Nottinghamshire PEEL 2017
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Nottinghamshire Police is judged to require improvement in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year. The force is judged to be good for its understanding of demand; it is assessed to require improvement for its use of resources to manage demand; and its planning for future demand is judged to require improvement.
Nottinghamshire Police’s understanding of the demand for its services is improving. The force’s good understanding of current demand is based mostly on analysis of police data and could be broadened by regular analysis of data from other organisations. It is developing its understanding of those crimes which are less likely to be reported. The force only partially understands the factors that can affect demand and is developing an approach to assessing external factors that are likely to affect future demand, such as technological, economic and social changes. It could improve how it manages, prioritises and filters demand. Sometimes it may be inadvertently suppressing demand and there are times when demand exceeds available resources, placing pressure on frontline officers.
The force has improved its understanding of the skills and capabilities of its workforce. It does not yet have a good understanding of the skills and capabilities of its leaders, but has well-developed plans to achieve this. Until it completes its leadership skills audit and subsequent skills needs analysis, it cannot tailor its development opportunities effectively and it would benefit from a formal talent management programme. Leaders continue to seek out new ideas, approaches and working practices. The force encourages its workforce to make suggestions and put forward ideas, and leaders listen to them.
The force would benefit from a wider programme to identify and analyse trends to understand future demand and improve its ability to plan. It does not always identify benefits achieved through change programmes or eliminate inefficiency effectively. However, it plans to conduct annual departmental assessments using priority-based budgeting which will help identify inefficiency. The force works well with others to manage local demand for its services and continues to consider other options for collaboration that will reduce costs and increase resilience and capacity.
Nottinghamshire Police has made good progress in improving the quality and robustness of its financial planning and management. The force is investing to increase its capacity and capability, and has good ICT infrastructure and estates projects. Although its current limited funds in reserve could restrict its ability to invest, the force has committed to making additional one-off savings to replenish these reserves and provide greater financial resilience for the future.
How well does the force understand demand?
Nottinghamshire Police’s understanding of demand is improving. The force has a good understanding of current demand for its services, although this mostly relies on police-held data and lacks the breadth of understanding that would be achieved through a wider approach with other organisations, such as adult and child safeguarding services.
The force is developing a deeper understanding of hidden demand and those crimes which are less well-reported. It is noteworthy that all neighbourhood teams have proactive plans to build meaningful relationships with those who may have less confidence in the police. By contrast, however, the force’s understanding of how demand is affected is still under-developed, although it does demonstrate some commitment to manage and prioritise this well. The force filters demand, and plans to do so more, but it may be inadvertently suppressing demand.
The force is not always effective at identifying benefits achieved through change programmes and, although there are some good examples of evaluation, this is not routine practice. No formal arrangements to identify waste and inefficiencies are in place. However, in HMICFRS’ inspection, it was noted that the force had advanced plans in place to conduct annual departmental assessments, including opportunities to eliminate duplication and use demand modelling tools to improve efficiency. The workforce is encouraged to make suggestions and put forward ideas, and force leaders listen to these ideas.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that their prioritisation and allocation of demand takes full account of the risks of inadvertently suppressing demand (for example, not responding to low priority work), and that risks are appropriately mitigated.
- The force should put in place better processes and governance to understand and realise the benefits of change programmes, and how they affect the force’s ability to meet current and likely future demand efficiently.
How well does the force use its resources?
The force now has a better understanding of the operational skills and capabilities of its workforce and is developing an assessment of the skills it needs for the future. It does not yet have a good understanding of the skills and capabilities of its leaders nor a defined plan to address any shortages. However, it has well-developed plans to complete a leadership skills audit which should greatly assist these gaps when it has been completed.
The force works well with others to manage local demand for services and continues to consider other options for further collaborative working. It is able to demonstrate that its collaboration with other forces increases resilience and capacity. Leaders continue to seek out new ideas, approaches and working practices from across the police service and further afield.
However, HMICFRS remains concerned that, although the force has continued to prioritise its services, this is only partly effective and there are times when demand outstrips available resources. The force has a priority-based budgeting exercise planned for the summer to provide a greater understanding of how well it uses its resources. Investment, particularly in ICT infrastructure, continues, although the force could do more to enable it to show the acquired or projected value from its investments.
Areas for improvement
- The force should undertake appropriate activities to understand fully its workforce’s capabilities, in order to identify any gaps, and put plans in place to address them. This will enable the force to be confident in its ability to be efficient in meeting current and likely future demand.
- The force should continue to undertake appropriate activities to understand fully its leadership capacity and capability, in order to identify any gaps, and put plans in place to address them. This will enable the force to be confident in its ability to be efficient in meeting current and likely future demand.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
The force is mostly effective at identifying and assessing emerging or likely future demand. Its work to understand better the nature and scale of hidden and under-reported crime across the force area is developing. It has a growing understanding of likely demand for its services, by considering public expectations, and by understanding how it can make the best use of changes in technology. It continues to consider and make plans for working with others in the future.
Although its financial plans, demand analysis, workforce plans and understanding of changing public expectations have not yet been reconciled, there has been progress since 2016 to make them more compatible. Progress has been particularly good in the quality and robustness of financial planning, and the force has a financial plan to ensure it can respond to the most pressing priorities which its communities are facing.
However, the force needs to make a persistent effort to achieve its targets. It needs to reduce its spending notably to invest in a new operating model, and this would require the force to make further substantial savings by 2020/21. The plans for achieving the savings are not yet fully formed, and its work planned for later in 2017 aims to establish credible and achievable plans even further. It is unclear how the force identifies and develops talented staff within its organisation, as it has no internal talent management programme, although it does support national schemes.
Areas for improvement
- The force should develop its workforce plans to identify fully its future workforce capabilities and align its financial plan and improved analysis of future demand and emerging priorities. This should ensure that the force has a comprehensive medium to long term plan to respond effectively and efficiently to future demand.