Gloucestershire PEEL 2016
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.
Police leadership is crucial in enabling a force to be effective, efficient and legitimate. This inspection focused on how a force understands, develops and displays leadership through its organisational development.
After a leadership review led by the chief constable in 2015, Gloucestershire Constabulary has engaged effectively with its workforce to create a set of leadership values and expectations that are clearly defined at all levels. We found evidence that many in the workforce understand how the leadership expectations and behaviours relate to their individual roles. All staff have an annual personal development review and objectives are set. It was generally felt by staff, however, that the outcomes of these reviews were not consistently valued and were under-used for staff development and promotion.
Since the 2015 review, the focus has been on training in leadership values and the provision of a set of basic management training modules, to provide the foundation skills for leadership. The leadership values are well understood; however, the management training has yet to have an impact on the whole workforce. The force’s response to developing leadership capabilities has been slow. The force does not have a talent management scheme, and a leadership programme has been developed but not yet fully launched. As a consequence of the leadership programme and supporting initiatives being newly established, there is a gap in the force’s ability to identify and develop officers and staff who have the potential to become future leaders.
The force has demonstrated a clear commitment to innovation and challenges itself to seek out new ideas, approaches and working practices from across the police service and other organisations. Its understanding of diversity, however, extends little beyond an acknowledgement that it is about more than just protected characteristics, such as age, disability or gender reassignment. The force has not carried out an in-depth review of the workforce balance to identify any gaps, and plans to improve diversity are limited to a series of individual actions and initiatives.
How well does the force understand leadership?
A good understanding of leadership capabilities and expectations is critical to the effective functioning of forces. How forces engage with their workforce when setting leadership expectations is vital in ensuring that police staff and officers feel enabled to lead in an ethical way and to challenge the expectations appropriately.
Forces’ understanding should also extend to their leadership strengths and weaknesses across every rank and grade. This includes an understanding of leadership styles and personality types of individuals, and how they affect wider team dynamics. Forces should be able to take this knowledge and use it to adapt quickly to identify any gaps or issues in leadership.
Gloucestershire Constabulary has engaged effectively with its workforce to create leadership expectations that are clearly defined and understood at all levels. After a review led by the chief constable in 2015, which identified some gaps in leadership capabilities, the force worked with an external consultant to develop the ‘FAIR’ (fairness, accountability, integrity and respect) leadership behaviours, which echo the values in the Code of Ethics. Staff were consulted on the design and development of these core values, and those we spoke with during the inspection were able to show that they understood them and to describe how the values are consistently applied through everything they do. Many understood how leadership expectations and behaviour relate to their individual roles and provide them with a structure to manage and lead others effectively.
The operating model introduced in July 2015 provides a clear outline for leadership on the front line, improving the consistency of supervision and how teams are briefed. The executive board regularly visits staff to gain an understanding of how the messages on leadership are disseminated across the workforce and provides feedback to middle managers on any issues raised.
Staff could clearly articulate what they expected of leaders as role models. During our inspection, we found that police staff and officers feel empowered to challenge and question leaders. The chief constable provided a strong and clear example of leadership through her quarterly leadership forums and the biannual leader days for sergeants and inspectors. More, however, could be done to improve the visibility and profile of other senior leaders within the organisation.
The force has improved its understanding of the skills of its workforce and has updated its information on workforce capacity and capability. Gaps have also been identified as a result of issues raised by employment tribunals, fairness at work complaints, disciplinary and misconduct hearings, and discussions with managers. After the leadership review in 2015, a set of basic management training modules was developed and attendance is encouraged. It is too early to assess the impact of this.
All staff have personal development reviews; however, there were concerns among those we spoke with that the outcomes from these were not being used to inform staff development and promotion. The force should ensure that the reviews cover areas for staff development and encourage participation in the leadership development programme and other leadership initiatives. To promote diversity, these opportunities should be more widely promoted to people who are under-represented in the force, such as those from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
How well does the force develop leadership?
