South Wales PEEL 2015
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
HMIC found that South Wales Police is very well prepared to face its future financial challenges. Through robust financial management and a commitment to continuous improvement, it has successfully reduced its spending over the last spending review period, and is effectively planning for future financial challenges. In last year’s value for money inspection programme, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, South Wales Police was judged to be good.
HMIC judges South Wales Police to be good. South Wales Police has an extensive understanding of both its current demand and projected demand on its services. The force recognises that maintaining the current operating model with 2,800 police officers poses financial risks if expected savings are not realised, but it has undertaken scenario planning and has plans in place to alleviate these risks.
South Wales Police’s arrangements for matching resources to demand are impressive, and the force has made a significant investment in assessing the demands placed upon it. This has allowed the force to reduce costs whilst improving the service it delivers to the public, as evidenced by its excellent victim satisfaction results.
The force’s current operating model, implemented in 2010, has worked very well. Investments in new technology allowed it to reduce the numbers of basic command units (BCUs) from six to four, and neighbourhood teams from 30 to 19. These efficiency gains have allowed the force to reduce police officer numbers from 3,100 to 2,800.This was achieved against savings of £33m, or about 11 percent of the 2010/11 annual gross revenue budget, in the four years to 2014/15.
The force has a strong track record in financial management and is well positioned to tackle both the current and future financial demands placed upon it. The force has set balanced budgets and achieved its savings target for the four years up to 2014/15. It has balanced the budget for 2015/16, based on prudent assumptions which do not rely on reducing it reserves. Savings have already been realised and plans for delivering the remainder of these savings are well developed.
South Wales Police is vigorously pursuing all opportunities for additional funding, and has been highly successful in doing so. For example, for the years 2014/15 and 2015/16 the force has made successful Police Innovation Fund bids, totalling nearly £5m.
How well does the force use its resources to meet its demand?
South Wales Police has an extensive understanding of the scale and nature of the demand it is facing, and is undertaking further work with partners to better identify newly emerging or hidden demands.
The force has robust tasking and demand management arrangements in place for matching resources to demand, and recognises the need to continue to align resources to changing demands.
The force has an 88.3 percent victim satisfaction rating, one of the highest in the country. This demonstrates a PCC and South Wales Police commitment to put the victim at the centre of everything the force does.
The force’s management of demand is already good, but is being further enhanced as it continues to apply the ongoing learning from its analysis of demand, with data shared across partner agencies.
The force has an excellent understanding of outputs, outcomes and costs through monthly budget and performance meetings, underpinned by strong financial governance.
South Wales Police is a forward-looking force that is committed, through the chief constable, to improving its working methods to deliver improved services for the public.
How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?
The force’s current operating model, implemented in 2010, has worked very well. There has been a reduction in crime, increase in detections, and improved public confidence and satisfaction.
The force has invested in new technology which has allowed it to reduce the number of BCUs and neighbourhood teams. These efficiency gains have allowed the force to reduce police officer numbers from 3,148 to 2,864.
South Wales Police is well positioned to continue to meet its projected demand, organisational and financial requirements with its enhanced current operating model.
The force believes that it will require about 2,864 police officers to meet continuing and projected demand. It also recognises that its projected operating model needs to be aligned to available funding, which currently shows a gap of £23.4m at March 2019. The force has concluded that the current operating model can be sustained through further investment in new technology, reduction in demand, and increasing the skills of its police officers, and it believes that this may produce savings of 10 percent on demand (or about £25m per annum).
South Wales Police recognises that maintaining the current operating model with 2,864 police officers poses financial risks if expected savings are not realised, but it has undertaken scenario planning and has plans in place to mitigate against these risks.
How sustainable is the force’s financial position for the short and long term?
South Wales Police has a strong track record in monitoring expenditure and delivering efficiency savings. The force has set balanced budgets and achieved its savings target for the four years to 2014/15. Savings over this period totalled £33m, or about 11 percent of its 2010/11 gross annual revenue spend.
The force budget for 2015/16 is based on prudent assumptions. The force is well placed to achieve the £7.4m savings through its change programme and without the need to use reserves. The force is vigorously pursuing all opportunities for additional funding, and has been very successful.
The police and crime commissioner’s (PCC’s) and the chief constable’s plans are closely aligned. The PCC and chief constable receive regular financial performance information, with reports produced on a quarterly basis.
The force has identified further savings of £8.1m for the three years to 2018/19. However, plans are still being developed to deliver the remaining budget gap of £23.4m for 2018/19. The force recognises the significant scale of the financial challenge and is confident that its change programme should enable it to release the savings required. It has completed scenario planning to assess risks and options and is developing contingency plans, including changes to the current workforce model. Early consideration of these risks and possible mitigations demonstrate the forward-thinking outlook of the force.