Derbyshire PEEL 2018
How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?
Derbyshire Constabulary needs to improve how efficiently it operates. It also needs to improve the sustainability of its services to the public. This is a decline from the judgment of ‘good’ that the force received from our last inspection of this area in 2017.
The force needs to make better use of its own data, and that of other organisations, to understand the nature and composition of the demand it faces. The force’s recent investments have increased the amount of skilled staff and technology that are available to analyse data and identify efficiencies. This is a timely step, because demand (especially demand relating to investigations) is increasing significantly, following changes the force has made to more accurately record crime.
Talent management programmes are available to the whole workforce. The force has more ways of attracting new officers (both new recruits and transferees). As a result, the force can now choose the best candidates from a wider pool.
The force has a culture of constantly seeking innovation. It encourages its workforce to try new approaches that improve services to the public and save money.
The force’s financial plans are built on prudent assumptions, including how it will use available reserves. It has forecast budget gaps for each of the next two financial years, but it has yet to develop detailed plans to meet them.
The force does not have comprehensive information about the skills held by the whole workforce. It also needs to develop a better understanding about how it will organise and train the workforce to meet future demand.
How well does the force use its resources to meet the demand it faces?
Derbyshire Constabulary needs to improve the way it understands and manages current demand. This is a decline from the judgment of ‘good’ that we gave the force after our last inspection of this area in 2017.
The force predominantly uses data that it draws from crime investigations and incidents that are linked to calls for service from the public. Recently, the force has made changes to how it records crime. These changes have significantly increased the volume of crimes that it deals with. They have also led to consequences for how it manages them.
It is important that senior leaders have a very clear understanding of the changes in this workload. Recently, the force has introduced new staff and better technology to help it with that understanding. But the force won’t see the benefits of these additions until later in 2019. The force could also do more to share data and work with other partner organisations to meet demand.
During our inspection fieldwork, there was no inappropriate suppression of demand, although teams that deal with calls for service and manage risk assessments are under the most pressure. Senior leaders must be vigilant that the decisions being made within each team are consistent with offering the best service, rather than being based on expediency.
The force has a culture of seeking innovation and encouraging the workforce to suggest improvements. It is committed to using new technology whenever possible.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve its understanding of the impact that partner organisations have on demand and should further improve data-sharing arrangements with partner organisations.
- The force should consider how to more effectively promote messages about why changes are needed and how quickly amongst all leaders.
- The force should ensure that its prioritisation and allocation of demand takes full account of the risks of inadvertently suppressing demand.
How well does the force plan for the future?
Derbyshire Constabulary needs to improve the way it plans for the future. It has declined from the judgment of ‘good’ that it received following our last inspection of this area in 2017.
The nature and composition of demand faced by the force – specifically the amount of crimes under investigations – grew significantly from early 2019, meaning that existing assumptions about the future became unreliable. The force has plans to improve the way it understands demand and to revise forecasts for the future, but these are just beginning to take shape. Consequently, the force also needs to do more work to determine the size of its future workforce, and the skills they will need.
The force has a history of managing money well. Its financial plans are built on prudent assumptions, including how it will use available reserves. The force has forecast budget gaps for each of the next two financial years, but it has yet to develop detailed plans for addressing them.
The force is planning new ways for the public to access services so that it experiences less demand. These include more self-service options on the force’s website and the launch of a new telephony system in 2020. However, the force hasn’t measured the benefits that are likely to be achieved by these and other ICT programmes.
The force operates effective talent management processes for police staff and officers. By opening up more ways of attracting new officers (both new recruits and existing officers who are on promotion), it is better able to select the best candidates from the widest market.
Areas for improvement
- The force should develop a better understanding of the skills the workforce will need to meet future demand.
- The force should devise detailed plans for making the financial savings it requires in the coming financial years.