Nottinghamshire 2016Read more about Nottinghamshire 2016
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Nottinghamshire Police. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.
The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime: not yet graded.
The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement.
The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is: good.
The efficiency and legitimacy inspection findings are published below. My overall assessment of Nottinghamshire’s performance will be published in spring 2017.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
PEEL assessments are updated throughout the year, as the results of the different inspections and data collections become available. The graded judgments for effectiveness will be published in March 2017. See last year’s assessment of the force’s effectiveness.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Nottinghamshire Police has been assessed as requires improvement in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
Its understanding of current demand is good and it is developing its understanding of potential future demand for services. It has a good understanding of the extent to which internal inefficiencies create demand and continues to remove inefficient ways of working from its internal processes. However, there are significant concerns about the way in which the force has managed its finances and HMIC concludes that the force is at serious financial risk. The force missed its own efficiency savings target by a sizeable margin. HMIC has limited confidence that future savings can be achieved at the pace and scale required while maintaining a good service to the communities of Nottinghamshire. In last year’s efficiency inspection, Nottinghamshire Police was judged to be good.
Nottinghamshire Police’s understanding of current demand is good and it is developing its understanding of potential future demand for services. It has a good understanding of the extent to which internal inefficiencies create demand and it continues to remove waste from its internal processes. The force does not fully understand its current workforce capabilities and skill gaps, although it acknowledges it needs people with financial investigator and digital skills. The force is only beginning to assess what will be required in its future operating model.
The force recognises its operating model – how it is currently organised and provides services – is not sustainable and this situation has not improved since HMIC’s 2015 inspection. Its £12m efficiency programme for 2016/17 places additional reliance on the assurances needed from budget monitoring. Plans to cut the size of the workforce to affordable levels by 2019 are not advanced enough for the force to be able to understand fully the impact that reducing police officer and staff numbers will have on frontline policing for Nottinghamshire. The force’s future operating model means that the present structure, in which there is a separate command team for Nottingham City and the county of Nottinghamshire, will change. Although the force told partners about intended changes to the policing model, some city council partners feel that they were not properly involved or informed. This culminated in a public disagreement between the city council and the force that does little to bolster public confidence in policing. HMIC has limited confidence that future savings can be achieved at the pace and scale required while also maintaining a good service to the communities of Nottinghamshire.
The force is involved in a wide range of collaborative activity and demonstrates that this reduces cost and improves resilience. It works well with other forces to manage demand for services and continues to consider other options for further collaboration.
Nottinghamshire Police is at serious financial risk, which is a change from its apparently secure financial position in 2015. Its financial management has been inadequate because it did not have appropriate financial controls in place and failed to notice that substantial costs had been left out of its budgets until September 2015. These significant weaknesses in the force’s financial management present a risk to its future plans. Although this situation is now improving, it is too early to be sure that new financial leadership has stabilised the situation. The force also missed its efficiencies savings target by a sizeable margin and its very recent track record in achieving savings is disappointing. It used £9.4m of reserves to meet the budget gap and as a result it now has depleted reserves. The force has had to make significant and unplanned further reductions to its workforce because of its failure to close the funding gap.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Nottinghamshire Police has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our findings this year are consistent with last year’s findings, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy.
The force continues to reinforce the importance of treating people with fairness and respect and to ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. It values workforce wellbeing and identifies and understands those issues that have the greatest impact on workforce perceptions of fair and respectful treatment. However, it is not able to demonstrate whether its performance assessment process is fair or effective.
Nottinghamshire Police is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect and its importance is understood by the workforce. The force seeks feedback and challenge from the people it serves, including those who have less trust and confidence in the police or are less likely to complain. It conducts victim surveys and surveys of those who have made complaints and also works with an independent advisory group (IAG) and a stop and search scrutiny board that include members of the public from diverse groups. However, although the force acts on learning and feedback, it does not always demonstrate clearly what action it has taken.
The force makes good use of social media and its website, which is easily accessible to those people whose first language is not English because it can display text in over 150 different languages. It has also considered the needs of people with sight or hearing problems, or dyslexia.
