Skip to content

Help us improve our reports

Please fill in this survey about our PEEL inspection reports by 5pm on 25 October 2019.

Cleveland PEEL 2018

Efficiency

How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?

Last updated 27/09/2019
Inadequate

Cleveland Police has a poor understanding of its demand. It doesn’t sufficiently prioritise between different types of demand and it shows a limited understanding of the factors that affect this. Its lack of understanding means that it isn’t efficiently adapting the services it provides and, as a result, it can’t provide them as promptly as it should be able to.

The force isn’t making the best use of the resources it has. It has changed some processes to manage its functions better, but in doing so has created risks. It has considered more efficient ways of working, such as working with others, but it doesn’t properly understand how effective its joint working is.

The force’s financial management is good and it manages its budget tightly. However, it bases its plans on its poor understanding of demand. It also hasn’t aligned its financial and workforce strategies, and there is no accurate plan to fill the skills or training gaps it has.

The force recognises that it needs to improve and has commenced a programme of change. However, the future operating model is uncertain, and the force doesn’t sufficiently understand what the public of Cleveland expects.

The force has dropped two grades in the efficiency pillar since our last efficiency inspection in 2017, which is a significant deterioration.

Questions for Efficiency

1

How well does the force use its resources to meet the demand it faces?

Inadequate

Cause of concern

Cleveland Police doesn’t adequately understand the demand it faces. A thorough understanding of demand is required to underpin all strategic planning. This failure means it doesn’t have coherent workforce and financial plans to meet demand and deliver the necessary outcomes.

Recommendations

To address this cause of concern, the force should immediately:

  • carry out a comprehensive assessment of current and potential future demand across all operational areas to inform the force’s operating model. This should include latent demand, and the demand generated by internal processes;
  • provide senior leaders with the relevant information, support and skills to inform their understanding of demand; and
  • develop coordinated financial and workforce plans based on demand, which should be integrated into the force’s strategic planning cycle.

Areas for improvement

The following AFIs are still outstanding from our previous inspections:

  • The force should undertake appropriate activities to fully understand 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. (Efficiency 2017)
  • The force should conduct a leadership skills audit that will allow it to understand leadership capacity and capability. (Efficiency 2017)

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the force’s performance in this area.

Assessing current demand

Cleveland Police doesn’t properly understand demand in a way that enables it to effectively develop its services. Its appreciation of demand hasn’t been refreshed for two to three years and is out of date. The force hasn’t done enough to align its understanding of demand to the force priorities, particularly those relating to vulnerability and repeat victims.

The force has failed to fully resource its response model and has needed more officers than originally planned. This failure to properly resource the response function has resulted in an inability to respond to incidents in a timely manner, and also officers carrying higher than expected workloads. The force has recognised the problem but is still not properly using its own data to understand and resolve the situation.

The failure to understand demand undermines effective resource deployment. The force is experiencing high levels of sickness and is carrying a large number of vacancies, exacerbated by the lack of recruitment. The force has redeployed neighbourhood officers to support response teams, but this hasn’t achieved the anticipated improvements. It has also had an adverse effect on the neighbourhood function.

The force insufficiently assesses emergent and latent demand. Its strategic risk assessment includes analysis of demand that is sometimes not well known because of low levels of reporting of, for example, child sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation. The force doesn’t properly understand its internal demand or the increased demand created by its own processes. Consequently, inadequate provision has been made in its new operating model to accommodate critical elements such as multi-agency strategy meetings to address vulnerability.

Cleveland Police undertakes activities that are outside its main responsibilities. The control room continues to deal with reports of lost property and, more significantly, the force continues to provide services that are better provided by other organisations.

Understanding factors that influence demand

Cleveland Police doesn’t fully understand the factors that affect demand. It has tried to respond to incoming demand in various ways, but this has often created problems elsewhere. These problems have arisen because it lacks an end-to-end understanding of its processes. Some changes it has made have either increased or suppressed demand elsewhere, or created a risk that hasn’t been identified and managed. In addition, senior leaders don’t understand the demand within their own areas of responsibility and the force doesn’t give them enough data and support to enable sufficient understanding.