The way in which a force identifies and develops leadership skills is crucial in making sure they perform well now and in the future. Forces should identify leadership development programmes, containing a broad range of approaches, beyond just formal training, to develop leadership.
Forces’ knowledge of their current leadership capability should also mean that they are aware of the leadership skills and experience they do not currently possess, and are seeking to recruit to address this.
Gloucestershire Constabulary is making a significant investment in leadership development and training focusing on its FAIR values. This is in the form of both mandatory and voluntary training programmes. The force is also seeking to understand its current workforce skills and to address gaps. Approaches to address gaps in leadership skills include the management training modules, 360-degree feedback for a cohort of newly promoted inspectors and sergeants and personality profiling for the executive team. Breakfast seminars available to all staff have been introduced recently, covering such topics as building mental toughness, ‘fierce conversations’ and mindfulness at work. An online resource portal on leadership and self-development and further initiatives such as a coaching programme are planned. However, these initiatives have not yet affected the majority of the workforce.
Although the new operating model and the introduction of the management training modules have helped, the force’s overall response to identified leadership problems has been slow. A module on ‘What Gloucestershire expects of its leaders’ is to be introduced as a priority and should improve expectations of leadership across the force. A leadership programme has been developed, with a number of opportunities presented at senior leaders forums; however, a date for its full force-wide launch has yet to be confirmed.
The force addresses skill gaps through recruitment, including police officer transfers from other forces. It also plans to recruit three Direct Entry inspectors in 2016/17. It has introduced assessment centres to replace interview boards, and these are used in the selection of transferees as well as internal candidates. The force does not have a talent management scheme to identify and develop leadership capabilities. This has left some of the workforce feeling at a disadvantage compared with some external candidates for promotion. The force has therefore provided self-development workshops for some officers. This has gone some way to provide officers with the knowledge and skills required to compete with other candidates.
Areas for improvement
- To enhance its current talent programme, activities and plans, Gloucestershire Constabulary should introduce a structured talent management scheme to nurture and develop officers and staff who have the potential to become future leaders.
How well does the force display leadership?
Good leadership encourages and develops a wide range of people, embraces change and actively supports the development of new ideas. While it is important for forces to ensure that they are representative of the communities they serve, truly diverse leadership teams are built around the wider experience, background and skills of individuals.
Gloucestershire Constabulary has demonstrated a commitment to innovation, and challenges itself to seek out new ideas, approaches and working practices from across the police service and other organisations. This includes, for example, on leadership values and behaviours, staff surveys and cyber security. It has forged strong links with local academic institutions, and regularly evaluates innovations and working practices undertaken by other forces to ensure it exploits opportunities to improve services.
This openness to learning from others has created an environment that actively encourages advice and assistance from academic organisations and experts. Detailed evaluations of examples of best practice from other forces and organisations are reviewed and used to inform training and promote new learning. Periodically, the force publishes ‘Eye on the Horizon’ on the force intranet, which presents an opportunity for staff to share ideas and learning. There are also many internal and external secondment opportunities.
The force has invested in a new department for continuous improvement to assist in developing links across work areas and to act as a catalyst to develop new ideas. Staff we spoke with during the inspection reported that innovative ways of working are valued but they felt that more could be done. Suggestions from staff have been adopted to improve service delivery; however, the force no longer has a formal suggestion scheme after it ended the ‘bright sparks’ scheme (a suggestion box for good ideas).
The force’s understanding of diversity extends little beyond an acknowledgement that diversity it is not just about people with protected characteristics, such as age, disability or gender reassignment, and that it should take account of diversity of background, experience and skills. There has been no in-depth review of the workforce balance to identify any gaps. Plans to improve diversity are limited to a series of actions and initiatives mainly focused on people with protected characteristics, but the plans lack clarity or commitments.
Areas for improvement
- Gloucestershire Constabulary should carry out work to understand the diversity of its leadership teams in terms of protected characteristics, skills, background and experience, in order to identify any gaps in capability.