Greater Manchester 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 (for instance, our 2016 leadership assessment); 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.
Greater Manchester Police has a clear vision for leadership which is understood by the workforce. The force is working hard with partners, academia and consultants to acquire a comprehensive understanding of skills, capabilities and gaps to inform recruitment and training. The force offers an extensive range of developmental opportunities to its leaders and aspiring leaders, although it is not clear to what extent the force evaluates this to determine how effective it is.
The force is open to innovation and works in collaboration with other agencies to achieve this. After a gap of four years, it has begun to recruit again. It is using this to bring in skills and experience to the workforce, as well as to improve diversity in the broadest sense, including skills and background. The force is also beginning to promote staff, although it has chosen not to fill all existing vacancies through substantive promotion. The force is making some positive changes to enable it to reach its full potential in terms of leadership. We would expect to see significant progress in this area within the next six months.
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.
Greater Manchester Police has a clear vision for the leadership of the force, built around the principles of providing clarity, commitment and consistency. We found that there is a good level of knowledge and awareness of this, particularly among those in supervisory positions, including police staff. The chief officer team encourages direct contact and challenge. The chief constable has undertaken a series of visits to all boroughs and departments and he uses an online blog to encourage two-way communications with staff. The force has also produced a video entitled ‘Did you know?’, which is shown to staff and sets out the chief officer’s response to issues raised during their engagement activity in a ‘you said, we did’ format.
Greater Manchester Police is working to achieve a good understanding of leadership in different ranks, grades, roles and teams across the force. Progress includes developing the Policing Professional Framework and piloting the College of Policing’s Assessing and Reviewing Competency (ARC) model in the Manchester borough. In support of this, the force is developing new role profiles which set out the purpose of each role, any technical requirements, the expected behaviours and indicators of success. The force has also created a behavioural change support team to identify and address gaps in leadership capability across the whole workforce, particularly at junior and middle manager level. The team is led by the head of organisational learning and workforce development and is made up of chief inspectors and police staff equivalents. The aim of the team is to equip all managers to support the force in the implementation of public service reform, working with partners. The force has also engaged external consultants to assist in identifying the required leadership skills and capabilities needed to implement its new target operating model. The force uses personality type profiling to inform decisions regarding the make-up of senior leadership teams in its boroughs and branches.
However, the force recognises that it could understand the leadership capabilities of its workforce better if it had a more effective annual development review process. The current system is voluntary and take-up varies across boroughs and branches. In addition, the force recently held a number of promotion selection processes, although it chose not to fill all existing supervisory vacancies with substantive promotions. This means that there are a number of officers who continue to perform duty at a higher rank on temporary promotion.
Areas for improvement
- Greater Manchester Police should put in place a process to avoid relying on temporary promotions for extended periods.
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.
The force offers an extensive range of leadership and development training and other opportunities such as master classes, coaching and mentoring for police officers and staff. However, there was less evidence that the force was able to respond to identified leadership problems quickly, as in the case of temporary promotions. The force also has a talent management programme to identify and develop individuals with significant leadership potential. The scheme is operated locally by each borough and branch and officers selected for inclusion in the programme are automatically provided with individual coaching and mentoring opportunities. During the inspection, we found that awareness of the scheme had improved over the last year. However, many officers still said they were unaware of the scheme; the force should ensure that access is transparent. The force is also working with the College of Policing to provide the PEDALS (PErsonal Development Action Learning Sets) programme. The programme is aimed at identifying, developing and retaining talent. At the time of our inspection there were two separate cohorts, one for police officers and one for police staff, both of which were made up of individuals from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
Following several years without recruitment, Greater Manchester Police is now planning to recruit 2,000 new officers over the next four years, to bring in new skills. The force has recently held a promotion selection process for constable to sergeant and is planning further selection processes to select potential senior officers at superintendent and chief inspector level. The force considered advertising these positions to officers from outside the force, however it chose to restrict applicants to those already in the force, due to a leadership review and the number of officers deemed eligible for internal promotion processes. The force might benefit from widening the prospective pool of senior officer candidates by advertising externally in the future, though it has recruited 11 officers under the Direct Entry scheme.
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.
The force is an active member of the Society of Evidence Based Policing and looks across the police service and beyond for new ideas and ways of working. It makes use of regional forums such as the ‘North-West continuous improvement group’ and the College of Policing on-line knowledge area. The force also engages with a range of external partners, including public service and emergency service partners, academic institutes and consultants. Examples include working with local partners in the public sector to reduce overall demand through place-based working, to identify the most appropriate agency to intervene. The force has also worked with the London School of Economics to quantify the level of demand facing its frontline officers and staff. This analysis was then used to develop the force’s new target operating model, which is designed to support a new relationship with the public of Greater Manchester through the development of a citizen contract.
Greater Manchester Police does not have a force-wide suggestion scheme, although each borough and branch has its own arrangements in place. We found that officers and staff were aware of local arrangements and expressed confidence in making suggestions, stating that their ideas would be listened to and responded to by local leadership teams. The chief officer team has recently taken part in a series of web-based discussion forums outlining the ‘Fit for the Future’ programme and inviting comments and suggestions from staff on how to shape the organisation.
As mentioned above, the force is now planning to recruit 2,000 new officers over the next four years, and is advertising to attract applicants with particular skills or experience and to increase the overall diversity of the workforce. Phase one of the recruitment was open to existing police staff, including police community support officers and members of the special constabulary, who had the advantage of already understanding policing and local communities. This resulted in approximately 17 percent of successful recruits being from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds. Phase two targeted serving officers in other forces with specific skills, including detectives and qualified firearms officers, which attracted over 100 officers. Phase three is open to the general public, although the force is again targeting applicants from BME backgrounds as part of a positive action programme to improve representation and has engaged extensively with local communities and organisations.