The force isn’t addressing the inefficiencies in its processes to help it better manage its demand. It hasn’t sufficiently aligned its operating model to its demand and it doesn’t effectively prioritise incidents. The shift patterns for response and investigations teams don’t correspond to the demand the force experiences, which increases bureaucracy, delays investigations and increases handovers. This also increases risk. During our inspection, we found examples of children being missing overnight and no one trying to locate them until the next morning.

The force is taking some action to limit how internal processes create more demand. But this is at a low level: it isn’t reviewing inefficiencies overall. The force has completed a review of its standard operating procedures and has simplified some tasks. For example, it has changed its sudden death protocol to reduce the amount of time officers spend dealing with these incidents.

The force has some understanding of how efficient working practices can reduce demand. It has trained the change team to identify waste and duplication in its processes and is investing in digital ways of working. These include training all frontline officers to download body-worn video camera footage and footage from seized phones. It is also providing shop owners with a facility to upload digital evidence from CCTV, and members of the public can upload evidence from their mobile phones. But during the inspection this system had stopped working.

Working with others to meet demand

Cleveland Police works well with others to meet demand. However, it doesn’t have a good enough understanding of how effective its joint working is. It doesn’t have a specific person as the lead for its collaborative working who would have this oversight and provide the necessary strategic direction.

The force has many joint working arrangements with police and non-police partner organisations. It has formal contracts in place with several private providers for criminal justice, custody and its enabling services, but not all these functions are as effective as the force would like. For example, its control room processes aren’t as efficient and effective as they could be, and it has been difficult for the force to make changes because of the conditions it agreed to when the contract was set up nine years ago. As a result, the force negotiated for its control room function to return to the force on 1 May 2019.

The force also works with other organisations to manage demand better. This includes having a mental health co-ordinator and a domestic abuse support worker in the control room.

Innovation and new opportunities

The force looks externally for some best practice and new ideas, such as the introduction of a MEDICAR by the special constabulary. This provides a special constable and paramedic who jointly patrol on Friday evenings to deal with police incidents where a victim also needs medical attention. The car reduces the need for a regular police officer or ambulance to attend. We found examples of how the force has taken new ways of working from other organisations and adapted them for its own purposes. It describes this process as ‘borrowing with pride’. For example, it now uses an approach first developed by Cumbria Police, which helps to understand which roles are suitable for agile working.

There are ways in which the workforce can put forward ideas, including the force’s online suggestion scheme called ‘Let’s innovate’. The success of this has been varied and senior leaders need to encourage the workforce to use it more. Staff can also put forward ideas when speaking directly to chief officers. The weekly email alert – the brief – is also used for this purpose.

Investment and benefits

The force’s investment decisions are sound and reflect priority areas. It can demonstrate the value it has achieved, or will achieve, from investments. It has made some investment in police vehicles, providing new technology and better use of police buildings. However, the force should make sure that it has adequate processes in place to understand and track the full range of benefits it gets from the changes it makes.

Prioritising different types of demand

The way Cleveland Police prioritises different types of demand is poor. The force doesn’t have a good enough understanding of the resources it needs to meet its current demand. For example, it doesn’t sufficiently understand what resources it has or where to deploy them to meet demand. Chief officers don’t have sufficient visibility of all force resources and the teams and posts that are in place, despite the force saying it needs extra resources in some areas.

The force prioritises some of its demand through its daily pacesetter meeting. This deals with the incidents that have occurred in the past 24 hours. It focuses on vulnerable victims including domestic abuse and missing persons. However, it doesn’t review all its most urgent demand at this meeting. It relies on managers drawing attention to the most urgent tasks so that resources can be redirected. This doesn’t always happen.

