Lancashire PEEL 2014
How well the force delivers value for money
Lancashire Constabulary is on track to meet its financial challenge of the spending review period and also for the year beyond, 2015/16. Importantly, the force is also looking beyond this period and is planning now for further funding reductions and financial pressures in the future.
Lancashire has identified that it needs to save £54.3m over the four years of the spending review. It has plans in place to meet this requirement as well as preparing to meet future austerity. Overall, the force understands the issues facing it, and it has a comprehensive and well-managed change programme in place to achieve the savings required while minimising, as far as possible, the impact on frontline policing.
HMIC was reassured by the level of detail that underpins Lancashire’s saving plans and also by the leadership’s ability and determination to make changes while fighting crime and keeping its communities safe. The force will, however, need to satisfy itself that recent increases in crime and a reduction in satisfaction will not have a long-lasting impact on its performance.
There are innovative plans for working more closely across public services to manage demand better and to provide a more effective response. HMIC recognises the ambition of the force in this work, which could transform how services are provided and offer the opportunity to achieve savings in the future.
To what extent is the force efficient?
Lancashire has a good understanding of its demand; the assessment of risks in neighbourhoods is detailed and sophisticated.
There are constructive approaches to reducing unnecessary and wasteful demand and to making best use of police time.
Demand and risk information is used to ensure that, even with reduced staffing levels, officers are allocated according to where the demand and risk is greatest.
Recorded crime had continued to fall in Lancashire throughout the spending review period, although not as fast as elsewhere, and in the last twelve months there has been an overall increase in recorded crime compared with a small decrease nationally.
To what extent is the force taking steps to ensure a secure financial position for the short and long term?
Lancashire is in a secure financial position as a result of strong leadership and financial management.
The force will achieve all of the savings it needs during the spending review period and is expecting to make more savings than it needs in 2015/16, enabling it to set aside funds to invest in further change.
The approach to making savings has been both rigorous and professional, with financial plans closely aligned to workforce and change plans.
Future plans have been identified and are in the process of being explored in further detail. These include both continued efficiency savings internally, and innovative and ambitious plans for wider public sector reform across Lancashire.
To what extent has the force got an affordable way of providing policing?
Lancashire has changed the way it provides policing to increase visibility, reduce costs and to remain effective with fewer staff.
It has creative plans underway to make more effective use of the Special Constabulary, its cadet force and volunteers to support the work of neighbourhood policing teams.
Change is well led and managed. The force maintains rigorous oversight of change projects and ensures that expected benefits are achieved.
Joint working with local partners in Lancashire is strong, particularly with the county council, and is set to improve still further through the public service reform initiative.