Wiltshire 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.
Wiltshire Police has defined clearly what it expects from its leaders and this is understood at all ranks and levels. Training programmes, recruitment processes and promotion procedures focus on the quality and capacity of leadership. All staff HMIC spoke to understood fully and could explain the force’s values. The force has reviewed its leadership capability to identify gaps in knowledge, skills and behaviours and uses this information to appoint the right people to the right roles. The force is confident in its ability to identify and nurture future leaders through its leadership training programme. By taking the radical step of removing some middle and senior police ranks from its management structure, the force has empowered a new pool of prospective current and future leaders. Staff identified as potential senior leaders receive training and they are mentored by a member of the senior command team.
HMIC’s inspection found that staff thought the force’s approach had changed, with more emphasis on personal responsibility for self-development and developing skills to provide better services to the public. They also found there was greater focus on well-being, more ethical recruitment and better leadership development. The force is developing more diverse leadership teams by making some roles formerly open only to police officers accessible to all staff.
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 problems in leadership.
The force has clearly defined leadership expectations and continually promotes its five core values: personal responsibility; professionalism; teamwork; people first; and honesty and integrity. These are used in annual performance reviews and reflect the nine values of the Code of Ethics.
Wiltshire Police has gone through an extended period of transformation, with a particular emphasis on people, leadership and culture, through the implementation of a people strategy. The force has made a significant investment in time and resources to embed its leadership approach into this strategy. Chief officers have made fundamental changes to the leadership style of the force, starting at the top of the organisation. All staff HMIC spoke to during our inspection felt they played a fundamental role in the leadership approach, and the development of the force values, which are clearly understood, as are the force’s expectations of individuals.
The chief constable has clearly communicated what he expects from his leaders at staff seminars, and senior leaders across the organisation encourage open communication and constructive challenge. During early 2015 the force analysed its leadership capability to identify any gaps in skills, attitudes and behaviours. This resulted in a new approach to leadership development that includes clear definitions of leadership at all levels. Leadership training is available to everyone, and a mandatory course for newly promoted sergeants and inspectors explores each aspect of leadership. The force’s resource management panel recruits staff using the results of personal appraisals and personality type profiling to match the right person to the right post.
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.
Wiltshire Police’s ongoing change programme includes greater emphasis on well-being, leadership development and cultural change. The role of deputy chief constable has been removed, as have chief superintendent and chief inspector ranks, encouraging greater workforce involvement in decision making. To address any skills gaps resulting from this new structure, a ‘Developing Leaders’ programme has been established to nurture talented staff, which is open to police officers and police staff. The force is modernising significant leadership posts which historically would have been filled with warranted officers, for example a police staff member holds the director of intelligence post. Inspectors identified as having superintendent potential are offered training for more senior posts. The force’s new promotion system is based on continuous performance assessment, replacing the traditional interview board approach. Staff interviewed by HMIC welcomed this change.
The force uses its appraisal process, self-referral and line manager assessment to identify talent. All officers and staff can complete a personality and character test and are encouraged to participate in 360-degree feedback, as well as mentoring and coaching schemes. Mandatory and voluntary training programmes focus on the force’s values and staff are encouraged to take up secondments to acquire new skills. While recruitment is currently based on matching applicant skills to job descriptions, the force is considering recruitment based on organisational need. The force reviews all aspects of potential risk across the workforce to address issues of professional standards, integrity, conduct, under-performance and poor behaviour in a consistent manner. This is achieved through a board overseen by a chief officer.
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.
Wiltshire Police encourages all staff to contribute new ideas, mainly through the chief officer’s web chat forum, while its organisational review board (ORB), encourages learning and good practice, using recommendations from internal and external sources, from major crime and domestic homicide reviews to HMIC recommendations and Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigations. An example of this would be the development of staff training material using feedback from a domestic homicide review and information about police failings identified by a joint investigation with the IPCC, following consultation with the victim’s family. The force’s continuous improvement portal also contains recommendations and action plans.
The force is involved in a national ‘reverse mentoring’ pilot with the College of Policing where junior officers share their knowledge and experiences with senior leaders. The force is working with external consultants to recruit more black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) officers and staff to help ensure the force better represents the communities it serves. It also has a forum for raising concerns about vulnerable staff, such as those who are unwell, under investigation or susceptible to corruption, to ensure they receive appropriate support.
Wiltshire is working with external consultants and the College of Policing to develop diverse leadership teams. Its three-year ‘Developing Leadership’ programme includes external secondments at private sector organisations including Nationwide and Dyson, and at the time of our inspection equal numbers of staff and officers were taking part in this training. The force uses personality profiling to help individual supervisors and managers understand how they make decisions, approach problems and communicate with others. This process has been introduced across the force as part of its leadership programme and is used by managers to match suitable candidates to vacancies.