Humberside 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.
Humberside Police is currently investing considerable effort and resources to develop its leadership strategy and ‘Leading Together’ programme. The force has involved its workforce in developing clear leadership expectations. HMIC found that, despite these efforts, awareness is still inconsistent across the workforce, particularly among operational officers. The force is aware that police staff have yet to be included in the process. In addition, the force does not collect evidence systematically about the individual performance of officers and staff, partly because the current performance appraisal process is ineffective. The force has recognised this, and, at the time of our inspection, was implementing a new system to be launched in June 2016. This aims to identify strengths and development areas, and also to provide information to improve the continuing professional development of the workforce.
The force has introduced a leadership development programme, but has yet to evaluate it. It is positive that the force has started to assess the impact of individual aspects of the programme by using personality type profiling and by providing in-depth feedback so that officers can identify areas for development. Humberside Police has a more limited and less systematic method of identifying future leaders than some other forces. The force has engaged with the national Direct Entry scheme at police inspector level, and the internal Fast Track to inspector programme. However, it does not have a wider talent management system to identify and develop potential future leaders within its existing workforce.
The force is seeking new ideas and ways of working from across the police service, academia and industry, as well as collaborating with local police forces. It searches for, and uses ideas which have been suggested by officers and staff. It has run recruitment exercises and has used other means of attracting new talent to the force, but these do not appear to be linked to a clear sense of what the force needs in the future. In addition, although the force has an understanding of diversity within its leadership teams which extends beyond protected characteristics, we found that at the moment the force is not doing enough to ensure that it is building diverse teams through recruitment or selection processes.
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
Humberside Police is currently investing considerable effort and resources in the development of its leadership strategy. The force is developing its knowledge and expectations of leadership through its ‘Leading Together’ programme and is building clear leadership expectations. These expectations are being integrated into role profiles and training, as part of the force’s Leadership Strategy 2015–18, which is published on the force intranet.
HMIC found that, despite these efforts, awareness is still inconsistent across the workforce, especially among operational officers. The force is aware that police staff have yet to be included in the process and, is planning to address this. The force could do more to ensure that its workforce has a better understanding of leadership within the organisation, and what is expected of every officer and member of staff. The force would also benefit from a detailed, more comprehensive understanding of the level of commitment which the workforce has towards its leadership expectations. The senior leaders in the force recognise that the new programme needs to be reinforced with its operational officers and needs to be more inclusive of its police staff.
Humberside Police is doing some work to develop its understanding of leadership among its workforce. For example, the force offers personality type profiling and 360-degree feedback to its senior leaders. This should provide more information on leadership capabilities at that level. It intends to use this information to understand in more detail how effective its senior leaders are, and to support leadership development. It has used information from a staff survey to assess perceptions of leadership, but this did not record the views of all police officers and staff. In addition, the force does not collect evidence systematically about the individual performance of officers and staff. The current force performance appraisal process is ineffective, with low completion rates, so the force cannot identify leadership strengths and weaknesses, particularly in more junior ranks. The force has recognised this problem and at the time of our inspection it was implementing a new system to be launched in June 2016. This aims to identify strengths and development areas, and also to provide information to improve the continuous professional development of the workforce.
During our inspection, it became clear that the force had identified that it needed to make some changes to leadership roles. This problem had arisen because the force had changed its operating model. It was reviewing command responsibilities for a smaller number of senior posts, to ensure that workload, skills and development opportunities were distributed effectively.
Areas for improvement
- Humberside Police should ensure that its expectations for leadership are developed through consultation with the workforce. The result should be that there is a clear and realistic statement of what the force requires from its officers and staff at all ranks and grades.
How well does the force develop leadership?
The way in which a force identifies and develops leadership skills is crucial in making sure they perform 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.
Humberside Police does not have a consistent approach for identifying and tackling leadership problems, although it did have a number of measures as part of its leadership development programme, which could be used to try to solve such problems. Its development programme, which was launched in 2015, is tailored to each rank and offers a range of development opportunities including master classes, coaching and mentoring, and ‘communities of practice’. In these communities, peers review and learn from one another’s experience. They also identify development needs, which are met through continuing professional development events. These events include training in the Code of Ethics and managing incidents with vulnerable victims. These take place during the ‘proactive professional development days’ that are built into the force shift system.
The force has yet to evaluate the impact of its leadership development programme as a whole. It has started to assess the impact of individual aspects of the programme through personality type profiling and by providing in-depth feedback so that officers can identify areas for development. Humberside Police would benefit from a more systematic approach to the task of identifying future leaders within its workforce. The force has engaged with the national Direct Entry scheme at police inspector level, and the internal Fast Track to inspector programme.
However, it does not have a wider talent management system to identify and develop potential future leaders within its existing workforce, other than by picking out potential leaders at an operational policing level and noting those who perform highly in police promotion examinations. Officers identified in these ways are given the opportunity to show their potential by working in different areas of the organisation and undertaking specific project or review work. They are given a coach or mentor to support them in their development, and guidance to gain the right skills and experience to prepare them for future promotions.
The force expects that the new performance appraisal scheme will provide a better way of identifying potential leaders and supporting them so that they can achieve their potential. However, at the moment it is missing the opportunity to enhance the development and experience of those who have the potential to be senior leaders in the future.
Areas for improvement
- Humberside Police should review its processes to make sure that it can systematically identify those with the potential to become senior leaders, and support them to gain the necessary skills and self-development for future leadership roles within the organisation.
- Humberside Police should evaluate its leadership programme and talent management processes to ensure that it has a structured, comprehensive and transparent method of 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.
Humberside Police tries to identify best practice and aims to find new ways of working from across the police service, industry and the public sector. This is a positive step. For example, it has sought the support of another force to review the services and demand within the protecting vulnerable people command. As a result, it made changes to this area of work. Humberside Police is part of a group of police forces which are working with a university to identify and develop successful practice in several different aspects of policing, such as neighbourhood policing and public order management. It has also employed external consultants to review its current demand, and to suggest ways of managing that demand, using the resources which are available.
The force has an effective internal suggestion scheme called ‘Go and make a difference’ (GoMAD). During the inspection, HMIC heard about officers who had made suggestions using this scheme, and had been given personal responsibility for developing them.
The chief officer team reviews the senior leadership in the force, and is responsible for the lateral development moves of senior leaders. Decisions are based on individual skills and experience. Selection for lateral development opportunities (below senior officer) and promotions are decided through an internal selection process. The force has developed role profiles for each rank of police officer, which means that it can use the profiles to ensure that officers within posts have the right training and skills, and that they can develop their experience in order to become more effective. It has also started to use bespoke training and coaching programmes to look at the psychology of individuals, which, once implemented, should have a positive effect on the diversity of leadership teams. The force recognises that it has provided limited opportunities for police staff to develop their skills, and acknowledges that the specialist nature of some of the roles makes this more difficult. Staff networks offer informal coaching and support for those with protected characteristics (such as age, disability, gender reassignment). The force is now recruiting new student officers and has planned a number of intakes throughout the year. As part of its current recruitment campaign, it does not have any plans to recruit new people with specific leadership or specialist skills to support policing in the future. HMIC considers that this is a missed opportunity. In addition, although the force has an understanding of diversity within its leadership teams that extends beyond protected characteristics, we found that, at the moment, the force needs to question the ways in which it recruits and selects staff, to ensure that it is building diverse teams through recruitment and selection processes.
Areas for improvement
- Humberside Police should work to understand the diversity of its leadership teams in terms of skills, background and experience, in order to identify any gaps in capability.