Lancashire 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.
Lancashire Constabulary has a transparent and responsive chief officer team that understands its current leadership capacity and capability. The chief officer team clearly articulates to leaders throughout the organisation what is expected of them through frequent and direct communication, with a focus on new recruits and those who are newly promoted.
The constabulary is actively seeking to identify and develop talented potential future leaders from within the organisation, while it has a leadership programme that provides opportunities for the whole workforce. Wellbeing of officers and staff is a strong thread in the constabulary’s new approach and has made a significant difference to the workforce.
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.
The constabulary has a broad understanding of the capacity and capability of its leadership at all levels. It has gained this in part through introducing a leadership framework that outlines expectations of supervisors and includes information on work-based learning options. Leaders across the constabulary have a clear sense of what is expected of them with most being familiar with the leadership commitment stating ‘know yourself, know your staff, and know your stuff’. Leadership expectations are further strengthened through roadshows, while the constabulary has actively used senior management team meetings to set clear expectations of leaders.
The constabulary has a strong understanding of how senior leadership, and leadership in general, is perceived across the workforce. The ‘buzz’ online intranet forum is popular as it allows staff to provide feedback on leadership and proposals for change. The chief officer team contributes regularly to ‘buzz’ discussions and has at times reversed decisions made at senior level after workforce representations, which the workforce views positively. Feedback is also provided through line management when necessary. There has not been a staff survey to canvas the workforce’s views for some time, although one was planned for spring/summer 2015.
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.
The chief officer team, which the workforce sees as approachable and receptive to its views, has set clear, ambitious and realistic plans and priorities. Across the constabulary, we found an emphasis on the victim and quality of work undertaken. This has replaced the previous performance focus, which had prioritised the successful conclusion of volume crime investigations.
Chief officers speak to all new recruits joining the service and again when staff are promoted. A key message in these discussions is to outline the force’s expectations on the standards required of constabulary staff in relation to the leadership commitment.
The force holds fortnightly ‘parliamentary meetings’ in which local area commanders hold informal discussions with officers and staff to listen to concerns and understand their issues. These meetings present an opportunity for staff to speak directly to senior managers and for leaders to explain the rationale behind decisions taken that affect them directly.
The constabulary is examining and implementing a wide range of positive new ideas and approaches to working. Discussions at a senior level are taking place on joint work with the University of Central Lancashire to help plan for innovative approaches to deal with emerging demands placed on the constabulary, which is also investing £300,000 in a shared information and communications technology system to enable it to work more closely with partners.
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 constabulary is actively looking to identify talented potential future leaders from within the organisation and develop them through mentoring and coaching. It has provided training to experienced members of teams to allow them to support newly-promoted or inexperienced chief inspectors and superintendents. At a more junior level, the constabulary has offered 360-degree feedback to some frontline supervisors to help them better understand their own personal management style.
The constabulary makes good use of a talent management programme which it has developed to widen its workforce’s exposure to temporary and acting roles. Officers can only remain in an acting role for a limited period, meaning that the constabulary can give development opportunities to more staff.
Chief officers are committed to develop diverse leadership teams, and assess regularly whether there are any gaps in opportunity across minority groups, and changing constabulary selection processes to reflect a greater emphasis on the personal attributes of each candidate. The constabulary’s women’s network has developed a mentoring process for senior women, so if they have aspirations for promotion they work with senior officers to agree an action plan for development.
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 Lancashire Constabulary has resulted in a stronger focus on improving its effectiveness. During the inspection, HMIC found strong and consistent leadership from the senior command team, which consistently communicates with and listens to the workforce.
Leadership has also resulted in a stronger focus on improving the legitimacy of the constabulary in terms of the way it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The constabulary sees workforce wellbeing as a priority, and empowers managers to lead by supporting police staff and officers. A chief officer takes a personal lead in presenting messages around wellbeing to the workforce, and as a result employees feel more supported.
Encouragingly, the constabulary uses its new promotion and recruitment processes to reward or recruit leaders. The new selection processes place a greater emphasis on leadership qualities and the personal values of applicants.
The constabulary also builds on its partnership with the University of Central Lancashire to identify members of diverse communities who could potentially join the constabulary. Police staff and officers are mentoring twelve students from the university in the hope that they eventually join the constabulary as officers.
Finally, leadership has also resulted in a stronger focus on improving the constabulary’s efficiency, and is displaying strong and effective financial governance. We found a good understanding of demand and the workforce model is well-structured to tackle any challenges. Leadership is being displayed by the constabulary’s development of innovative ways to respond to demand through use of new technology.