Nottinghamshire PEEL 2015
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
HMIC found that Nottinghamshire Police is adequately prepared to face its future financial challenges. It has balanced the budget and has a good track record of achieving savings. It has plans in place to deliver most of its anticipated savings through to 2017/18. The force has a good understanding of the demand on its services, although at the moment it does not match its resources to meet that demand as well as it could. The force recognises this and is implementing a new way of organising itself (its operating model) that is designed to enable it to continue to provide an effective policing service at lower cost. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how well forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Nottinghamshire Police was judged to require improvement.
HMIC judges Nottinghamshire Police to be good. The force has achieved its required savings of £31.2m over the spending review period and has well-defined plans to achieve most of its savings up to 2017/18. Savings will be achieved by implementing the new policing model and by effective financial management. However, this will not be sufficient to deliver a balanced budget over the period; some use of reserves will be required to balance the budget, and further savings will need to be identified.
The force has a good and growing understanding of the demand it faces. It is developing effective ways of managing and reducing demand, which it is achieving by working innovatively with partners. This includes an ambitious partnership prevention programme, which is important to delivering long-term change. There are also many continuing and new projects with other forces, each at a different stage and moving at different speeds. Change programme professionals work in the force project management office to provide expertise and support to project leads.
There is a wealth of information available to staff on the force intranet, but the force recognises that communicating through email and the intranet is not as effective as messages given in person by first and second line managers. Similarly, police staff unions feel they are not as involved as they would want to be in adding value during the consultation process and building business cases for change.
Most of the required savings will be delivered by implementing the new operating model and by effective financial management. However, this will not be sufficient to deliver a balanced budget over the period; further savings will be necessary.
How well does the force use its resources to meet its demand?
The force has a good and growing understanding of the demand it faces, and it is developing its knowledge of new and emerging demand. There is a demand profile which assesses demand through quantitative performance measures, and activity analysis to inform the resource allocation model.
The new operating model is trying to improve the overall victims’ experience of police contact. The force is developing its understanding of how the public contact the police.
There is innovative activity with partners to reduce demand, and an ambitious prevention programme with partners, which is important to delivering long-term change.
There is a good assessment of what different service areas cost and whether or not they provide value for money.
Police recorded crime has reduced over the period of the spending review and the victim satisfaction rate at the end of the period was higher than the rate for England and Wales.
There is a wealth of information available to staff on the intranet but there is recognition that communicating through email and the intranet is not as effective as messages given by first and second line managers. Similarly, police staff unions feel they are not as engaged as they want to be in consultations about organisational change.
How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?
The force is putting in place a new operating model using phased implementation rather than a ‘big bang’ approach. The ‘delivering the future’ change programme is moving the force towards a sustainable and affordable model – but this is not yet in place. Five years into the period of austerity, the force is still not currently matching its available resources to meet the overall demand for policing.
The new model to deliver policing services is based on providing a better experience for victims. The model has prevention at its core, with dedicated points of contact for victims.
The size of the workforce is expected to continue to shrink throughout the next five years. Skill gaps and workforce mix is better understood in investigations than in the rest of the force. This is a risk to ensuring the effective deployment of all staff to meet operational needs.
As the force implements the new model, HMIC would be looking for marked improvement in terms of matching resources to demand within its current and future budget.
Areas for improvement
- The force should develop a future workforce plan that is aligned to its overall demand and budget. The plan should include future resource allocations, the mix of skills required by the workforce and the behaviours expected of them.
How sustainable is the force’s financial position for the short and long term?
The force has a good track record of sound financial management, accurate budgeting and delivering planned savings. There is good control of expenditure with financial assumptions being deliberately prudent.
Balancing the budget depends on the timely delivery of the force’s action plan for efficiencies and savings and on the effective management of budgets. This plan is constantly monitored, risks are identified and savings are on track.
There is effective oversight and scrutiny. Key financial and performance information is shared with the police and crime commissioner, enabling him to hold the chief constable to account for the delivery of performance and to ensure that budgets are monitored and managed appropriately. The force’s change plans are closely aligned to the priorities within the police and crime plan.
The force has secured other sources of funding through collaborating with other police forces in the East Midlands region. It has also secured Home Office funding for body-worn video, and funding from a number of partners to support an initiative which aims to reduce demand.
Most of the required savings are designed to be achieved by implementing the new operating model and by effective financial management. However, this will not be sufficient to deliver a balanced budget, in the longer term and further savings will be necessary.