Dyfed-Powys PEEL 2016
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; 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.
Police leadership is crucial in enabling a force to be effective, efficient and legitimate. This inspection focused on how a force understands, develops and displays leadership through its organisational development.
Dyfed-Powys Police has set expectations in relation to what leadership means within the force. However, it has not conducted a survey of leadership capacity and capability to explore this, and so cannot say that it is fully aware of the strengths, weaknesses and gaps in this area. This problem is compounded when it comes to developing future leaders. The force does have plans to undertake a staff survey with full evaluation, which will provide it with some insights.
Although it has a number of development programmes, they are not co-ordinated or evaluated. Therefore, the force cannot say to what extent it is developing the right people in the right way. Selection processes for recruitment and promotion are similarly ineffective because they are not based on a clear understanding of what the force needs or on a full understanding of diversity. The force cannot therefore ensure that it is truly representative of the communities it serves and there is a serious risk that it may not be able to continue providing necessary levels of service to those communities.
That said, we found that the force was progressive in many ways and looked to identify new ideas and innovation, both from outside and within the force, and that it also fostered a culture in which this was encouraged.
How well does the force understand leadership?
A good understanding of leadership capabilities and expectations is critical to the effective functioning of forces. How forces engage with their workforces when setting leadership expectations is vital in ensuring that police staff and officers feel enabled to lead in an ethical way and to challenge the expectations appropriately.
Forces’ understanding should also extend to their leadership strengths and weaknesses across every rank and grade. This includes an understanding of leadership styles and personality types of individuals, and how they affect wider team dynamics. Forces should be able to take this knowledge and use it to adapt quickly to identify any gaps or issues in leadership.
The current leadership expectations of Dyfed-Powys Police have been communicated across the workforce. They are set out in every job description and are discussed in leadership courses. However, the force has not undertaken any analysis of how effective these measures have been, such as how realistic the expectations of senior leaders are, the extent to which they are being fulfilled, or any measurement of understanding across the workforce.
There is also limited evidence that the workforce has been involved in setting those expectations. However, the force has made some effort to open itself to challenge, with a regular chief superintendent ‘blog’ being used to seek staff views across a broad range of subjects. It also plans to undertake and evaluate a staff survey by the end of 2016, after a gap of four years. Most of the staff interviewed said that they felt that they could challenge the leadership. The force recognises that it needs to do more to explain to the workforce its leadership expectations and is seeking to clarify the values and behaviours expected of all staff in the organisation. It is hoped that this activity will encourage staff at all levels to participate in the leadership debate and reinforce leadership expectations.
Dyfed-Powys Police does not understand what leadership means at different ranks, grades, roles and teams across the force. It has not conducted a survey of leadership capacity and capability to explore this, and so cannot say that it is fully aware of the strengths, weaknesses and gaps in this area. It has a very rudimentary approach to assessing gaps in capacity arising from retirements, but its other assessments remain under-developed. The performance development review process for staff has been temporarily suspended for technical reasons and there are no other ways to assess the skills, character or competence of staff. The upcoming staff survey may help the force understand some aspects of its capacity and capability better, as will its ‘Regenesis’ programme, which seeks to bring together all the work that the force is undertaking to improve efficiency, including leadership. Through its work on the iTrent personnel management system, the force intends to identify all the skills and qualifications that staff have gained or aspire to achieve – effectively a ‘match and gap’ facility. However, until the force conducts a formal assessment of its leadership capability and capacity, there is a serious risk that it may not be able to continue providing the necessary levels of service to its communities.
Areas for improvement
- Dyfed-Powys Police should ensure that expectations for leadership are developed through consultation with the workforce, with the outcome of a clear and realistic statement of what the force requires from its workforce.
- Dyfed-Powys Police should conduct a full leadership audit of the workforce that will allow it to understand leadership capacity and capability at different ranks and grades across the force, so that it can develop more effective leadership teams in the future.
How well does the force develop leadership?
The way in which a force identifies and develops leadership skills is crucial in making sure they perform well now and in the future. Forces should identify leadership development programmes, containing a broad range of approaches, beyond just formal training, to develop leadership.
Forces’ knowledge of their current leadership capability should also mean that they are aware of the leadership skills and experience they do not currently possess, and are seeking to recruit to address this.
