Staffordshire 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.
Staffordshire Police is well led, with values set by the chief constable that the majority of the workforce follows. The leadership is clear, especially in communicating future plans and priorities and in setting expectations, and we found that the workforce at all levels feels strongly involved in this process.
The force is encouraging leaders and motivating staff well on an informal level, though it has no formal leadership training courses routinely available above junior management grade. The force would also benefit from a formal system to identify and develop talented individuals for promotion to support the work already carried out in this area.
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.
Staffordshire Police has a clear understanding of how leadership is perceived across the organisation. The force has engaged with the workforce by conducting staff surveys and a wellbeing survey, which identified that the workforce felt genuinely supported by their line managers and involved in decisions affecting them. The force used the survey findings to develop a ‘people plan’ and a wellbeing action plan.
The force has defined clearly its expectations of leaders at all levels through the leadership standards set out in its people plan, and those we interviewed during our inspection knew what was expected of them as leaders. Staffordshire Police is also using its people plan to inform its planning to meet the force’s future leadership needs.
The people plan also contains a framework for workforce planning which the force is using in conjunction with a skills matrix (which the force is developing to incorporate leadership capabilities). Those we spoke to during our inspection felt engaged with the workforce planning and were generally familiar with the people plan.
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.
Staffordshire Police has a clear and compelling sense of its future plans and priorities which it has communicated successfully to the workforce. The force has clearly laid out this vision in a public document, Our vision for transforming policing in Staffordshire by 2020. It is clear, easy-to-read and sets out a realistic timetable to enable the workforce, partners and the public to understand fully the future direction of the force. The chief constable has personally presented important messages through roadshows with the police and crime commissioner, taken part in online discussions and attended training events.
The force is using new ideas, approaches and technological opportunities as part of its ambition to achieve a more effective and efficient force. For example, the force is seeking an external partner to provide the most up-to-date technology. The force has completed fifty percent of the roll-out of its mobile data function, with full completion scheduled by the end of 2015.
The force is also making use of social media to target hard-to-reach groups. One innovation involves the force’s communications department using search facilities to identify potential members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, which enables the force to send targeted messages to the LGBT community. This has resulted in an increase in the reporting of crime from the LGBT community.
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 uses its people plan to set out its ambition to place people at the centre of everything, to achieve a well-led, highly-motivated and well-trained workforce. The plan contains a framework for developing the organisation and the professionalism of the workforce, and recognising employee achievement.
While the people plan is ambitious, the force needs to do more to realise its aims. We found limited investment in professional development and training within the organisation, and currently no formal or routine training for leaders above first line supervisors. The force has a new performance review system called ‘i-matter’, which has increased force’s focus on the individual’s contribution towards the organisation’s goals. However, some officers stated that they have not had a formal appraisal for a number of years.
More positively, police staff are now included in the new first line manager course, which was previously reserved for newly-promoted sergeants. The control room has an ‘aspiring managers’ programme which provides development opportunities for managers seeking to progress. Finally, the force has a mentoring scheme which sees individuals given the task of identifying talented staff and officers. However, the force acknowledges the obvious benefit of creating a more structured scheme to identify talented individuals.
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 Staffordshire Police has resulted in a stronger focus on improving the effectiveness of the force by recognising where the force could improve, and taking effective steps to do so. For example, the force’s approach to investigating crime and managing offenders is not as effective as it could be. The force sometimes overlooks initial investigative opportunities, and sometimes allocates crimes to staff without sufficient investigative skills. Many more investigations by non-specialised staff lack supervision and in some cases we found no record of the force updating victims about the progress of their cases.
While this is an area in which the force could improve, we are encouraged that the force has recognised this and is showing leadership to tackle these issues. A change in approach instigated by senior leaders is beginning to result in improvements. For example, the force has put in place minimum standards for recording of activity and the force has enabled senior officers (from chief inspectors to assistant chief constable) to lead by being given responsibility to raise the investigative standards of teams throughout the force through intervention, guidance and advice.
A small number of staff are displaying unsupportive attitudes towards victims and other people who are vulnerable. Chief officers recognise the important role of leaders throughout the force to ensure that the workforce is managed effectively and motivated to perform against the high standards that the force expects.
However, the force still provides an inconsistent level of service to victims. It is clear that leadership throughout the force is contributing to improving the service provided to victims, but the force needs to do more work to ensure that all of its staff prioritise victims’ needs.