Lincolnshire 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.
Lincolnshire Police’s chief officer team communicates a clear sense of the organisation’s core purpose, as set out clearly on the force’s website through the ‘policing with pride’ slogan. Workforce understanding of the future direction is less apparent and some police staff and officers reported being anxious about the future beyond 2017 due to financial uncertainty over police funding.
Lincolnshire Police’s use of the performance appraisal system to link individual performance to force objectives is inconsistent. This is important as the organisation places a high value on the system and uses the appraisal to identify talent, promote development within the same rank and forecast future training requirements.
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.
Lincolnshire Police’s chief officer team sets clear leadership expectations through its leadership charter, which includes seven elements of good leadership. These are linked to the shared organisational values, or PRIDE values, of professionalism, respect, integrity, dedication, and empathy. The force communicates the charter well through posters and internal messages and reinforces it through leadership training, courses, promotion processes and recruitment.
We found good engagement by chief officers with the workforce, especially with those in senior positions which provides opportunities to understand its breadth of leadership capabilities. However, while there is a broad understanding of the skills, leadership strengths and weaknesses within senior leadership this is less apparent at manager and supervisor levels. The strategic workforce planning board evaluates organisational capacity and assesses where succession planning is required. It redeploys those who work at a managerial level and above on a regular, but planned basis, to increase expertise and broaden leadership experience. It assesses the effectiveness of its leadership programme using workplace evaluations although we found limited formal analysis or audits of leadership capability.
Chief officers have a good understanding of how the workforce views senior leadership. The force listens to its workforce and takes appropriate action to address workforce views. At a local level, bi-annual events between senior leaders and supervisors enable opportunities to discuss issues that are important to the workforce. The force also carries out regular staff surveys, which include feedback from partner agencies.
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. 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 in how well leaders are making use of new approaches to enable forces to meet future financial challenges.
The core purpose of the force is clear and well-communicated, and is captured within its charter, marketed under the slogan of ‘policing with pride’. All staff and officers we spoke to during our inspection were unambiguous about the force’s commitment to prioritise resources towards providing the best service to the public.
However, the workforce has a more limited understanding about the future direction of the force beyond 2017. A document about the vision of policing in the force in 2018, circulated to the workforce in June 2015, explains that the force will be smaller and better-equipped while maintaining strong links with communities. However, there is a degree of anxiety in the workforce due to the lack of clarity regarding Lincolnshire Police’s future funding position.
The force acknowledges that different leadership skills will be required in the future and the force’s leadership development courses are designed to reflect this. However, more work is required to ensure the force uses its performance appraisal system effectively to ensure a consistent approach to developing the skills and knowledge it requires for the future.
How is the force developing leadership, motivating the workforce and encouraging staff engagement?
HMIC examined how well forces identify and develop leadership, as 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 effective at managing performance, which it monitors at monthly meetings. Longer-term performance, aspirations and development are captured in an individual’s performance appraisal which links individual performance to the police and crime plan objectives. The force records centrally performance against development objectives and uses it to plan the type and number of training courses it requires. The force has a strong leadership programme, designed to provide development for staff and officers at all levels. Since 2009, all supervisors and managers have undertaken the leadership programme and they complete an accredited management qualification. There is a virtual ‘leadership academy’ on the force intranet site which provides a one-stop shop for management and leadership learning, and development resources which all staff and officers have access to.
While the leadership programme is formal and effective, identifying and developing talent takes place on a more informal basis, which is an area that the force could improve. Most of the workforce was unaware of any mentoring or coaching schemes, although the force plans to update its programme to identify and develop talented staff and officers.
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.
Lincolnshire Police recognises that it needs to implement a new policing model to improve its approach to safeguarding vulnerable adults and children, and managing demand. The new model is designed to improve the service the force provides to the public.
Leadership is also improving the effectiveness of the force, though there are some areas which could be improved. For example, the force’s investigation of crime and management of offenders requires improvement and the quality of investigations is variable. The force recognises this and has appointed a senior officer to improve standards. Also, Lincolnshire’s policing model allocates more posts to specialist areas to help ensure it protects those who are at greatest risk of threat or harm.
The chief officer team promotes regularly the force’s values and sets a vision for ethical standards and integrity through a regular board meeting. This meeting aims to ensure that all police officers and staff act with integrity and apply the Code of Ethics in their actions. In June, when we inspected the force, this had only been partially successful, and officers and staff had a limited knowledge. However, on a subsequent inspection in November, we found that the workforce was better able to apply its understanding of the code to its decision-making. In addition, force policy and procedures reflect a more consistent understanding and show that progress is being made.