Nottinghamshire Police continues to ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully, although there are gaps in its vetting processes to ensure that designated posts are vetted to a specific standard. The force has an ethical culture and the workforce understands what serious corruption is and how to report it. Staff and officers are aware of the gifts and hospitality register and notifiable associations procedure.
The force clarifies and reinforces unacceptable behaviour effectively. The force intranet contains very good reference material, and the Integrity matters newsletter provides real-life examples linked to the Code of Ethics. Officers and staff, including volunteers, have a good understanding of these standards. The force proactively and effectively identifies and manages the threat, risk and harm from corruption. It also identifies early warning signs of potential risks to integrity and corruption and shares information internally and with other forces.
Nottinghamshire Police recognises abuse of authority for sexual gain (taking advantage of a position of power to exploit vulnerable victims of crime) as serious corruption. The workforce are clear that this behaviour is unacceptable. The force deals with it robustly by dismissing officers or staff and prosecuting them in court.
The force publicises misconduct hearings on its public website, including information about how to attend open hearings. The outcomes from gross misconduct and misconduct findings are also publicised on the force’s intranet and include the names of those involved.
Nottinghamshire Police needs to improve how it treats its workforce with fairness and respect. It is good at using a variety of methods to understand workforce perceptions, including: a people survey, a suggestion scheme, a people board, meetings with unions, the police federation, staff associations and staff networks, and exit interviews with those leaving the force. In addition, it conducts interview sessions with under-represented groups to better understand their views. However, the force needs to improve how it shares information about the actions it takes in response to workforce concerns.
The force actively monitors workforce diversity, complaints, misconduct and grievances, but we found that staff sometimes feel grievances are not dealt with effectively, with no action taken or no formal response provided.
The force’s understanding of the wellbeing needs of its workforce is generally good and is improving, although its provision is more reactive than preventative. It provides gyms and a sports and social club as well as a website called ‘Working well for East Midlands forces’, which covers dietary advice, fitness and other health-related matters. It is working to improve measures to support mental health.
Nottinghamshire Police is not able to demonstrate whether its performance assessment process is fair or effective. From April 2016 it became an online ‘self-service’ procedure and the force had provided no guidance or support for supervisors on how to manage the new process, apart from a link to a guidance document on the intranet. The force is not able to measure the outcomes of its performance assessment process, apart from when people are referred for unsatisfactory performance. The workforce do not value the PDR process and do not believe that it is fair or effective.
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.
Nottinghamshire Police’s chief officer team understands the importance of having strong, ethical leaders and the force is trying to ensure that everyone understands what the force expects from its leaders. However, more could be done. We found there is only a limited understanding throughout the force of what is expected of effective leaders.
No systematic approach is in place to identify leadership capacity and capabilities across the organisation. The force is led by a chief constable and an assistant chief constable whose ranks are temporary. A decision made not to advertise immediately for a new chief constable means the arrangement will continue until the new postholder takes up the role by 1 April 2017 – ten months after the previous chief constable left. This could lead to a period of significant uncertainly and lack of direction for the force at a time when it faces some significant performance challenges. The lack of a settled leadership team is of considerable concern to HMIC. The interim arrangement is also causing uncertainty among the workforce; this, together with the potential for the new chief constable to review the force structure, may have an impact on the force’s effectiveness.
The force recognises that identifying and responding to the gaps in leadership capability will be important to implement new ways of working. A future workforce plan aims to identify the forces’ leadership requirements. The force uses a broad range of approaches and techniques to understand the relative strengths of its leadership. This understanding could be made more effective by ensuring the leadership development programmes address the gaps identified in leadership capability.
The force seeks out new ideas, approaches and working practices from across the police service and further afield. It has forged good links with local academic institutions and learns from and regularly evaluates new innovations and working practices in other forces. The force has a good understanding of diversity, including how diverse leadership styles can help build effective and complementary teams. It evaluates the diversity, background and skills of its senior management teams and works positively to encourage those from under-represented groups to develop and progress.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Nottinghamshire Police.