The force prioritises some of its demand in other ways, such as through its telephone investigations unit, its scheduled appointments and by diverting its 101 calls to front enquiry desks. However, the force isn’t managing the risks created by doing this. 

Assigning resources to demand and understanding their costs

Cleveland Police has a good understanding of the cost of its services and its financial management is good. The force has provided financial management training to managers and it holds them accountable for their respective budgets. It has a balanced overall budget for the next four years and has based its financial plans on realistic assumptions. The force has a clear approach to achieving savings and re-investing the money in the right areas. While finances are tight, the future savings requirement is minimal.

Workforce capabilities

Cleveland Police has a good understanding of the operational training and accreditation requirements of most of its frontline officers and staff. However, it needs a more detailed understanding of the skills and capabilities of its workforce. There is some understanding of the skills gaps it has, but it has undertaken little planning on how it will fill them. This lack of understanding means the force doesn’t know the full range of skills it needs to meet its demand.

The force isn’t sufficiently developing its workforce to be competent in their roles or to become future leaders. It has a learning and development strategy for 2019/20, which aligns with the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Policing Vision 2025 that states:

“By 2025 policing will be a profession with a more representative workforce that will align the right skills, powers and experience to meet challenging requirements.”

The strategy sets out the force’s intention for developing its workforce and introducing new ways of learning. However, there isn’t an adequate plan to support the implementation of the strategy. In the absence of a full skills audit and a performance development review process, it has a limited understanding of what its workforce development requirements are. Its development of leadership and management skills is more positive because it has development opportunities that the workforce can choose to take up.

Following a period without recruitment, the force has too many positions currently vacant. It is now using recruitment and training to fill these positions. It advertises externally for posts to attract experienced officers and staff from other forces. Since our last inspection in 2017, it has recruited externally for a head of ethics and standards, and it has recruited other departmental leads and chief officers.

More efficient ways of working

Cleveland Police has introduced changes to help it deal with its demand more efficiently but, in doing so, it has made its processes less effective (to the extent of introducing risk to victims).

The force has started a new programme of change called ‘Transforming Cleveland Police’. This strategy sets out how the force will transform Cleveland Police into an “outstanding and values-led organisation in which our staff have pride and our communities have confidence”. It aims to transform its people and culture, service provision and digital services. The initial stage of this work is for departmental leads to determine what service they should provide and what design and capacity they need to achieve this. However, we found that they don’t fully understand the demand in their areas of responsibility, and the force hasn’t supported them with enough data, information and skills to do so.

The force has placed too much reliance on HMICFRS and the force’s auditors for providing assurance of its processes. It has no way of continually assessing and monitoring the quality of its processes. Managers don’t understand whether their teams comply with force processes and submit quality information. This means that, when processes aren’t working, this doesn’t become apparent until it is too late. It also means that there isn’t enough understanding of its processes to inform future plans. The force is taking steps to improve its control room but its plan doesn’t sufficiently address all the issues we identified with its processes. During our inspection, the force halted some of its other plans for transforming the force to allow a further review to take place.

The force has basic arrangements in place for making sure that it achieves the benefits from its change programmes. But it hasn’t sufficiently assessed whether it has achieved the improved results it expected. It is revising its process for assessing benefits as part of its new Transforming Cleveland Police programme of change.

The force doesn’t always consider more efficient ways of working in the decisions it makes. Its immediate response to increased demand is usually to divert more resources into those areas. This means it is simply redistributing an already limited number of resources. It doesn’t always consider that it could work differently or better through improved processes. When it has previously introduced different ways of working with online reporting of crimes for shop owners, we found that the system and CCTV upload had stopped working.

The force generally has a good record for making savings and efficiency gains. During the 2018/19 financial year, it set a balanced budget with the need to save a recurring £250,000. The non-pay savings came from procurement of insurance and mobile phones, and further savings were found in the contracted services from the private provider. The force also used zero-based budgeting to review all non-pay costs against what it thinks it needs. It achieved some pay savings through reductions in police officers and PCSO numbers, and civilianising some posts.

