West Midlands 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.
West Midlands Police is developing its understanding of its leadership. The force has recently introduced a ‘leadership promise’, which clearly defines its expectations of its leaders.
During the extensive consultation which the force undertook in order to define these expectations, the workforce engaged positively, and we found that officers and staff at all ranks and grades understood the ‘leadership promise’. The force recognises that some aspects of leadership are weaker, including the approach to performance appraisal and absence management.
The force is developing its approach to enable a more sophisticated appraisal of the quality of leadership across the force. However, the inconsistent use of performance review is limiting the force’s understanding of leadership capabilities and gaps. Although the force provides a range of leadership development opportunities including secondments, temporary promotions and formal training programmes, it does not have a comprehensive and transparent approach to talent management. In the absence of this, it cannot ensure that it draws the best candidates from the widest possible pool of potential leaders. There is limited evidence that the force evaluates its leadership development programmes. The force could make better use of recruitment opportunities at higher ranks and grades to enhance its overall leadership capability.
The force is proactive at looking outside the police service to search for new ideas and methods. The force uses academics and professional bodies to review its practices, and to provide feedback across a broad range of police activities. By applying the learning to its local context, new approaches have been introduced quickly. We found new ideas and practices being trialled and communicated across the force. The force recognises the need to improve the diversity of its leadership teams but this focuses on progression of the black, Asian and minority ethnic workforce, and on increasing female representation. Beyond this, we found little evidence of how the force is attempting to increase the diversity of its leaders in terms of their skills, experience and background.