Merseyside 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.
Leaders in Merseyside Police are visible and demonstrate strong, effective leadership. We found strong loyalty and commitment from the workforce who are proud to work for Merseyside Police. The force has a good understanding of its leadership culture, particularly in relation to middle managers and above.
The majority of the workforce is well-motivated and has a high regard for its senior leaders. Successful engagement is primarily led through the extensive ‘Just Trilogy’ (Just Talk, Just Think and Just Lead) roadshows and the change programme, however the force should do more to understand the specific views of its staff by conducting a regular survey.
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.
Merseyside Police has a good understanding of the capacity and capability of leadership within its chief officer team, senior leaders and middle management. Although this understanding has been enhanced by cultural audits, HMIC was unable to find evidence that the force has a clear understanding of the current state of its leadership below this level.
The force has taken positive and effective steps to ensure leaders across Merseyside Police have a clear sense of what the force expects of them. The chief officer team clearly demonstrates the values expected of the workforce and further communicates expectations through the ‘Just Trilogy’ roadshows, at which the workforce is encouraged to ‘Just Talk, Just Think and Just Lead’.
The force has some understanding of how leadership is perceived across the force, though this understanding could be improved. Leadership fora are used to capture the views of senior leaders, and the force receives and responds to feedback from the wider workforce through the ‘Just Trilogy’ roadshows. However, the force does not use a staff survey to receive and respond to feedback from its workforce. As a result, the force cannot guarantee it is capturing the views of the majority of the workforce and therefore does not understand fully how the workforce perceives leadership.
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.
Chief officers use the ‘Just Trilogy’ roadshows, ‘keeping in touch’ briefings, and online videos to communicate future plans and priorities to the workforce.
The force has effectively communicated its change of approach in performance management, and staff were beginning to understand that the force’s future plans and priorities would mean that it would be a smaller organisation. We found some evidence, from staff and partners, of the need for a clearer strategic future direction beyond the immediate communication about the budget cuts. The force has committed to clarifying its future plans and priorities once it has assessed the impact of budget cuts.
Merseyside Police has a limited understanding of workforce capabilities and focuses on capacity rather than on capability. The force is planning to reduce officer numbers to a level which they believe will allow them to continue to provide policing for local communities while not affecting adversely the other services it provides.
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.
In Merseyside Police we found a clearly-communicated process for the monitoring of workforce performance and development through performance reviews. The force has done well to simplify the review process which has reduced the burden on supervisors, although it does not monitor compliance, and it was evident to HMIC that some officers and staff had not used the process.
HMIC welcomes Merseyside’s move from a target-based performance culture to one that is focused on problem-solving to reduce harm and risk. Chief officers show a sustained personal commitment to driving this change and to ensure it is happening in every area. The force has a limited number of programmes in place to develop leadership skills. These programmes include a ‘firstline’ leaders programme, a high potential development scheme and a leadership course for constables, sergeants and police staff equivalents. We found limited development of leadership core skills such as coaching and mentoring, understanding emotional intelligence, negotiating and influencing, and motivating and inspiring, which do not feature in training for leaders across the organisation outside of academic training. Merseyside Police identifies talented staff in some parts of the force and while it has no formal mechanism for talent management of all its staff, it does provide leaders seeking promotion with development opportunities.
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 Merseyside Police has resulted in a stronger focus in improving the effectiveness of the force. The force has an effective neighbourhood policing model and during our inspection, HMIC was encouraged to find that neighbourhood teams know their areas and had good links to their communities. The force sees preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and keeping people safe, as everyone’s responsibility. This way of ensuring leadership is effective at every level of the force has increased the prevention of offending.
During our inspection, HMIC found that the force has shown strong leadership in the way it identifies and tackles serious and organised crime. The force has a strong ‘whole force’ approach to tackling and disrupting serious and organised crime, and leads well by working effectively with other organisations to ensure they have a well-developed understanding of the threats posed by serious and organised crime.
The force also communicates with local communities by publicising its successes and warning of the consequences of being involved in serious and organised crime. This has led to the force effectively deterring many young people who were involved in gangs.