South Wales 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 2015 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.
South Wales Police is well led and can show that it understands the skills, capability and capacity of its workforce. The force is clear about the standards that are expected from its leaders and there is a well-established culture of focusing on quality of service.
The force has communicated a clear, realistic and motivating sense of the future direction of the force which is linked to its organisational strategy. Its mission statement: ‘Keeping South Wales Safe’ and its vision, ‘To be the best at understanding and responding to our communities’ needs’ is well understood by the workforce.
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.
South Wales Police has a good understanding of the capacity and capability of its leadership at all levels in the organisation. Twelve different programmes supporting development and leadership are linked to the force’s capabilities. The force assesses the robustness of each programme and shares its findings with other Welsh forces. At a local level, managers routinely identify leadership skills in their officers and staff and offer secondments and informal mentoring.
The force has clearly set out the expectations it has of its leaders within South Wales Police. At quarterly road shows, the chief constable meets officers and staff in person, and reiterates his personal message about the force values – ‘proud professional, and positive’ policing (known as the three Ps) which focus on the needs of the public and victims. The force has a leadership charter which is well known by the workforce; all officers and staff who spoke to HMIC were aware of the three Ps and what they represent. Equally, there was consistent clarity from the force’s workforce about their specific roles as leaders within the organisation and obvious pride at working for the communities served by South Wales Police.
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 force has provided a clear sense of its future direction, linked to what it calls its ‘Future Operating Model’. The Future Operating Model provides the strategic direction, organisational clarity and a framework for change that will allow it to continue to keep South Wales safe and supports the priorities in the Police and Crime Reduction Plan and the chief constable’s delivery plan. Briefing materials are prepared for sergeants and inspectors to disseminate more widely which helps officers and staff at all levels demonstrate widespread understanding about what is in the plan, at least for the current year.
The force has some understanding of its requirements for future workforce capability. A rolling programme of reviews is ongoing and is underpinned by a detailed assessment of current and future demand. Included in the assessment of future demand are emerging crimes such as digital and cyber crime, and child sexual exploitation. The force has mapped out the skills required to meet this future demand and the workforce’s current capability is assessed against this analysis.
The force is making good use of opportunities to use technology to provide a better service for the public. Improved mobile technology is due to be rolled out to all officers.
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 has a clear vision of what good performance looks like and its strategic plans on how it deals with incidents and crimes are victim-focused. This approach and revised performance framework will take some time to be part of day-to-day practice across the organisation. HMIC found evidence in some parts of the force where it is still operating an out-of-date approach to crime performance management; a focus on increasing crime detection rates rather than meeting the needs of the victim.
The performance appraisal review process is mandatory, and includes a yearly assessment of an individual’s performance against set objectives. While completed reviews are required for promotion applications, they were viewed by the workforce as being little more than a ‘tick box exercise’ and offering only marginal value to improving individual performance. The force is currently in the process of introducing a revised appraisal process with a much stronger framework for personal development and also to support the new requirements for continuous professional development.
The force has identified 50 police officers and police staff who will be part of a ‘talent management’ process to identify talented and high performing individuals. At this stage there is no formal application process for staff to put themselves forward for this scheme. The first cohort was identified by managers as already performing at a high level. It is intended that participants in future iterations of the scheme will be able to apply to join the scheme. This will avoid the risk of the force failing to identify those staff that possess the skills to progress.
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 South Wales Police has resulted in a stronger focus on improving the legitimacy of the force, in how it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The senior team leads by example and its actions have led to many practical improvements. For example, it introduced the practice to record crimes immediately at the time of reporting rather than after an investigation.
HMIC found that there was a strong ethical culture within the force which senior leaders had agreed and implemented. Officers and staff viewed senior leaders as having integrity and behaving in an ethical way and this had led to the workforce embracing and accepting a culture of high ethical standards and behaviours.
South Wales Police’s vision is ‘to be the best at understanding and responding to our communities’ needs’ and the force is structured to ensure that there is a strong local response to policing. HMIC found well-established, effective and comprehensive partnerships with other non-policing organisations. Leaders make sure that information is shared, and engage extensively with their local communities which has led to the force effectively tackling some complex community problems. South Wales Police provides support to other Welsh forces, providing access to a much wider range of specialist resources and tactics.