Using technology

The force is using technology to help improve the efficiency of its workforce and to fight crime. It has a clear three-year digital strategy for replacement and transformation, and is investing £8m in mobile technology. A robust process is in place for making sure that future IT investment provides clear results aligned to the police and crime plan, but it is too early to say whether the new ways of working are more efficient. The focus this year is to:

  • improve mobile/agile working;
  • introduce voice-to-text for officers to help with written work;
  • provide data analysis software;
  • provide screens within the communication centre;
  • provide mobile tablets to reduce paperwork; and
  • work towards joining the single online home by October 2019.

The force has assessed which roles are suitable for agile working, which provides a guide on how it can use mobile technology better. Officers are piloting the use of 4G laptops and mobile phones as part of the agile working and digital strategy. The force has also piloted an app for officers to use remotely that allows them to complete some forms electronically. There has been some delay in the mobile technology because of the information technology (IT) requirements within the force’s new community safety hub (force headquarters).

The force is making good use of technology to manage offenders. It uses a tagging system for RSOs, so officers can review the offender by geographical location. It has started to make use of drones to prevent anti-social behaviour caused by off-road motorbikes.

Summary for question 1
2

How well does the force plan for the future?

Inadequate

Cause of concern

Cleveland Police doesn’t adequately understand the demand it faces. A thorough understanding of demand is required to underpin all strategic planning. This failure means it doesn’t have coherent workforce and financial plans to meet demand and deliver the necessary outcomes.

Recommendations

To address this cause of concern, the force should immediately:

  • carry out a comprehensive assessment of current and potential future demand across all operational areas to inform the force’s operating model. This should include latent demand, and the demand generated by internal processes;
  • provide senior leaders with the relevant information, support and skills to inform their understanding of demand; and
  • develop coordinated financial and workforce plans based on demand, which should be integrated into the force’s strategic planning cycle.

Areas for improvement

The following AFIs are still outstanding from our previous inspections:

  • The force should undertake appropriate activities to fully understand 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. (Efficiency 2017)
  • The force should conduct a leadership skills audit that will allow it to understand leadership capacity and capability. (Efficiency 2017)

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the force’s performance in this area.

Assessing future demand for services

The force doesn’t adequately assess the future demand for its services and its future operating model remains uncertain. Its current model isn’t managing demand efficiently or effectively, so the force doesn’t have an efficient foundation on which to build a future model. It still has more to do in reviewing its service areas, and it isn’t continuously monitoring the changes it makes to understand the effect they have in other areas of the force.

The force doesn’t have the coherent view of future demand it needs to inform the necessary financial, workforce and operational planning. Plans that had been fundamental to how the force worked are no longer in use. Previously, the force’s people strategy and the workforce plan were aligned: this is no longer the case.

Understanding public expectations

The force doesn’t have an adequate understanding of what the public expects of its police service. It isn’t engaging with the public to understand what their future expectations are or how they are changing. This means that the force’s plans aren’t informed by what the public wants.

The force is considering other channels to engage differently with the public. This includes online reporting of crimes. However, this move to use digital channels isn’t included in the force’s digital strategy.

Prioritising

The force manages its money well and has a balanced budget. This includes the movement of under- and over-spends, clear savings targets for which it holds managers accountable, and zero-based budgeting for non-pay costs. It bases its budget and long-term financial plans on sound assumptions, taking account of likely increases and pressures such as increased employer contributions to police pensions. The force took advantage of the precept increase. It is also able to access funds through changes to the contract it has with its strategic partner. It is using this money to fund additional posts. The force currently has healthy financial reserves.

However, the force hasn’t comprehensively assessed its future workforce requirements, based on an understanding of changing demand. We previously asked the force to improve its efficiency by assessing its present and projected workforce skills. It hasn’t yet completed this. Public expectations aren’t clear in the force’s planning and it doesn’t always align its resources to its priorities. It doesn’t sufficiently prioritise how it uses its resources and it doesn’t properly understand:

  • its demand;
  • what resources it has where, and whether they are working to force priorities;
  • the skills and capabilities of the workforce; or
  • its future requirements.

