Cambridgeshire PEEL 2015
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.
As part of HMIC’s annual all-force inspections into police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) in 2015, HMIC assessed how well led forces are at every rank and grade of the organisation and across all areas inspected in PEEL. We reviewed how well a force understands and is developing its leaders; whether it has set a clear and compelling future direction; and how well it motivates and engages the workforce.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary has strong leadership and the senior officer team has set a clear direction, which is understood by police officers and staff across the constabulary. The constabulary promotes values including recognition and development of leadership at all levels, active participation by all officers and staff, mutual respect and receptive listening.
We found good communication with the workforce at all levels of the organisation and the force has conducted a series of staff surveys, taking action and making improvements as a result of the findings.
How well does the force have a clear understanding of the current state of its leadership at every level?
HMIC examined how well forces understand the strengths and weaknesses of leadership across the force and how well the workforce understands its leadership role. Strong, clear leadership across every rank and grade is vital to the effectiveness and efficiency of a modern and capable police force.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary has strong leadership. We found a good understanding of expectations of leadership which the chief officer team has defined and communicated well. The constabulary promotes its prioritised values which include recognition and development of leadership at all levels, active participation by all officers and staff, mutual respect and receptive listening. We found that the constabulary consistently delegates decision-making to the lowest appropriate level. The constabulary has promoted ‘Doing the right thing’ as part of its culture since 2010, and the workforce has embraced this.
Less positively, the constabulary has not assessed in detail the capacity and capability of its leadership at all levels. However, the constabulary did conduct a skills audit two years ago and has maintained a good understanding of the skills mix in the constabulary since then. To further strengthen its knowledge, the Head of Human Resources chairs a peoples’ board to review training, skills mix and recruitment; and the constabulary has held focus groups with sergeants and inspectors to identify leadership gaps, which led to improvements in their training programme.
How well has the force provided a clear and compelling sense of the future direction of the organisation?
HMIC examined the extent to which forces have set out a clear, compelling and realistic sense of future direction because it is important to ensure both that the workforce are motivated to build for the future and that the force knows the kinds of skills it is looking to develop. We were also interested in how well leaders are making use of new approaches to enable forces to meet future financial challenges.
Senior leaders are in regular contact with the workforce and have adopted a wide range of options for officers and staff to engage in discussion, challenge and debate. A staff survey is carried out regularly and as a result of the last one in December 2013, the ‘RISK’ mnemonic was adopted. This provides direction to the workforce on expected behaviours in areas including ‘Responding to local concerns, Investigating crime and protecting the most vulnerable, Staff professionalism, Keeping people safe’. HMIC found that this approach is clearly understood by all police staff and officers across the organisation.
The constabulary has displayed commendable willingness to understand and use new ideas and technologies. For example, the constabulary is the lead police force for information and communication technology in its collaboration programme, and has implemented new ways of working to ensure service efficiency and transformation in the way it provides services to the public. We found strong collaboration with Hertfordshire Constabulary and Bedfordshire Police with clear plans for further savings.
How is the force developing leadership, motivating the workforce and encouraging staff engagement?
HMIC examined how well forces identify and develop leadership, as good quality of leadership is key to ensuring that forces overcome their challenges of reducing crime and meeting the needs of victims. We were not looking for one particular style of leadership, but focused on how well leaders motivate their workforce and improve performance to provide a quality service to the public.
The constabulary has carried out some work to develop its leadership training programmes, however more work is required in this area. The constabulary recently commissioned a senior leadership development programme to train a cross-section of leaders with a focus on expected behaviours. The constabulary used the programme to create a leadership charter which will help inform a further programme for all its chief inspectors, inspectors and police staff equivalents to be rolled-out throughout 2015.
The constabulary has an established mentoring scheme, and HMIC heard from a number of staff who spoke positively of how it had supported them in their roles. We also saw evidence that it has helped staff in performing at interviews for job promotions. The scheme has been nominated by Oxford University for the National Chartered Management Institute award.
While the constabulary has a mentoring scheme, it has no formal talent management scheme. It tested a pilot scheme in Peterborough and Huntingdon. Following this trial the constabulary decided to identify and manage talent through its existing personal development system whereby all staff have monthly review meetings with their supervisor. The absence of a constabulary-wide governance arrangement to identify and manage talent may result in the constabulary being unable to identify the most talented individuals to overcome its future challenges.
To what extent is leadership improving the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy of the force?
As good quality leadership is an important factor of policing performance, HMIC examined how leaders are improving the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy of forces through clear, reasoned and swift actions. This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible for this pillar.
Leadership in Cambridgeshire Constabulary has resulted in a stronger focus on improving their legitimacy, in the way it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Police staff and officers are encouraged to contact senior leaders directly with any issues, while the chief constable has expressed his trust in the workforce to do the right thing. This has proved beneficial, as the increased trust has resulted in staff and officers feeling confident in challenging inappropriate and unethical behaviour throughout the constabulary.
Improving staff wellbeing is another example of Cambridgeshire Constabulary acting on the results of staff surveys it has conducted. As a result of staff concerns expressed in this area, the constabulary has introduced a number of initiatives to support the workforce and to make its employees feel valued. The constabulary is also working with the mental health charity MIND and through these links is able to refer staff for counselling.
The constabulary is actively looking to increase the number of females in senior positions and the deputy chief constable is leading this through a working group which aims to support and develop females for promotion. While this has yet to show benefits, HMIC is encouraged by the constabulary’s leadership in this area.