Derbyshire PEEL 2016
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.
Police leadership is crucial in enabling a force to be effective, efficient and legitimate. This inspection focused on how a force understands, develops and displays leadership through its organisational development.
Derbyshire Constabulary has a clear set of leadership principles and expectations, contained in its ‘Just Lead’ pledges, which are aimed at the whole workforce. The force is developing an understanding of leadership capability across its workforce, using a range of techniques. It has conducted a detailed analysis of leadership structures as part of a College of Policing pilot and will be considering the findings in the coming months.
The force has recently introduced a new development programme to identify potential senior leaders, which is perceived as a success by those involved. New sergeants and inspectors are well supported with formal training and external (College of Policing) programmes. Where leadership issues arise, they are dealt with promptly and effectively.
Derbyshire Constabulary looks both externally and within the force itself for good ideas. The force has taken learning from other forces in order to develop its change programme and is working with local universities on a varied range of projects. Staff across the workforce describe a working environment where innovation and suggestions for improvement are encouraged and taken seriously.
The force recognises the value of diverse leadership teams, although, like many forces, it has focused on protected characteristics such as race, gender and sexuality, rather than a wider understanding of diversity that includes personal background, skills or experience.
How well does the force understand leadership?
A good understanding of leadership capabilities and expectations is critical to the effective functioning of forces. How forces engage with their workforces when setting leadership expectations is vital in ensuring that police staff and officers feel enabled to lead in an ethical way and to challenge the expectations appropriately.
Forces’ understanding should also extend to their leadership strengths and weaknesses across every rank and grade. This includes an understanding of leadership styles and personality types of individuals, and how they affect wider team dynamics. Forces should be able to take this knowledge and use it to adapt quickly to identify any gaps or issues in leadership.
In 2013, Derbyshire Constabulary developed and introduced a set of five ‘Just Lead’ pledges and behavioural expectations for leaders across the whole workforce, and there are examples of senior officers discussing leadership at a local level. However, the force could benefit from greater promotion and development of ‘Just Lead’. For example, we are unaware of any activity to assess how widely its workforce has understood and implemented the pledges and expectations.
Derbyshire Constabulary has undertaken work to understand the leadership capability across its workforce. It has carried out detailed analysis of leadership structures, in response to the College of Policing’s leadership review. This work is continuing and the force plans to consider any findings in due course. Myers-Briggs type indicator testing, 360-degree feedback, emotional resilience training and self-assessments are used with senior leaders, people taking part in the force’s development programme and newly promoted leaders as part of their initial training courses. Leaders’ appraisals include assessment against the ‘Just Lead’ principles.
Where gaps in leadership capacity and capability up to and including chief inspector rank are identified, they are addressed through a deployment panel, chaired by the deputy chief constable and attended by all heads of divisions and departments. The placement and rotation of officers at chief inspector and above is carried out by the chief officer team, reflecting the close working relationships among the senior ranks.
How well does the force develop leadership?
The way in which a force identifies and develops leadership skills is crucial in making sure it performs well now and in the future. Forces should identify leadership development programmes containing a broad range of approaches, beyond just formal training, to develop leadership.
Forces’ knowledge of their current leadership capability should also mean that they are aware of the leadership skills and experience they do not currently possess, and are seeking to recruit to address this.
Derbyshire Constabulary has a clear commitment to support talented senior leaders and aims to produce them from within its own workforce. Newly promoted first and second line managers (sergeants and inspectors) attend an eight-day leadership course, and officers of chief inspector and staff-equivalent grades are expected to participate in the College of Policing senior leadership programme. The introduction of the new development programme has broadened and formalised opportunities to identify people with the potential to become senior leaders. While the programme is perceived as a success, it is too soon to assess its effectiveness formally.
The force is good at addressing problems relating to leadership quickly, with prompt, effective steps taken at an early stage. We were given an example of the force creating a detective establishment board in April 2016 to address a number of factors that were thought to be stopping officers applying on promotion to detective roles. This board has provided a clearer structure for detectives to receive professional development and to have equity of opportunity in seeking progression.
Derbyshire Constabulary is involved in a number of national recruitment schemes. Six Derbyshire officers take part in the Fast Track scheme. More could be done to bring in new skills thinking, however, as the force has chosen not to take part in the Direct Entry scheme for superintendents and has restricted all promotion processes during 2016 to internal applicants. However, the force has used some external recruitment to enhance leadership capabilities, including the recent appointment of three chief officers, each from different police organisations.
Areas for improvement
- Derbyshire Constabulary should conduct an evaluation of its leadership programme ‘Just Lead’ to ensure a structured, comprehensive and transparent approach to identifying and developing potential leaders.
How well does the force display leadership?
Good leadership encourages and develops a wide range of people, embraces change and actively supports the development of new ideas. While it is important for forces to ensure that they are representative of the communities they serve, truly diverse leadership teams are built around the wider experience, background and skills of individuals.
Derbyshire Constabulary evaluates and implements practices and systems used by other police organisations and partner agencies. In particular, the force has taken account of other forces’ experience of managing a period of transition and has incorporated this learning into a series of significant change programmes that are planned to take place throughout the year. The force’s evidence-based policing board sustains and co-ordinates a varied range of research projects carried out by students from Sheffield Hallam and Derby universities, including on the use of police time to meet demand for police services, use of stop and search powers, and human trafficking.
We spoke to staff across the workforce who described a working environment where innovation and suggestions for improvement are welcomed and encouraged. Many used the example of a new joint headquarters building, to be shared with the fire and rescue service, to demonstrate that the force’s approach to innovation is set from the top. Formal mechanisms are in place for staff to make suggestions and to challenge decisions, both of which are well known and well regarded by staff. More generally, middle and senior managers described working in an open and supportive culture, in which they are expected to seek new ideas and recognise opportunities to support the continuous improvement of the force.
The force recognises the value of diverse leadership teams, although, like many forces, it has focused on race, gender and sexuality, rather than a wider understanding of diversity that includes personal background, skills or experience. The force should be in a better position to record information about diversity beyond the protected characteristics, and any gaps that currently exist, following the introduction of a positive action officer post in summer 2016.