All these factors should influence the force’s future operating model.

Future workforce

The force needs to improve its workforce planning. It hasn’t completed a full review and assessment of future workforce requirements. Its workforce plans (recruitment, training and development) don’t take account of skills and capability gaps, the need to tackle inequalities and the lack of diversity throughout the different workforce ranks and grades.

The force has started recruiting again, but it will take time to achieve the capacity and capability it needs. It is currently 30 officers below what it needs to be able to operate efficiently. By the end of the year, it needs to have recruited an additional 100 officers because more officers will have left the force and retired. The force’s plans aren’t clear about what officer numbers are required. The figures in the workforce plan differ from those in its long-term financial plan.

The force is using a fast-track process to enable special constables and PCSOs to become police officers. This will help it achieve some of the additional police officers it needs. The force is reducing the number of PCSOs and plans to spend some of the savings on workforce modernisation, creating police staff roles where warranted powers aren’t necessary. However, the force has temporarily suspended the PCSO fast-track process, which will slow down its original intention to recruit quickly.

Finance plans

The force is financially stable and has achieved the required savings. However, it needs to improve how its interim and future operating model informs its financial and workforce plans. It has allocated money to achieve some of its planned changes, such as its digital strategy for replacement and transformation. It is also making good use of reserves to create agile working, cloud services and public service network accreditation. It uses zero-based budgeting rather than incremental budgeting, based on no planned reduction in service provision. The force makes good assumptions when planning its finances but bases its plans on what it can afford now, rather than on an understanding of demand and what it needs for the future.

There is no requirement for the force to have a financial sustainability plan for 2019/20 because the budget is balanced. The savings it has made in previous years’ savings have helped to get it to this position. It is in a good financial position, having made provision for the changes in the police pension employer contributions. This could have resulted in a £3m–£4m deficit, but the increase in grant and precept meant the force has been able to achieve a balanced budget.

Leadership and workforce development

The force has some understanding of its future leadership and workforce needs. It has considered its leadership and workforce skills at an organisational level, but not yet at an individual level. The force’s leadership strategy outlines the future leadership capabilities it needs, and this has informed its leadership values and behaviours.

The force can’t assess the workforce skills it has against the workforce skills it needs. It isn’t yet able to map an individual’s skills against the overall requirements in the leadership strategy to understand any gaps. It intends to use its performance development process to do this once implemented.

The force has insufficient information to undertake effective succession planning. It is filling its vacancies based on limited information about the specialist skills officers hold. It isn’t informed by proper talent management or an appreciation of any wider skills or development required for a post. The learning and development plan includes succession planning for armed policing and for tactical skills, but not for the wider workforce based on need.

The force makes a broad range of training available, despite not knowing what its workforce needs are individually or collectively. It understands what mandatory training is required and provides this training. But in the absence of any understanding of individual or departmental training needs, it can’t know if the training being provided is meeting the skills gap its workforce has. This results in a wide selection of training being made available, which officers can self-select, but the force has no way of knowing if this is meeting their needs or is being aimed at the right people.

The force doesn’t use Police Now or the direct entry schemes to bring other skills and different experiences into the force. It has one fast-track officer and a cohort of transferees pending. It intends to bring in special constables and PCSOs through a fast-track process to become police constables. It has also held workshops to encourage people from minority communities to apply for jobs within the force.

Ambition to improve

The force recognises that it needs to improve as evident in its programme of change branded as ‘Transforming Cleveland Police’. It isn’t clear about what changes in demand it anticipates or how to sustain its services to meet these demands. It doesn’t have ambitious and innovative plans. Its plans are uncertain, and it doesn’t have enough capacity and capability to achieve the pace and scale of change required.

Summary for question 2