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Suffolk PEEL 2015

Efficiency

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

Last updated 20/10/2015
Good

HMIC found that Suffolk Constabulary is adequately prepared to face its future financial challenges. The constabulary is improving its understanding of the demand on its services. It realises that its current workforce model needs to change to ensure that it can continue to provide an effective service to the public – meeting future demands within a reduced budget. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Suffolk was judged to be good.

HMIC judges Suffolk Constabulary to be good. The constabulary is continuing to improve its understanding of the current demand for policing services across the county.

However, it needs to do more to gain a sufficiently comprehensive picture of current and likely future demand, so that it can plan effectively.

Suffolk Constabulary’s current workforce model matches demand, organisational and financial requirements well. However, the constabulary recognises that this model will become unsustainable given the need to reduce spending still further, which will result in reduced workforce numbers.

HMIC is encouraged to see that the constabulary is currently undertaking more detailed analysis to support the case for change so that the impact of any further reductions in staff can be fully evaluated.

The constabulary works well in collaboration with Norfolk Constabulary. It has been able not only to save money but also provide greater resilience by joining forces to provide specialist services. HMIC found many examples of constructive work with local partner organisations to work together to prevent crime and improve services.

Overall, Suffolk Constabulary has a good track record of achieving the required savings; it has successfully reduced its spending by £18.8m from 2011/12 to 2014/15.

The constabulary’s control of its expenditure is good with clear leadership and accountability processes in place. Its plans do reflect the police and crime commissioner (PCC) priorities with shared understanding and assumptions when planning for the future.

It has outline plans already in place to achieve most of the anticipated further reductions in spending through to 2020.

 

Questions for Efficiency

1

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

Suffolk Constabulary is continuing to improve its understanding of the current demand for policing services across the county. It needs to do more to gain a sufficiently comprehensive picture of current and likely future demand.

The introduction of a new approach to responding to calls for service, based on the individual circumstances rather than type of crime, is positive. It recognises that some victims of crime need more support from police services regardless of the type of crime.

While the constabulary is yet to develop a thorough understanding of the cost of delivering its core services, it has commissioned a project from an external consultancy company to support this work and help with developing the budget for 2016/17.

The constabulary works well in collaboration with Norfolk Constabulary. It has been able to save money and provide greater resilience by collaborating to provide support functions and specialist policing services.

HMIC found many examples of constructive work with local partner organisations to work together to prevent crime, reduce demand and improve services.

Good
2

How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?

Suffolk Constabulary’s current workforce model matches demand, organisational and financial requirements well and is aligned to the PCC’s police and crime plan.

However, the constabulary has recognised that the current model is unsustainable given the need to reduce spending further which will result in reduced workforce numbers.

The constabulary has started a more detailed analysis to support the case for change so that the impact of any further reductions in staff can be fully evaluated. The constabulary is currently undertaking more detailed analysis to support the case for change so that the impact of any further reductions in staff can be fully evaluated.

The constabulary has now embarked on a five-year plan to transform how it will deliver local policing by 2020. It has made sound and prudent predictions about the level of staffing it will be able to afford by 2020.

The constabulary has extensive collaborative working arrangements with Norfolk Constabulary involving a number of specialist policing units and back office functions generating significant savings.

While the constabulary has identified firm savings plans for 2015/16, plans for 2016/17 onwards are less well developed. This together with the developing understanding of the constabulary’s demand means that the constabulary is currently unable to fully plan a future workforce model that will match predicted demand, organisational and financial requirements, hence the grade of requires improvement.

Requires improvement

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 behaviours expected of them.

    3

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

    Overall, Suffolk Constabulary has a good track record of achieving the required savings; it has successfully reduced its spending by £18.8m from 2011/12 to 2014/15.

    It achieved a balanced budget in 2014/15 and has planned a balanced budget for 2015/16. The approach to reducing spending has been managed robustly and resulted in savings accruing ahead of time allowing the constabulary to build up financial reserves.

    The constabulary has secured funding from other sources and works with other organisations to apply for and be provided with funding. There is evidence of good budgetary control by managers, supported by finance advisors, and scrutiny of expenditure.

    The PCC’s priorities are reflected in the constabulary’s plans and there is clear accountability. The constabulary and the office of the police and crime commissioner (OPCC) work together and share assumptions for financial planning.

    The constabulary has started to develop plans for future anticipated savings through to 2020; however it will need to have a full understanding of its demands and finalise a model for policing that is capable of meeting future demand efficiently, effectively and within a reduced budget.

    Good