plans for the future are not sufficiently developed to inform the force’s future operating model and workforce mix, which are vital in providing affordable and sustainable services to the public in the future.
How sustainable is the force’s financial position for the short and long term?
The force has controlled its expenditure well and achieved its total savings requirement over the last spending review period. It has a balanced budget for 2015/16 with total savings from the previous year of £23.8m from the change programme, reserves and limited savings from collaboration. The force has not fully explored other options to increase income.
Financial plans are aligned to the police and crime commissioner’s priorities. The office of the police and crime commissioner (OPCC) works closely with the force and information is shared in a timely way, while the chief finance officer is engaged in the development of all financial plans.
The force has a good track record of achieving savings, though future plans beyond 2017 are not detailed and rely heavily on savings coming from the force’s change programme.
The force has tight control of expenditure, which is helped through each basic command unit (BCU) commander having a dedicated finance officer, coupled with the fact that the director of resources is a member of the chief officer team.