City of London PEEL 2015
How well has the force performed in our other inspections?
In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMICFRS 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.
As part of HMIC’s annual all-force inspections into police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) in 2015, HMIC assessed how well led forces are at every rank and grade of the organisation and across all areas inspected in PEEL. We reviewed how well a force understands and is developing its leaders; whether it has set a clear and compelling future direction; and how well it motivates and engages the workforce.
City of London Police’s senior leadership team communicates clearly the values, behaviours and ethics it expect the workforce to exhibit. This is primarily set out through internal communications and training, and through the visibility and approachability of the commissioner and senior leadership team.
City of London Police has a clear sense of how its workforce perceives senior leadership and leadership in general across the force. This understanding helped the force realise that some of its employees had a negative view of their working environment, which is informing the force’s reduction and restructure of its building estate.
How well does the force have a clear understanding of the current state of its leadership at every level?
HMIC examined how well forces understand the strengths and weaknesses of leadership across the force and how well the workforce understands its leadership role. Strong, clear leadership across every rank and grade is vital to the effectiveness and efficiency of a modern and capable police force.
City of London Police’s chief officer team is highly visible and communicates clearly its expectation of the values, behaviours and ethics the force should have by way of internal communications and training. A leadership development programme further strengthens the workforce’s knowledge of these expectations. It aims to communicate the force’s core principles of leadership and successfully builds skills and reinforces messages around standards.
The force has a good understanding of how leadership is perceived across the force, though not all viewpoints are of a positive nature. The force undertakes staff surveys to assist in understanding the views of its workforce, the most recent one was conducted in May 2014. City of London Police also conducts issue-specific ‘sensing surveys’ through its change programme, which told the force that some of its workforce viewed the working environment negatively, particularly in regard to estate infrastructure. This has had some impact on morale, though the force is refurbishing its estate.
HMIC found that staff and officers are proud to work for the force and believe that the senior leadership team is doing the right things to improve the force.
How well has the force provided a clear and compelling sense of the future direction of the organisation?
HMIC examined the extent to which forces have set out a clear, compelling and realistic sense of future direction, because it is important to ensure that the workforce is motivated to build for the future and that the force knows the kinds of skills it is looking to develop. We were also interested to find out how well leaders are making use of new approaches to enable forces to meet future financial challenges.
City of London Police uses a variety of methods to keep its workforce informed about the force’s future plans and priorities, though it could do this more effectively. The force has held roadshows to brief its workforce on the main goals of the change programme and posts related information on the force intranet. Line managers take an active role in keeping those they manage up-to-date which enables the workforce to ask questions, give feedback and make suggestions about how the force can improve the way it works.
HMIC spoke to some officers and staff who knew the force would be changing but felt they had not been informed of the proposed structure and future workforce profile. This has led to some of the workforce feeling that they have not been informed fully, which has had an adverse effect on morale. This is particularly the case for police community support officers who feel that they are more at risk of losing their jobs than police officers.
Another area in which the force could improve is its understanding of workforce skills. HMIC found little evidence of an organisational assessment of capability and the force did not appear to have conducted a skills audit since 2012.
How is the force developing leadership, motivating the workforce and encouraging staff engagement?
HMIC examined how well forces identify and develop leadership, as good quality of leadership is key to ensuring that forces overcome their challenges of reducing crime and meeting the needs of victims. We were not looking for one particular style of leadership, but focused on how well leaders motivate their workforce and improve performance to provide a quality service to the public.
The force is good at managing the performance of its workforce. Performance expectations have been clearly articulated through the City Futures programme which aims to change the style of working within the force so that decisions are made at the most appropriate level. Work has also commenced on designing performance and assessment processes to identify and reward those who consistently demonstrate the values and behaviours set out in City Futures. The force has recently introduced its performance development review (PDR) system, which involves a 360-degree feedback process, in order that managers better understand their leadership style.
The force does not currently have a formal talent spotting process, and is dependent on individual supervisors identifying and developing talent. The force intends to use its leadership development programme to identify and develop talent at every rank and grade, which is a positive step, though the force is not due to complete this by late 2016. While the force could improve how it identifies talent, the workforce felt this was a strong area for the force. HMIC found examples of managers developing staff in career specialisms such as counterterrorism, while the force provides funding for staff to attend external courses.
To what extent is leadership improving the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy of the force?
As good quality leadership is an important factor of policing performance, HMIC examined how leaders are improving the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy of forces through clear, reasoned and swift actions. This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible for this pillar.
Leadership in City of London Police has resulted in a stronger focus on improving the legitimacy of the force, in terms of how it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force’s senior leaders are instilling an ethical culture. City of London Police has introduced the Code of Ethics as an online training package for its workforce and the leadership team has reinforced this through briefings and the ‘Commissioner’s Blog’.
During our inspection, the workforce reported that managers are accessible and supportive and that they feel confident in raising any issues or concerns regarding inappropriate behaviour. Further to this, the force provides a range of services to support its workforce’s wellbeing through occupational health facilities, counselling and physiotherapy.
An area where the force could show stronger leadership relates to perceptions of police staff. HMIC found that some staff members thought they were viewed as being less able by police officer colleagues due to a lack of understanding of their roles.
Leadership in the force has also resulted in a stronger focus on improving he effectiveness of the force. Senior leaders have prioritised the prevention of crime through investing in neighbourhood policing. Encouragingly, HMIC also found that the workforce had a good understanding of priorities around keeping people safe.