West Midlands PEEL 2015
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
HMIC found that West Midlands Police is exceptionally well prepared to face its future financial challenges. The force has robust management of its current demand, its finances and its plans for change. Its direction of travel is one of improvement from an already strong base. The force has embarked on an impressive five-year change programme to transform how the force intends to deliver policing. In last year’s valuing the police inspection programme, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, West Midlands Police was judged to be outstanding.
HMIC judges West Midlands Police to be outstanding. The force has a good understanding of current demand and is able to match its resources to that demand. The force is working to understand future demand but this analysis is less well-developed. This means that there is a risk that its future operating model is shaped by available finances without a full understanding of the capacity and capability required to meet future demand.
The force has embarked on an impressive change programme, WMP2020, a five-year programme to transform how the force intends to deliver policing. The programme includes strong contract management of its commercial partner and careful contingency planning for possible risks. The programme is one of the most ambitious and far-reaching of any police force and, if successful, should place West Midlands among the best police forces in the country. However, implementation of the individual projects is only just beginning and it is too early to judge the programme’s success and whether the ambition can be realised.
The force has a strong financial position with strong financial management. This has allowed it to make confident decisions, for example in its contract management of its commercial partner and its lack of reliance on collaboration and other income sources. The force has large reserves which it is reducing by making prudent use of them to support its WMP2020 programme and to make provision for a range of possible financial risks.
The force has strong workforce planning and is developing the skills of its officers. It understands the current and projected capacity and capability of its workforce based on the likely progression of its officers, but recognises that the age and rank profiles of some officers places limitations on the development of the future operating model.
How well does the force use its resources to meet its demand?
The force has a good understanding of current demand and the operating model in place means that the force is able to respond to calls for service. The force can move resources dynamically to respond to short-term variations in demand.
The force is working to understand future demand, but this analysis is less well-developed.
The force has embarked on an impressive change programme, WMP2020, a five-year programme to transform how the force intends to deliver policing. The most fundamental change will be a shift to a more preventative style of policing, combined with more focused neighbourhood policing.
The force has sought to ensure that the WMP2020 contract provides value for money by including key performance criteria linked to holdback/incentive payments and an obligatory skills transfer process between its commercial partner and force staff.
The force has a clear, real-time approach to managing demand and has introduced an IT portal to assist local commanders to allocate resources more effectively. The force has identified that current IT arrangements are inadequate for future requirements and the WMP2020 programme includes the introduction of an integrated IT platform and a 24/7 “Mission Control Centre” to better direct force resources.
The force has also analysed how the public make contact with the police and is developing a self-service internet portal for the public.
How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?
The force’s operating model matches current demand, organisational and financial requirements. The force has a well-developed understanding of the resources it will have at its disposal through to 2020, but, with 65 percent of the force’s budget as a fixed cost tied up in officer pay, its financial flexibility is limited to its police staff pay and non-pay budgets.
In collaboration with its commercial partner, the force is designing a future operating model to transform how the force intends to deliver policing in 2020, based on a shift from reactive to preventative policing, while making significant cuts to the budget. The future workforce is being modelled on this basis, with plans to brigade resources to build resilience at a force level and a 24/7 ‘Mission Control Centre’ to direct these resources according to demand.
How sustainable is the force’s financial position for the short and long term?
The force has a secure financial position for the short and long term. The force achieved all of the savings required for the last spending review period and has plans in place to achieve further savings through to 2020. The further savings required may be achieved by the implementation of the WMP2020 programme, with most savings coming from staff reductions with the largest single portion being from reductions in police officer numbers.
The force has effective financial control in place and tight control of expenditure. The force has a prudent approach to the use of its large reserves and plans to use £44m of reserves over the 5 years from 2015 to 2020 to support the implementation of the WMP2020 programme.
The force works closely with the police and crime commissioner to ensure that financial planning supports the objectives of the police and crime plan and the force is held to account for delivery. The force provides timely and relevant financial information and uses shared assumptions to develop financial planning.