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Northumbria PEEL 2015

Efficiency

How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 20/10/2015
Good

HMIC found that Northumbria Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. The force has successfully reduced its spending over the last spending review period while working hard to protect local policing. For these reasons the force is graded as good. The force’s understanding of demand and the costs involved in providing all of its various services is not yet sufficiently detailed. This is needed to inform the new operating model the force must adopt to meet its budget beyond 2017/18. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Northumbria was judged to be good.

HMIC judges Northumbria Police to be good. The force understands the financial challenges it faces and is using new ways of working to reduce its spending while maintaining a high quality of service to its communities.

The force has a good understanding of the demand on its services from the public and has used this to align more staff and other resources to where need and risks are greatest.

The force is working to improve its overall understanding of demand by using information from various sources including incidents related to mental health. This is helping it assess current and future demand. However, it has yet to conduct more detailed analysis to identify and reduce demand such as the additional work created by callers who are dissatisfied with the services provided and request a re-visit or make a complaint.

On the whole, the force’s current workforce model matches demand and organisational and financial requirements. Evidence for this is its victim satisfaction rating which is above the national average for England and Wales.

The force recognises that the current workforce model cannot be sustained beyond 2017/18. The force has introduced different ways of working to ensure it can meet demand with a reduced workforce. As changes are implemented and the impact of these are assessed the force is planning to use the opportunity to decide its future operating model.

The force achieved its saving requirements for the spending review period. It has set a balanced budget for 2015/16, which includes the use of £9.2m of reserves to bridge the funding gap. The force has a strong understanding of its likely financial position up to 2018 and its workforce numbers until 2020. Plans up to 2017/18 rely on the use of reserves and the sale of surplus and unsuitable buildings to meet financial challenges. Longer-term saving plans are less certain and depend on collaborative working with local organisations and neighbouring forces.

 

Questions for Efficiency

1

How well does the force use its resources to meet its demand?

The force has a good understanding of the demand on its services from the public and has used this to align staff and other resources to where need and risks are greatest.

The force is working to improve its overall understanding of demand by using information from various sources including incidents related to mental health. This is helping it assess current and future demand. The force has yet to conduct more detailed analysis to identify and reduce demand such as the additional work created by callers who are dissatisfied with the services provided and request a re-visit or make a complaint.

On the whole, the current workforce model matches demand. The force uses various methods to ensure its resources are deployed flexibly to meet fluctuating and unexpected demand. It has processes in place to address any issues which may have an impact on the force achieving its priorities including those detailed in the police and crime plan.

The force has a firm control of costs. It compares and challenges the way it performs and provides its services, by comparing its performance to other forces and using the HMIC value for money profiles. However, the force does not currently have a clear understanding of the costs involved in providing all of its various services.

Good
2

How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?

The force’s current workforce model matches demand and organisational and financial requirements, for the most part. Evidence for this is shown by the way the force consistently responds to priority and emergency calls in good time and by its level of victim satisfaction, which is among the highest across all forces in England and Wales.

The crime rates in Northumbria, while increasing, are below those of its most similar group of forces.

The force recognises that the decision it has taken to maintain officer numbers in local policing can no longer be sustained. The force has introduced different ways of working to ensure it can improve the quality of its services and meet demand with a reduced workforce. As changes are implemented and the impact of these assessed the force is planning to use the opportunity to decide its future operating model. Until this work is completed the future workforce model is unclear.

The force has planned workforce numbers up to 2020. Although the number of officers and staff is expected to reduce, there may be an opportunity to recruit new officers with the skills the force requires to support its future workforce model.

Good
3

How sustainable is the force’s financial position for the short and long term?

The force achieved its saving requirements and balanced the budget for the spending review period. The force has set a balanced budget for 2015/16, which includes the use of £9.2m of reserves to bridge the funding gap.

The force has been successful in receiving monies from the Police Innovation Fund to support its work to prevent harm to vulnerable people and reduce demands on its services.

The force has firm control of its finances. The force shares a Joint Chief Finance Officer with the police and crime commissioner (PCC).

This helps the timely sharing of financial information and ensures that they are developing financial plans based upon common assumptions.

The force has a strong understanding of its likely financial position up to 2018 and its workforce numbers until 2020. Plans up to 2017/18 rely on the use of reserves and the sale of surplus and unsuitable buildings to meet financial challenges.

The effective implementation of its ‘Street to Strategic’ information technology programme is expected to be key in minimising the impact of staffing reductions and maintaining a high quality of service to the public. Longer-term saving plans are less certain and depend on collaboration with local organisations and neighbouring forces.

Good