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#003/2011 – Northamptonshire Police Authority is ‘performing adequately’

Northamptonshire Police Authority is ‘performing adequately’, according to an independent new report released today by the Audit Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

On a scale from one to four the joint inspection team assessed the Authority’s performance as ‘two’, which represents adequate performance.

Inspectors found that the Authority provides clear and visible leadership and is committed to involving the local community in its oversight of the policing of Northamptonshire. It has a good understanding of the challenges ahead and of what it is trying to achieve, and has agreed new targets in areas that concern local people. Financial management and scrutiny is generally sound but the Authority needs to develop a better understanding of how value for money may be achieved.

The Audit Commission’s Nigel Toms, spokesperson for the joint inspection team, said:

‘The Authority is now working much better with Northamptonshire Police Force than it has for a number of years and is well-placed to make Northamptonshire safer. However there is still a lot to do to ensure every penny is well spent and to balance competing priorities. The early signs are promising and the Authority is committed to the action required to deliver a strategic plan to engage with its communities and reduce crime across the county. But continued vigilance is needed if it is to meet these aims.’Strengths include:

  • The Authority has ensured that the Northamptonshire Force is well-led. It has a clear understanding of its role in holding the Chief Constable to account.
  • It identifies what is important to the public and includes this in its own and the Force’s priorities.
  • It effectively monitors and responds to complaints against the Force.

Areas for improvement include:

  • The Policing Plan (the document setting out what is expected of the Force and how those expectations will be met) needs to be revised to include clear and ambitious targets.
  • Record-keeping around action taken by the Force following complaints needs further improvement.
  • It must ensure that changes recently made to the Force’s internal performance monitoring arrangements are effective.
  • Its work on involving the community needs to be translated into results that local people will see.
  • It needs to develop a better understanding of value for money and agree with the Force how this can be achieved.

Following today’s report Northamptonshire Police Authority will plan what it needs to do to improve its services to meet the changing needs of its communities.

Copies of the report are available from Northamptonshire Police Authority or from the Audit Commission website at www.audit-commission.gov.uk and the HMIC website http://www.hmic.gov.uk

ENDS

Notes to editors

Northamptonshire Police Authority is an independent body responsible for overseeing the Northamptonshire Police Force. It represents the community and, in partnership with the Chief Constable, ensures that an efficient and effective policing service is provided to the people of Northamptonshire.

Police authority inspection provides a simple report in a straightforward way about how well each police authority is performing. It encourages police authorities to focus on continuous improvement and provides a robust independent challenge to stimulate positive change. Ultimately it is about working to improve the quality of services police authorities provide to local people. Authorities are rated on a scale from 1 (performs poorly) to 4 (performs excellently).

The Audit Commission is an independent watchdog, driving economy, efficiency and effectiveness in local public services to deliver better outcomes for everyone.

Our work across local government, health, housing, community safety and fire and rescue services means that we have a unique perspective. We promote value for money for taxpayers, auditing the £200 billion spent by 11,000 local public bodies.

As a force for improvement, we work in partnership to assess local public services and make practical recommendations for promoting a better quality of life for local people.

Further information about the Audit Commission: www.audit-commission.gov.uk

HMIC is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest and rigorously examines the effectiveness of police forces and authorities to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. For further information about HMIC: http://www.hmic.gov.uk

For more information, or for an embargoed copy of the full report, contact Eric Ludlow at the Audit Commission on 0844 798 4183.