Dyfed-Powys Police is able to respond quickly and effectively when it identifies immediate leadership problems. However, this occurs at a local level and on a case-by-case basis rather than as a result of centralised contingency planning. We did not find evidence that local management teams are supported in dealing with leadership problems as part of a strategic resourcing plan. Such central co-ordination would assist local management teams with better human resources advice, and provide the basis for proactive rather than reactive intervention. Until the force takes a corporate and comprehensive view of its workforce, it cannot effectively predict or respond to longer term leadership issues.
HMIC found some evidence of the force identifying the best candidates from within its workforce as potential senior leaders and providing a range of development opportunities. Candidates on the High Potential Development Scheme are provided with a route map through the organisation that gives them extended goals, movement between specialist departments and exposure to high-impact projects. In 2015 the force introduced its Llywio programme, which was designed to develop talented members of the workforce by exposing them to development opportunities, such as involvement in the force change programme and running training courses. Staff across all ranks and grades were eligible to apply. However, in this, as in all other aspects of its leadership development, the force does little to evaluate the impact, beyond feedback from participants. Without a clear, strategic co-ordinating plan for leadership development or an evaluation of the current state of leadership within the force, the force’s efforts to develop its leadership capability are less effective than they might be. As a result, the force cannot be certain that all senior leaders will achieve their potential. The force would benefit from a coherent overarching set of programmes to identify and develop potential future senior leaders, with clearly defined programme aims and projected outcomes for participating staff. Leadership training is expensive and the force has made a significant investment. Failing to evaluate its effectiveness means that the force cannot be certain that it is providing value for money and improving the quality of its leadership.
Dyfed-Powys Police’s recruitment and promotions processes are only effective to a limited extent in enhancing leadership of the force. This is a direct consequence of its lack of understanding of current and future gaps. When it designs selection processes, it cannot be sure that these will bring in the right people. For example, when the force recruits new police officers it uses tests which do not consider future leadership demands or potential changes to the skills and capabilities required to meet future policing challenges. The force was unsuccessful in putting forward two candidates for the Fast Track to inspector promotion, and these candidates are being supported in their development to benefit from future opportunities. Dyfed-Powys Police has attended two Police Now leadership development events. The force is currently awaiting outcomes from more forces that have adopted this scheme before it becomes further involved.
Areas for improvement
- Dyfed-Powys Police should conduct an evaluation of its leadership programme and talent management processes to ensure a structured, comprehensive and clear approach to identifying and developing potential leaders.
- Dyfed-Powys Police should work to understand the diversity of its leadership teams in terms of skills, background and experience, in order to identify any gaps in capability.
How well does the force display leadership?
Good leadership encourages and develops a wide range of people, embraces change and actively supports the development of new ideas. While it is important for forces to ensure that they are representative of the communities they serve, truly diverse leadership teams are built around the wider experience, background and skills of individuals.
HMIC found that Dyfed Powys is open to new ideas and the workforce is encouraged to contribute suggestions. The force looks across the police service and beyond to seek new ideas and establish what works. The force has well-developed links with the other police forces in Wales – for example, sharing good practice in the development and deployment of IT systems and as part of an all Wales approach to continuous improvement. The force has also had success with local partnerships and continues to seek out more. For example, work with mental health services and the ambulance service to implement a mental health assessment triage process has resulted in both a significant reduction in police demand and an improved service to the public.
The force also encourages innovation and ideas from within its workforce in a number of ways. Examples include an intranet blog, ‘Learning the lessons’ and ‘Embracing diversity and wellbeing’, but there is no central repository or way of co-ordinating, collecting and responding to these. The force has recognised this gap and is developing a system called ConnectIn for this purpose. The force acknowledges the contribution of it staff and recently held an ‘Innovation Awards’ evening.
Dyfed-Powys Police has not assessed the capability and capacity of its leadership. Without such assessments, the force is unable to understand the diversity of its workforce, other than with reference to protected characteristics. The force accepts the challenge to recruit more from under-represented groups to the organisation, to understand diversity more fully and to ensure that it is truly representative of the communities it serves. It is taking a number of steps, including working with the diversity champion leads of the staff support groups and unions, to encourage more applicants. It has also recently appointed a positive action officer and is now linked with the female support network. It plans to advertise all vacancies both externally and internally to increase the diversity of applicants.