Wiltshire 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.
Wiltshire Police has a broad understanding of its current leadership in the force, and is taking steps to understand it further. The force actively seeks feedback from the workforce about how its officers and staff perceive their leaders using a range of methods to do this and it responds to any concerns raised.
The senior team has a clear sense of the force’s direction however, this message has not successfully reached all levels within the organisation. The force has successful leadership training programmes in place and there is good evidence that the force understands the value of developing diverse leadership teams, in terms of experience, background and skills.
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.
Wiltshire Police has a broad understanding of its current leadership in the force, although work is required to develop this further. This understanding has been developed through a range of actions including a leadership review of all roles and ranks.
The force has been clear that Wiltshire Police is an organisation which is strongly led by ethical values. This is understood by the workforce, and senior leaders are clear about the organisation’s expectations of the workforce. However, more junior leaders, specifically sergeants and inspectors and the police staff equivalent, have a varied understanding of what the force expects of its leaders.
The force has made detailed efforts to seek feedback from the workforce on how leadership is perceived in the organisation, including the informal ‘catch up with the chief’ events, monthly web chats, chief constable annual road shows and a comprehensive, externally-conducted staff survey. This survey has a section that specifically addresses questions about how the workforce perceives leadership in the force.
The force responds to the views of the workforce through formats such as the ‘you said we did’ publication, chief constable’s blogs, and interactive sessions in response to workforce concerns, for example about removing the ranks of chief inspector and chief superintendent in the organisation.
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 chief officer team has a clear sense of the force’s future direction, centred on preventing crime and protecting the public, however, this message has not successfully reached all levels of the organisation. The force uses a variety of ways to communicate with the workforce, but these methods appear to have had limited success in ensuring a broad understanding among the workforce of its future plans. During the inspection, HMIC received feedback from many police staff and officers that there was a lack of visible leadership. Staff and officers reported not having an opportunity to meet a senior officer in person.
The force has demonstrated a willingness to understand and encourage new ideas, and opportunities to use new technology. It has taken part in an ambitious mobile data project in collaboration with Wiltshire County Council, which gives the workforce access to 3G-supported laptop computers which enable remote access to force systems. Handheld data devices for operational staff are due to be rolled out as part of a planned programme of work.
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.
Wiltshire has invested in its leadership training capability and has effective programmes in place to develop leadership skills at all ranks and grades. Leadership training is available to police officers of any rank. There is good evidence that the force understands the value of developing diverse leadership teams, in terms of experience, background and skills.
The force has changed its approach to how it measures performance and instead focuses on and prioritises quality of investigations and victim and witness care. This has been recognised nationally by the College of Policing. However, the workforce regards the annual performance review process as serving little practical value in managing performance and officers and staff feel that completing the review was only seen as important to those seeking promotion. At a strategic level the ‘people intelligence board’ enables strong central assessment and management of poorly performing staff in a structured and proportionate way.
The force has invested in its leadership training, with a variety of programmes available including ‘developing leaders’, dedicated leadership training for inspectors and sergeants, and an inspector to superintendent development programme. The force has worked with an external company in gauging a greater understanding of it’s leaders, so that individuals can understand their leadership style more clearly. The leadership programme identifies and manages talented staff through a force-wide ‘talent management’ programme.
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.
HMIC found that Wiltshire Police has good leaders who are focussed on improving the effectiveness of the force. Senior leaders have clearly set the force’s agenda to fulfil its national policing responsibilities, and it has clear systems of governance in place to ensure that progress against goals is communicated to key partners.
Leadership has also contributed a stronger focus in improving the force’s legitimacy in the way it is keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has developed a ‘5 stages of leadership’ strategy which incorporates the force’s values into its appraisal process. During the inspection, HMIC found that these steps had reduced the risk of discrimination and bias. The force had noted a reduction in grievances or concerns about final decisions. HMIC also found that many police staff and officers thought that these steps had brought about an improvement in fairness.
HMIC found that chief officers promote a culture of professionalism and ethical behaviour. Senior leaders in the force created a force ethics board which contributes to leadership development and training, and effectively informs policies and practices. The force has ensured the Code of Ethics has been incorporated into its work, and the chief constable has led presentations to police officers and staff, to ensure they know how to lead in an ethical way.