Humberside PEEL 2015
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
HMIC found that Humberside Police is not prepared to face its future financial challenges. The force has a limited understanding of current and future demand. It has introduced a new operating model but has not fully matched resources to demand in some important areas, which affects the force’s ability to provide a good service to the public. The force has good financial control and plans to meet its savings requirements but these rely on effective implementation of the operating model and increased collaboration. Due to serious difficulties in implementing the new operating model it cannot be judged any higher than inadequate. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, the force was judged to be good.
HMIC judges Humberside Police to be inadequate. The force has a limited understanding of the demand for its services and is not able currently to match resources to demand. While the force understands demand from calls for service it does not understand many other types of demand such as that being placed on neighbourhood policing teams or that arising from more complex crimes, inefficient force processes or changes to services provided by partner agencies.
In our PEEL 2014 Assessment, we said we would be particularly interested to see how the force introduces its new operating model. This was launched in April 2015 and has had difficulty in providing the right level of staff in the right places to make it work effectively. The force has recognised that is resulting in a systemic failure to provide a quality and timely service to the public. Humberside is monitoring this issue daily and is working to address it.
The force’s current workforce model does not match demand and organisational requirements. While Humberside’s workforce numbers have been set at an affordable level, the current workforce model is not sustainable, particularly with the further planned workforce reductions which will be needed to make future savings.
Humberside Police has achieved its savings requirement and balanced its budget throughout the spending review period. The force has entered into a strategic partnership with South Yorkshire Police aimed at improving efficiency through pooling resources. Back-office functions such as human resources and finance, are already shared by the two forces and Humberside is considering further collaboration on all policing functions (except for local policing).
How well does the force use its resources to meet its demand?
The force has a limited understanding of the demand for its services and cannot currently match resources to demand.
While the force understands demand from calls for service, it does not understand many other types of demand being placed on neighbourhood policing teams or that arising from more complex crimes, inefficient force processes or changes to services provided by partner agencies.
The force has had difficulty providing the right level of staff in the right places to make the new operating model work effectively. The command hub is described as the ‘heart’ of the new operating model and its ability to manage the resource and logistics of the force is fundamental to the success of the new operating model. HMIC has serious concerns about the capability and capacity of the command hub to perform and execute this role.
The force has recognised that this is resulting in a systemic failure to provide a quality and timely service to the public. Humberside is monitoring this issue daily and is working to address it.
The force does not yet understand the extent to which it is achieving value for money. Work is planned to compare service provision, resources and costs.
Cause of concern
This also applies to question 2: How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?
The new operating model within the force control room is a cause of concern to HMIC because the arrangements for call handling are resulting in a failure to provide a quality and timely service to the public.
To address this cause for concern, HMIC recommends that:
The force should ensure that within three months the command hub is sufficiently resourced, with the right number of staff with the right skills in order to improve its ability to answer calls for service from the public, particularly on the 101 non-emergency number.
Areas for improvement
- The force should review its response allocation and deployment to ensure it is making most efficient use of its resources.
- The force should undertake work to ensure its understanding of demand is comprehensive, takes into account key information and is incorporated into force governance and planning processes to enable that understanding to remain current, up-to-date and understood strategically.
- The force should develop its understanding of the links between its outcomes, outputs and costs and ensure the change programme reviews the impact of change on all these areas.
How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?
The force’s workforce plan is based on numbers which are affordable, but the current model is not sustainable.
The force does not fully understand the demands it faces. Following implementation of the new operating model this year, Humberside has needed to move responsibilities between departments and use overtime and rest day working to cope with demand for its services. This is not sustainable.
The force has implemented a new shift pattern aimed at aligning the resources with demand. This has not achieved its aim. The force did not understand the impact of flexible working requests. As a result, in some areas of the force, over half of the available staff work at different times to the set shift pattern.
Important constabulary teams contain skills gaps, which further limits the ability of the current model to provide an effective service.
It is unclear if the projected workforce model, with fewer staff and police officers, will be able to meet demand or organisational requirements.
The extent to which the workforce model will match future demand and organisational and financial requirements relies upon successful implementation of the new operating model and developing the strategic partnership with South Yorkshire Police. HMIC is concerned that many risks and uncertainties remain with both these programmes.
Areas for improvement
- The force should review the implementation of its shift pattern to improve how efficiently it is aligning resources to demand.
- The force should ensure that staff and officers in key areas have the skills required to fulfil their roles in the new operating model.
How sustainable is the force’s financial position for the short and long term?
Humberside Police has achieved its savings requirement and balanced its budget throughout the spending review period. The force has balanced its budget for 2015/16, including the planned use of £2.6m from reserves.
The force also plans to use its reserves to support the implementation of the next stages of its change programme.
The force controls its current finances firmly and its medium-term resourcing strategy allows the force to plan its finances based on a range of possible scenarios over the next five years.
The force’s financial plans reflect the police and crime plan, and support Humberside’s implementation of the ‘Building the Future’ change programme which is endorsed by the police and crime commissioner. The force works closely and constructively with the office of police and crime commissioner.
The force has a clear plan for future savings. However this relies on the new operating model being sustainable with fewer resources and increased collaboration with South Yorkshire Police. It is not certain that the plan will achieve the savings at the level or within the timescale required.