Leicestershire 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.
Leicestershire Police is a well led force. Its chief officer team has taken positive steps to understand its leadership capabilities at all levels and develop a clear leadership strategy and training plan, including at sergeant and inspector levels. It has put in place processes to understand the views of its workforce, though response rates have been low and the force has not undertaken a staff survey. HMIC found that leadership is reinforcing the effectiveness and legitimacy of the force and that the chief officer team plays a key role in setting the standards the force expects of all its leaders.
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.
Leicestershire Police recognises the importance of strengthening leadership across every level of the organisation. It has created a leadership strategy and assessment which enabled it to clearly understand its workforce’s skills, capacity and capability. Through the assessment, the force identified that leadership at the ranks of sergeant and inspector needed to be stronger. HMIC was pleased to see that the force has responded by introducing mandatory leadership training for these ranks, while providing easily accessible leadership and management training for all ranks and grades.
While the introduction of mandatory leadership training is a positive step, not all police staff and officers have undertaken the training yet. As a result, leaders across the force do not always fully understand what the force expects of them. The force has recognised this and is providing further training opportunities.
It was not clear to HMIC how the chief officer team understands its workforce’s perception of senior leadership. The force has not carried out a staff survey in recent years, and while it has put in place a process to develop a more detailed understanding of its workforce’s views, its workforce has only participated partially in this process.
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 force had previously set a clear, ambitious and realistic future direction through its change programme, Project Edison. A considerable part of this programme involves communicating to the workforce about the programme’s progress. Evidence from our inspection indicates that the workforce understood what the programme was proposing and why it was being proposed, even though the force encountered some difficulties in implementing aspects of it.
The force recognises that its future operating model will require significant cultural change and this is reflected within its ‘Blueprint 2020’ plans which identify what is needed to facilitate change and understand the complex interdependencies of functions and processes. While it was clear that officers and staff did not understand clearly the force’s future direction, this was in hand with significant further engagement planned for force personnel, local partnership organisations and community groups.
The force has assessed its future workforce capability requirements. The force’s leadership strategy includes work on recruitment, selection and performance appraisals, while a formalised coaching and mentoring scheme is due to begin in the near future. The force has also considered how future demand will affect the skills required of its workforce. For example, it has assessed what skills its workforce will require to combat cyber-crime.
Leicestershire Police encourages new ideas and technological opportunities, with leaders examining examples of good practice from other forces. The force now uses mobile data extensively and is looking to work with external agencies to share datasets to use ‘big data’ for predictive policing.
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 has a good understanding of workforce performance trends, using management information to inform redeployment of its resources in response to to changing levels of demand. Leicestershire articulates performance expectations clearly for individual staff through the performance review process.
The force is developing a formalised programme for identifying and developing talented employees. Individuals can put themselves forward for promotion, but the current rank structure means there are relatively few opportunities and those individuals who have been unsuccessful report a lack of structured feedback. An opportunity exists to provide further avenues for lateral development. However, police staff reported difficulties in having access to training and not being able to secure time off from their role to complete the learning.
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 Leicestershire Police has resulted in a stronger focus on improving the effectiveness of the force. The force works well in partnership with other organisations and continues to seek new opportunities to do so, often taking the lead in forging alliances. Leaders have worked closely at a local level, which has led to effective working through a troubled families programme, integrated offender management and community safety partnerships.
The force has shown leadership by creating effective systems and processes to jointly tackle anti-social behaviour. A shared database has been created, providing the opportunity to effectively share information with other organisations. The force also has good systems in place to deal with vulnerability at the first point of contact, however more could be done to improve awareness and training in the workforce to tackle child sexual exploitation.
Leadership has also resulted in a stronger focus on improving the legitimacy of the force, in the way it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The chief officer team within Leicestershire Police recognises that it has an important role to play in setting the standards expected of all leaders within the force. The team emphasises that leaders must be open and accountable, giving staff the confidence to challenge decisions when appropriate. The force empowers staff to make decisions by assuring them that their actions will be fully supported if they have taken justifiable action.