North Yorkshire 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.
North Yorkshire Police’s chief officer team has demonstrated clear and effective leadership and has a fair understanding of the force’s current capacity and capability. We found a good understanding of how leadership is perceived across the organisation, which the force gained in part by holding senior leadership days.
The force uses senior leadership days, among other communication methods, to communicate the force’s plans and priorities, though the over-reliance on this method has not provided clear, consistent and timely messages to the workforce. HMIC found that messages on the force’s plans and priorities had not reached the whole workforce, and were often misunderstood.
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.
North Yorkshire Police has put in place some measures, such as a cultural audit in 2014, to understand the current state of its leadership and to determine how its workforce perceives leadership. The force has communicated what its expectations are of of its leaders, though could do more in this area. The force obtains views of its senior leaders through quarterly leadership days where the chief officer team focuses on the objectives of the organisation, while senior leaders have the opportunity to discuss and feedback views to the chief officer team.
Senior leaders are then expected to communicate key updates around change to officers through supervisors and managers. However, HMIC found that this approach does not provide a clear, consistent and timely message to all ranks and grades, and HMIC found that the workforce had misunderstood some messages.
Nonetheless, HMIC found that the workforce has confidence in its chief officer team, generally knows what the force expects of them and perceives the force as having a positive culture that embraced ethical behaviour. The workforce also welcomed the force’s development of a people strategy, which aims to further develop the force’s capacity to achieve its goals.
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.
North Yorkshire Police has communicated realistic future plans and priorities, however the force needs to do more to understand how this links with the capabilities that it will require in the future. The force has introduced a new operating model which matches resources with demand. It has also introduced investigative hubs and serious crime teams which prioritise protecting vulnerable people and solving more serious crimes. Within its control rooms, the force has implemented the THRIVE risk assessment at point of contact, which has reduced demand upon force resources. THRIVE is so-called because it considers threat, harm, risk, investigation, vulnerability and engagement. The force is due to review the new operating model to assess how the capacity and capability of the resources meets demand.
The force has also taken some steps to understand and use new technological approaches. The police and crime commissioner committed to significant investment in an information and communications technology strategy, which will introduce agile working across the force by providing mobile devices for officers and staff.
The force is also committed to work more collaboratively with Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police to joint specialist operations and major incident response capabilities. HMIC welcomes this preliminary work, which requires further development.
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 taken some steps to improve the framework in which it manages performance, however further work is required. The force has changed its performance framework to become more outcome-based around four key categories of ‘community, operational, people and organisational’. This is a positive development, but the performance and development review system for all ranks and grades is not effective. The process relies on supervisors being proactive in meeting with those they manage. We found that the force does not communicate consistently to its workforce that completion of the process is obligatory, meaning that uptake is not as high as it could be.
The force has no formal process to identify future leaders, or to enable its recruitment and progression of staff and officers from under-represented groups. More positively, the force has looked to other opportunities by embracing the direct entry scheme and was one of the first forces in England and Wales to recruit a superintendent through direct entry. The force has also introduced a volunteer chief officer who has responsibility for including citizens in policing.
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 North Yorkshire Police has resulted in a stronger focus on improving the legitimacy of the force, in the way it keeps people safe and reduces crime, through its ‘people first’ objective, in which the force aspires to value, manage and develop its people and promote a culture of trust and innovation which will improve its services to the community. This objective is an important part of the force’s people strategy. To keep senior leaders informed on important issues about future plans and priorities and any changes to the organisation, the force organises leadership days for police staff and officers. During our inspection, HMIC found that the chief officer team personally met and briefed inspectors and many police community support officers. This approach to leadership is encouraging, though some of those we spoke to during our inspection reported receiving mixed messages.
Leadership has also resulted in a stronger focus on improving the force’s effectiveness. North Yorkshire Police is clearly focused on protecting those who are most vulnerable and supporting victims. The force has worked hard to improve its understanding of the scale and nature of crimes against those who are most vulnerable. The force’s action plans will structure its continued development and improvement of the services it provides. However, in several areas improvement is needed to ensure that the force consistently protects vulnerable people.