Lancashire 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.
Lancashire Constabulary has clearly set out its leadership expectations. It is obvious that across its workforce people feel supported to develop their leadership skills. All senior managers attend the monthly leadership board, chaired by the deputy chief constable, which allows for regular review of the constabulary’s leadership capability and a timely response to any apparent gaps.
Although there are a wide variety of development opportunities available to both officers and staff, the constabulary could do more to improve how it identifies and develops talented individuals. For example, it does not have a consistent process in place for carrying out performance development reviews.
The constabulary is promoting a new management style that is looking for leadership values centred on emotional intelligence and a strong empathy for the workforce’s wellbeing; this is welcomed by HMIC.
The constabulary is not taking full advantage of the complete range of opportunities to increase the diversity and skills base of its workforce. It is using the Police Now national graduate recruitment scheme, and is working with Stonewall to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff within its workforce, but it is not currently recruiting new leaders externally or taking on officers through the Direct Entry scheme.
There are good arrangements in place to look across the constabulary and beyond to seek new ideas and understand what works. The forum to consider innovation and to generate new ideas is through a widely read and popular intranet based platform, although currently there is no formal mechanism for systematically processing new suggestions. However, the constabulary is working with academia to generate and develop a range of ideas across the constabulary to inform wider business improvements.
How well does the force understand leadership?
A good understanding of leadership capabilities and expectations is critical to the effective functioning of police forces. How forces work closely and engage with their workforces 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’ should understand their leadership strengths and weaknesses across every rank and grade. This includes an understanding of the leadership styles and personality types of individuals, and how these affect wider team dynamics. Forces should be able to take this knowledge and use it in order to adapt and quickly identify any gaps or issues in leadership.
Lancashire Constabulary has a clear set of leadership expectations encapsulated by its commitment to ‘know your staff, know your stuff and know yourself’. It has promoted these expectations through a range of methods, including seminars for new constables, training for newly promoted officers and staff, and on the constabulary intranet. The chief constable has also held a series of roadshows. The leadership values are used in, and reinforced through, selection processes. However, some staff felt that the effort had been focused on newly recruited and newly promoted staff, and that existing staff have not been sufficiently engaged with developing the leadership expectations. HMIC found that officers and staff who were not currently involved in promotion processes were less clear about what was expected, although many had leadership expectations set by their sergeant, inspector or police staff equivalent grade.
The constabulary uses a number of tools to understand its leadership capabilities. All senior officers use 360-degree feedback and Myers Briggs Type Indicators, and they form a key part of the constabulary’s leadership development programmes. Staff indicated that they feel that leadership training and support is available to all, and that the constabulary underlines that leadership skills are needed in a range of posts and ranks, not just at the senior level of the constabulary.
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. To develop leadership, forces should identify leadership development programmes that contain a broad range of approaches beyond just formal training.
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 how they are seeking to recruit to address this.
The constabulary has procedures in place to identify leadership issues, and the workforce are encouraged to email the chief constable directly with questions or concerns about leadership. There is an open online ‘Buzz’ forum on the intranet where staff can raise issues that chief officers can read and contribute to the discussions. Senior managers attend the monthly leadership board, chaired by the deputy chief constable, where any concerns about leadership are discussed. This enables the deputy chief constable to ensure that leaders are acting together, aware of the main priorities for the constabulary and that any problems, which could adversely affect staff, are addressed promptly.
The constabulary has good leadership development programmes that it runs with Lancaster University Business School and a deliberate mix in rank and staff take advantage of this programme. Individuals are supported by a leadership coach. With each cohort, the course has been changed and improved. Separately, the constabulary runs development days for each rank, focusing on specific themes such as wellbeing and public satisfaction. All officers are expected to take charge of their own development. Staff can access continuing professional development events, work-based learning, 360-degree feedback, as well as e-learning and the senior leadership development programme (SLDP). There is, however, scope to improve the way the constabulary identifies and develops talented individuals in the absence of a consistent performance appraisal system and a centrally co-ordinated mentoring scheme.
The constabulary does not take full advantage of the opportunities available to it to bring in new skills. Although it has placed some constables on the College of Policing’s Fast Track scheme, and has used the Police Now national graduate recruitment scheme, it has not taken any Direct Entry inspectors or superintendents and has not opened recent promotion processes to external applicants.
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.
The constabulary looks for and encourages new ideas from inside and outside the force. Staff are encouraged to submit ideas. The constabulary works with a number of universities; for example, there has recently been an emphasis on the sharing of ideas and improvements in specific areas of the constabulary, such as the forensic services department. As a result, the constabulary is discussing a new forensic academy with the University of Central Lancashire. The constabulary also asks for the views of speakers and participants on the senior leadership course run by Lancaster University. Although good ideas are being generated, the constabulary does not have a formal method of processing these more systematically.
The constabulary is trying to build more diverse leadership teams. The constabulary is consulting Stonewall to discuss how LGBT staff can be encouraged and promoted, and there is a support network for female members of staff. Under its ‘valuing difference’ agenda, the constabulary has developed an ‘increasing representation’ plan that sets out a number of things that senior leaders should do. These are designed to enable the constabulary to develop leadership; understand the views of the workforce; attract new employees; talk to under-represented groups; and continue to develop positive action/mentoring and coaching. The constabulary is also promoting a new management style that is looking for leadership values centred on emotional intelligence and a strong empathy for the workforce’s wellbeing.
The constabulary and the University of Central Lancashire developed a leadership scheme for members of diverse communities. Each candidate had access to a police inspector as a mentor and the university provided a national vocational qualification. Fifteen students completed the course, and gained a sound understanding of policing. Six of these students joined the constabulary. The scheme was so successful that there are plans to repeat it.