Lincolnshire 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.
Lincolnshire Police engages effectively with its workforce to create leadership expectations that are clearly defined at all levels, and has a culture that encourages appropriate challenge. However, more could be done to ensure there is a well-developed understanding of what the force expects from its leaders in the lower ranks and grades.
The force provides a broad range of leadership development programmes and has a clear rationale for the techniques it uses to understand the relative strengths of its leadership. This understanding could be used more effectively by ensuring its leadership development programmes address the gaps identified in its leadership capability.
The force is very effective in the way it challenges itself to seek out new ideas from across the police service and further afield. The workforce perceive their workplace to be innovative and report that they can suggest new ideas and working practices in a straightforward way. The force has built strong links with local academic institutions.
The force’s understanding of diversity extends beyond protected characteristics, and takes into account how diversity of background, experience and skills can strengthen leadership teams, and the chief officer team regularly reviews senior leadership teams to redeploy staff and officers, having evaluated their wider expertise, experience, background and skills.
How well does the force understand leadership?
A good understanding of leadership capabilities, and what the force expects from its leaders, 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 the personality types of individuals, and how these 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.
Lincolnshire Police’s chief officer team understands the importance of having strong leaders, and many people in the workforce understand how the leadership expectations relate to their individual roles. The chief constable and deputy chief constable are active in promoting the force’s leadership expectations, and a variety of methods is used to communicate what is expected of effective leaders. Nonetheless, some officers and staff have a limited understanding of what the force expects from its leaders, thinking that this only applied to those in supervisory roles or those seeking promotion. The force should do more to ensure that there is a wider understanding of its leadership expectations across the whole workforce.
The force has introduced a variety of methods for reviewing and evaluating the capacity and quality of leadership at all levels. It is carrying out a skills audit of all ranks at chief inspector and above, which will include reference to the internal and external leadership qualifications to be attained. The force uses its understanding of leadership to identify gaps and areas for improvement in its leadership capability. For example, it recognises that leaders are increasingly working collaboratively with partner agencies. Consequently, there is a growing need to improve skills in negotiating and influencing, as well as to provide training in presentation techniques, especially focused towards audiences outside the police service.
Areas for improvement
- Lincolnshire Police should ensure there is a wider understanding of what the force expects from its leaders across the whole workforce, notably at constable and equivalent level.
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.
Lincolnshire Police has a good approach to trying to ensure it draws the best candidates from the widest possible pool of potential senior leaders. Many innovative and creative methods exist to identify potential senior leaders at all ranks and grades from both within and outside the force. Despite the relatively small size of its workforce, the force has consistently developed candidates who are successful at the Senior Police National Assessment Centre.
A number of programmes form part of the talent management strategy to identify future leaders; these include psychometric testing, 360-degree feedback and mentoring. The force supports Fast Track applications from officers and there is a newly established and well-advertised talent management programme to develop the most talented 1 percent of its workforce. This involves a competitive application process for ten places each year, and the programme includes external elements to expose officers and staff to different perspectives and leadership styles.
The force has a clear and well-structured approach to leadership development, including the provision of training courses that lead to recognised qualifications. A broad range of development approaches is used, including a virtual leadership course and access to leadership masterclasses, coaching, action learning sets and team development. The leadership development programmes are evaluated, but this analysis does not always measure their success in achieving improvements in current and future workforce capabilities.
Despite the financial pressures the force faces, it has recently recruited a deputy chief constable who has brought new ideas, and it has recently advertised externally for a chief superintendent. Although the force is not supporting Direct Entry candidates, it has a ‘citizens in policing’ programme, through which it is encouraging the involvement of volunteers with skills in specialist areas such as IT. The force also has an internship programme for Lincoln University criminology students to work in the force’s continuous improvement department.
The strategic workforce planning board, chaired by the assistant chief officer for resources, discusses and highlights any leadership problems identified by the force. A range of methods is then used to improve a situation when a leadership issue has been identified – and responses have been effective. For example, the staff survey shows a level of dissatisfaction among police community support officers (PCSOs) regarding a perceived lack of meetings and guidance from their line managers. This matter is now being addressed through a small working group involving PCSOs who have volunteered their time to look at the problem and identify solutions.
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.
Lincolnshire Police is highly proactive in seeking out new opportunities for improvement from other organisations, including other forces. In particular, there is a very strong focus on identifying new ways of thinking by working collaboratively with other forces in the region and with local partners. The force has an evidence-based policing board, chaired by the deputy chief constable, and is hosting a Society of Evidence Based Policing event in partnership with Lincoln University later on in 2016.
The force has a good track record of promoting innovation and change. Staff at all levels are encouraged to put forward suggestions for innovation through a ‘make a difference’ suggestion scheme or by sending an email directly to the chief constable or deputy chief constable. The force places great value on the contribution of staff, giving due credit for ideas submitted and providing feedback to those that have suggested ideas which are not implemented. The workforce understands the value the force places on continuous improvement and perceives innovation to be an inherent part of the force ethos.
The force can demonstrate a good understanding of diversity, which considers how protected characteristics, specialist professional backgrounds and leadership styles can help build effective teams. At chief inspector level and above, the force can demonstrate that it has effective systems and processes for evaluating the diversity of background and skills of its leadership teams.
The force reports that it recruits proportionately higher numbers of women officers. However, while there is a good ratio of men and women at constable level, there are fewer female officers at higher ranks. Although the force has very few black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) officers and staff members, it nonetheless broadly reflects the BAME population in the local community it serves.