Norfolk PEEL 2015
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
HMIC found that Norfolk Constabulary is exceptionally well-placed to face its future financial challenges. The force has an excellent track record of achieving savings and has balanced the budget to date. It is making prudent assumptions for further reductions in spending through to 2019/20 with well developed plans to achieve a large proportion of the savings. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Norfolk was also judged to be outstanding.
HMIC judges Norfolk Constabulary to be outstanding. The constabulary has a good understanding of demand and uses a range of techniques to understand and quantify demand. It has used these techniques to identify where it can better manage and reduce areas of unnecessary demand, so that reducing resources can be better focused on protecting people from harm.
Norfolk Constabulary has a strong track record in innovation and continuous improvement. The constabulary works well in collaboration with Suffolk Constabulary, and has been able not only to save money but also to provide greater resilience by joining forces to provide specialist services. HMIC found that the constabulary is working well with other organisations to deliver services more efficiently.
Performance is well managed and remains strong. The overall levels of crime remain lower than in similar forces and public satisfaction with police services in Norfolk is higher than the national average. This is despite a reduction of over £25.3m in the constabulary’s budget.
The workforce model is sustainable and affordable in the medium term. However, Norfolk Constabulary recognises that it will need to implement new ways of working in the longer term to manage demand and ensure the model is sustainable as cuts in spending continue.
The constabulary has an excellent track record of delivering change, which has achieved a balanced budget since the start of the last spending review. The approach to reducing spending has been robustly managed and resulted in savings accruing ahead of time. The constabulary is planning to use reserves to invest in change and provide time for more efficient ways of working to be realised. Norfolk has developed financial plans to 2019/20 based on prudent assumptions and has provided well developed plans that it assesses will achieve £17m of the £26.4m it is expecting to need to save.
How well does the force use its resources to meet its demand?
The constabulary has a very good understanding of demand and has continued to develop a range of techniques to understand and quantify demand. This has enabled the constabulary to identify areas where it can better manage demand and reduce unnecessary demand; so that resources can be better used to focus on protecting people from harm. The constabulary has highly effective processes to match resources to real-time demand. HMIC found a clear and comprehensive framework for managing performance and the effects of business changes. This has achieved higher public satisfaction with police services in Norfolk than the national average.
Norfolk Constabulary has a strong track record for innovation and continuous improvement, using evidence based research to inform decision-making. The constabulary works well in collaboration with Suffolk Constabulary. It has been able to save money and provide greater resilience by collaborating to provide support functions and specialist policing services.
Across the constabulary there is constructive work with partner organisations including local councils, health services, and the fire service to understand the nature of demand which each organisation faces and how by working together services can be provided in a more efficient way. The constabulary recognises that it could do more to better understand the relationship between its costs and the level of services delivered.
How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?
The workforce model is sustainable and affordable in both the short and medium term. The development of the current model has been based upon careful demand modelling. This approach needs to continue over the longer term to ensure the model remains sustainable as the constabulary faces further cuts.
Norfolk Constabulary has recently carried out a review of its operational policing model and identified areas where savings can be made by reducing the size of the workforce. While this includes substantial reductions in PCSOs, the constabulary has maintained a far higher number of PCSOs than other forces for many years as a result of previous investment decisions.
The constabulary has undertaken demand analysis to minimise the impact of these reductions. However, HMIC will monitor the impact on proactive neighbourhood work as the constabulary reduces PSCO numbers.
The constabulary’s extensive collaboration with Suffolk Constabulary has generated significant savings. Norfolk’s workforce plan is closely aligned to its financial plans and any changes to the size and shape of the workforce are closely matched with the finances available.
The constabulary has developed a clear understanding of the mix of skills needed to deliver effective policing services. The workforce plan, training plan and the change programme are fully integrated and present a single view of the future which is well understood by all relevant managers.
How sustainable is the force’s financial position for the short and long term?
The constabulary has an excellent track record of delivering savings. It has achieved the required savings of £25.3m and balanced its budgets for the spending review period and 2014/15. The approach to reducing spending has been robustly managed, resulting in savings accruing ahead of time allowing the constabulary to build up financial reserves.
The PCC set a balanced budget for 2015/16. The constabulary is exploiting some funding opportunities such as obtaining police innovation funding and local councils funding for police community support officers.
The constabulary works closely with the police and crime commissioner sharing financial, savings and change plans to deliver against the objectives set.
Norfolk Constabulary is making prudent assumptions for further reductions of £26.4m in spending through to 2019/20. Savings plans the constabulary assesses will deliver just over £17m are already well developed. Norfolk intends to use most of its reserves by 2019/20 to meet funding gaps and invest in new ways of working to enable permanent savings. In the final year of the financial forecast, there remains a £3.6 m deficit. This is a small proportion of the total savings requirement and, given the strong history of financial management and planning in Norfolk; there is confidence that further savings plans will meet this gap.