Wiltshire PEEL 2015
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
HMIC found that Wiltshire Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. The force has successfully reduced its spending over the last spending review period, improved its understanding of the demand on its services, is trialling a new operating model and is planning effectively for future financial challenges. It has done this through robust financial management and a commitment to continuously improving services. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Wiltshire Police was judged to be good.
HMIC judges Wiltshire Police to be good. The force has a good understanding of the current demand on its services and is able to match resources to that demand.
The force realises it will need to change to meet future demand and maintain a good quality service with a reduced budget. The force has completed a well-developed assessment of current demand on its services and has been able to change processes, working practices and introduce technology to meet this demand. This has helped shape the design of a new operating model, which will be piloted from September 2015. The pilot will be assessed on how efficiently demand is met, quality of service and level of savings made and, if successful, will be rolled out across the force.
The force has previously collaborated with Wiltshire County Council and other forces in the region but is now in the early stages of developing a wider-ranging strategic alliance with Avon and Somerset Constabulary to provide greater operational resilience and achieve future savings.
The current workforce model allows the force to meet demand from calls for service and is currently being reviewed using the Systems Thinking Operation Project (STOP) team to gain a better understanding of the workforce required to meet that demand. The significant lead in time to effectively develop the skills and capability, rather than the numbers or capacity, of its workforce means that the force should be looking to rapidly develop its plans.
The force is in a good financial position with strong financial management. It has met its savings requirements under the spending review for 2014/2015 and has a balanced budget for 2015/2016 that has identified its savings requirement and is well on the way to achieving this. However, savings in subsequent years are heavily dependent on efficiencies from the new operating model and the strategic alliance with Avon and Somerset Constabulary, neither of which are currently certain.
How well does the force use its resources to meet its demand?
The force has a good understanding of the demands on its services with efficient processes for deploying its resources, dependant on the level of threat, risk and harm faced by victims.
The force has a clear structure and processes in place to allocate resources both in the long term and on a day-to-day basis. There are sufficient levels of trained staff to manage calls for service, and resolve calls without the deployment of front line officers.
Some concern was raised by staff that police inspectors in the force were not fully engaged and did not always understand the rationale for changes to the allocation of staff or day-to-day redeployment across the force.
The force has completed a thorough analysis of demand (through its STOP project). In September 2015 it is commencing a pilot of a new operating model to meet local policing demand.
Performance is well managed, based on the quality of service provided with a clear understanding of this from senior managers and many staff. However, there was evidence of an inconsistent approach taken across the force by some managers and supervisors.
The force is collaborating, with other south west region police forces and with other agencies such as the Wiltshire County Council to further reduce costs and maintain services.
How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?
The current workforce model is affordable and appears suitable for the demand currently experienced.
The force has a strong structure with good processes so it can make decisions about the allocation of resources to meet demand within its existing budget.
The future workforce model is not well-developed as yet and will be informed by the STOP project, including the pilot operating model, and the developing strategic alliance with Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
The force has identified the level of savings it expects to make from the introduction of the new operating model and the potential savings as the strategic alliance progresses. However, the force is not yet at a stage where it can identify what the future level and skills required of police officers and police staff will be.
A flexible approach has been taken with an allocated reserve of money set aside to enable continued recruitment of police officers and enable the force to manage costs associated with changes to workforce numbers.
The current position of the force does, to a certain extent, buy the force additional time to develop a detailed workforce plan. However, the significant lead in time to effectively develop the skills and capability, rather than the numbers or capacity, of its workforce means that the force should be looking to rapidly develop its plans.
How sustainable is the force’s financial position for the short and long term?
Wiltshire Police has a strong record of achieving the savings required under the spending review and demonstrates effective financial management.
The force has set a balanced budget for 2015/2016 with identified savings some of which have already been realised.
Finances have been secured from two successful bids from the Police Innovation Fund and the force actively seeks out other funding sources.
There is effective financial control in place with devolved budget holders who are supported by the force finance department. There are regular meetings between budget holders and the finance department to review financial performance, identify gaps or savings and adjust budgets appropriately.
The force’s assistant chief officer finance is also the finance officer for the police and crime commissioner and has good oversight and governance of both strategic and day-to-day financial management. This arrangement also ensures information is shared and the force works closely with the office of the police and crime commissioner providing timely, relevant information and using shared assumptions to develop financial planning.
The force has a strong understanding of its current financial position and the likely future financial position. It has identified savings for 2015/2016 and beyond this by the implementation of a new operating model and development of the strategic alliance with Avon and Somerset Constabulary.