Northumbria PEEL 2014
How well the force delivers value for money
Northumbria Police has faced one of the highest savings requirements of any force in England and Wales, and it has achieved this while continuing to reduce crime and maintain high levels of victim satisfaction.
Northumbria has identified that it needs to save £91.9m over the four years of the spending review. The force is on track to meet this savings requirement and also that for the year beyond, 2015/16.
Overall, the force understands the issues facing it, and has a comprehensive and well-managed change programme in place to achieve the savings required and to protect frontline and visible roles. HMIC was reassured by the level of detail that underpins Northumbria’s saving plans and by the leadership’s ability and determination to make changes while fighting crime and keeping its communities safe.
HMIC’s assessment is that the force is achieving the savings required today while planning for the future.
To what extent is the force efficient?
Northumbria Police’s assessment of demand using historic data has been used to decide on resource levels; this needs to be updated to reflect current levels of demand.
The force attends all reports of crime, has a strong focus on crime prevention and high numbers of officers in visible roles.
Technology needs improvement and there is a comprehensive plan in place to progress this.
The force has maintained one of the highest rates of victim satisfaction in England and Wales and has robust mechanisms for reviewing performance.
Northumbria’s continued focus and success in meeting the needs of victims is commendable.
To what extent is the force taking steps to ensure a secure financial position for the short and long term?
The force faces a particularly difficult challenge as it receives the highest proportion of central funding and has the lowest council tax precept in England and Wales.
Plans are in place to achieve all savings required, including the use of reserves to smooth the transition, meeting savings targets while reducing officer numbers.
The plans for dealing with further austerity beyond 2016 are still developing and there are risks to the current structures should extra funding be removed nationally.
In light of the challenge faced, the force has made a robust response to the funding challenge and will achieve the savings.
To what extent has the force got an affordable way of providing policing?
Considerable savings have been made from non-pay budgets with further savings planned through the estates and technology programmes.
The workforce plan through to 2017 accounts for staff reductions as a result of change, promotion, expected leavers and retirements.
Collaboration with other police forces is evident with plans to increase this; public and private sector collaboration has been explored, but not progressed.
Business improvement and change processes are evident; the workforce is involved, and there is a strong commitment from senior leaders.