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West Midlands PEEL 2016

Efficiency

How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 03/11/2016
Outstanding

West Midlands Police has been assessed as outstanding in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force has a detailed understanding of current demand; it is working well to identify hidden crimes, and is making progress in evaluating future demand. It has a developing appreciation of the impact, scale and likelihood of future risk. The force manages its resources well to meet current demand. The central focus of the force’s plans for investment and managing demand in the future rest with its comprehensive and ambitious change 2020 programme, which aims to transform how it provides its services.

The force has a detailed understanding of current demand, which is based on an extensive range of information. It is working well with partners and the public to identify hidden crimes. It has reviewed practices across a number of functions to identify and remove inefficient internal processes. It has also made progress in evaluating future demand and has a developing appreciation of the impact, scale and likelihood of future risk. The force recognises the changing demographics in its region and the impact of changing public expectations. Its plans take into account the public’s readiness to access police services online. The force and its local partners are working to improve the management of demand and the delivery of public service through a number of collaborative arrangements, including plans for a West Midlands Combined Authority.

West Midlands Police manages its resources well to meet current demand. These are allocated in accordance with the force’s strategic assessment, which prioritises early intervention and prevention by police and partners. The force ensures that resources are matched to these priorities in a variety of effective ways.

For workforce skills and gaps, now and in the future, the force has a five year workforce plan in place with associated recruitment and promotion plans. Work is also being undertaken within the crime portfolio to develop a more detailed workforce plan to inform the overall corporate plan. In addition, departments assess current and future skills gaps on a quarterly basis, and this is then used to drive training delivery by the corporate learning and development function.

The central focus of the force’s plans for investment and managing demand in the future rest with its comprehensive and ambitious change 2020 programme, which aims to transform how it provides its services. The objective is to bring about a shift from reactive policing to a more preventive model, with a greater focus on partnership working and better use of IT. This programme is well led and managed and benefits realisation is tracked across each individual project to provide a consistent understanding of the whole system. Much of the 2020 change programme is focused on developing digital capability to enable the force to operate more efficiently and improve the way it provides services. It is conducted through a series of incremental changes and is progressing very well. More generally, the force has a strong record of achieving service efficiencies, having undertaken budgeting exercises over several years; the force estimates it has achieved savings of £60m.

The force is now using its substantial reserves to support the force’s change programme and it has £45m set aside for this specific purpose. Following a better than had been anticipated budgetary position, the force has conducted a review to re-calibrate its change programme with the intention of increasing value for money.

Questions for Efficiency

1

How well does the force understand the current and likely future demand?

The force has a detailed understanding of current and likely future demand. Its analysis of current demand goes beyond routine monitoring and evaluation of calls for service and takes in account an extensive range of information. A well established multi-agency initiative, Operation Sentinel, is raising awareness of the force, partners and the public of hidden crimes. To understand how inefficient internal processes create unnecessary demand on its resources, the force has reviewed practices across a range of its functions. It has introduced some changes as a result, but its ability to identify wasteful use of resources could be enhanced if these processes were applied consistently across all areas of the force.

The force has made progress in evaluating future demand and has a developing appreciation of the impact, scale and likelihood of future risk. The force and its partners are developing a shared understanding of potential impact on their joint working arrangements. In support of its ambition to inform and influence public services reform in the region, the force is actively working to understand and plan ahead for the potential impact of the West Midlands Combined Authority. The force recognises the changing demographics in its region and how public expectation influences likely future demand and its plans take into account the public’s readiness to engage with the police online.

Outstanding
2

How well does the force use its resources to manage current demand?

West Midlands Police is good overall in the way that it manages resources to meet current demand. The importance of identifying opportunities for early intervention and prevention by police and partners is clearly understood.

The force ensures that resources are matched to priorities in a variety of ways. The resource planning group monitors variations in demand to co-ordinate staff movements around the force. Other mechanisms for the smart allocation of resources include bespoke computer software, which enables managers to make adjustments to resource deployment.

In terms of workforce skills and gaps, the force’s understanding is better at local level and within individual departments and it is working to develop a more comprehensive, force-wide understanding. The force does use the information it has to good effect and has identified areas where there is a need for training, recruitment or promotion.

In respect of collaboration, the main focus of this large force is on growing links with local authorities and other local partners rather than with other forces. The force recognises that its plans to increase partnership integration must be developed alongside its own change programme and the developing plans for the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The force makes best use of its investment by taking a phased approach to change. Through very strong and mature governance arrangements, the force is able to monitor and review the impact of change on service delivery. The force has developed ambitious future plans to transform how it delivers service. It has 28 separate projects underway, each with a rigorous business case, reviewed by the change board. Benefits realisation is tracked across all of the individual projects to provide a consistent understanding of the whole system. More generally, the force has a strong record of achieving service improvement, having undertaken budgeting exercises over several years to achieve savings of £60m.

Good
3

How well is the force planning for demand in the future?

The force is planning very well for demand in the future. Its comprehensive change plans are ambitious in their scope and are progressing well. These aim to bring about a shift from reactive policing to a more preventative model, with a greater partnership focus and better use of IT to enable the force to operate more efficiently and improve the way it provides services. The force recently refreshed its change plans to ensure that these continue to meet demand, align with the PCC’s plan and support the force’s organisational priorities. It has mapped out a series of staged implementations between spring 2016 and 2017, while the change board provides continual expert internal challenge throughout the design, implementation and conclusion of each project. This rigorous internal review is supplemented by its commercial partners and independent auditors, commissioned by the office of the police and crime commissioner.

The force is using its substantial reserves to support its change programme and has £45m set aside for this specific purpose. Despite the improved budgetary position, the force has maintained its commitment to continued efficiency savings and has conducted a review to re-calibrate its change programme with the intention of increasing value for money. West Midlands Police is proactively engaged with other public sector agencies, consultants and private sector companies planning for the complex and wide ranging joint working arrangements which will be required for the proposed West Midlands Combined Authority.

Outstanding