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Humberside PEEL 2018

Efficiency

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

Last updated 01/05/2019
Good

Humberside Police is good at meeting current demands and using resources.

The force understands the demands placed on it at present. It makes changes as demand changes. The force works with other organisations to meet demand. It is working to improve its understanding of the benefits it gains from change programmes.

Humberside Police is good at planning for the future. It knows what the public expects from it. The force has a good workforce plan that shows what skills it will need in future. It has plans to get the skills that it needs. The force now has a better understanding of its finances than previously.

Questions for Efficiency

1

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

Good

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

This year we found Humberside Police had improved its understanding of demand.

The force has a demand team that analyses and predicts demand for services. It works with others in the private sector, using evidence-based consultancy products to develop its understanding of patterns of demand. Assisting this is the good use of ICT such as the call volume predictive modelling for the force control room. This predicts daily incoming call volume, which in turn guides resourcing levels. During our inspection we saw how this works, with consistent call handling performance. The force redesigned its shift pattern based on its own analysis of demand, to help provide a better response to meet public expectations.

Early intervention teams and partners (such as health, the local authority and education) continue to work together in Humberside and exchange information. Various organisations can refer vulnerable individuals to these teams, to assist with solving problems. The partners work together to find a solution and this can lead to uncovering hidden demand and vulnerability. Support is provided to these vulnerable people and their wider families and this should also reduce demand on the partners involved.

The force produces data to help it understand demand. This includes a mental health dashboard. The force shares this mental health data with public health services. We found the force regularly monitors incidents, crime demand and resourcing levels through its local accountability meeting process.

The daily pacesetter meeting examines incoming call volume, force-wide resourcing levels, current incidents and updates on crimes of a serious nature. This allows the chief officers to redeploy resources across Humberside when needed, to meet competing priorities and demand. At the time of our inspection, the force was only two weeks into a new shift pattern for its uniformed officers, but it considered that the pattern had already resulted in an improved capacity to respond to the public. We will monitor the evaluation of this new shift pattern, as well as resourcing and attendance times, to see if it meets the expectation of the public. 

Understanding factors that influence demand

Chief officers provide direction and scrutinise change in Humberside Police through corporate governance groups. The force uses Lean methodology, which is a system for the structured review and redesign of services. Staff map processes and identify inefficiencies. They then design new processes and staffing structures to provide a better service that is more efficient. An example of this is the domestic abuse project: the force reviewed how it dealt with these complex incidents at different stages. This helped it make informed choices, improved its service to victims, and made it more efficient.

The workforce can influence change. The force demonstrated this by the introduction of the DACT now working in the force control room. It provides a better structure and assessment for the management of domestic abuse incidents. The workforce is involved in advising on the force’s future mobile device solutions so that the end user influences the actual products that will be procured. This was developed by PVP staff who designed the structure and processes. The pacesetter and regular control room meetings throughout the day oversee demand and incident management. Senior officers manage this process and monitor daily performance. There is a positive ethos in making sure that calls for service are managed effectively and efficiently to support each day’s activity and avoid suppressing demand.

Working with others to meet demand

The force has stated its desire to work with others to provide a more effective service to the public. It works with local partners to manage demand. It also works with other forces in the region to maximise the benefit of specialised resources. Reductions in resourcing levels for partners can affect policing. During our inspection, we saw chief officers communicating with leaders in partner organisations, to highlight their obligations where problems had been encountered that affected policing demand.

The force works well with the fire and rescue service. The organisations have a combined estates strategy covering over 100 buildings. The force has seconded a chief superintendent to the fire service chief officer group to assist with integration. The services can list tangible benefits such as joint school visits, joint high-risk missing persons searches, and house entry for vulnerable person checks. They also share fleet maintenance, which provides cost savings and greater efficiency for both fire and police services.

We heard many examples of work with Hull University. This includes mentoring, vulnerability projects and early intervention projects. The force also collaborates with the mental health charity MIND. It has workers from the charity based in the force control room to assist with mental health calls and provide advice to enhance the service provided to callers.

Humberside Police has worked in partnership with South Yorkshire Police for some years, providing ICT, human resourcing (HR) services and legal services. It was recognised that the combined HR service was not working as effectively as desired. They have taken the informed decision to bring HR services back into the two individual forces.

Innovation and new opportunities

The chief officer team recognised that Humberside Police was perhaps too insular in the past and now encourages its workforce to ‘look up and look out’. It seeks good practice from outside Humberside, both from other forces (for instance on missing persons) and from industry (such as the call centre modelled ‘queue busting’ process in the force control room).

In the last year, the force has brought in external management team members. It welcomes transferees from other forces as they bring new skills and close capability gaps. The force expects to have appointed over 400 new recruits by December 2018. This represents about a quarter of the workforce and is a substantial wave of new talent.

There is now a culture of continuous improvement and the force aims to provide the best police services in the country. It encourages the workforce to seek out good practice and welcomes innovation and challenge to existing practices. This was evidenced by the idea suggested to introduce the DACT into the force control room that is now good practice. We saw examples of work with other forces, academia and commercial organisations aimed at reducing demand and improving the quality of services to the public. For example, a peer review from another force of its management of RSO processes to improve its efficiency. The force is happy to adopt other ideas if they benefit Humberside.

Investment and benefits

We saw examples of several reviews of functions. Review leaders present these as business cases to the change leads board. Business cases include a thorough analysis of demand, functions and costs as well as activities undertaken and options for change. They identify staffing models, costs and savings. The force manages the implementation of reviews through appropriate corporate governance. The force is outward looking and learns from the experience of others. We saw a similar thorough process for investment decisions, such as upgrading body-worn video cameras and ICT projects, including the future replacement of handheld devices.

Assessing the benefits of change is becoming more systematic. There is a framework in place to identify anticipated benefits as well as to track the results of earlier reviews to ensure that the promised benefits are being realised. The force directly links cashable savings to its savings plan.

Prioritising different types of demand

In 2017, Humberside Police recognised that it wasn’t meeting demand and that it didn’t have a clear picture of its workforce requirements and its budget. It has undertaken a lot of work since then to ensure that its finance and HR departments work closely together. This included co-locating the two departments. The force now has a detailed workforce plan in line with the budget available.

As part of that process, the chief constable together with the police and crime commissioner (PCC) resolved to fill 200 police officer vacancies and to recruit over 200 additional officers. In addition, the PCC’s decision to increase the council tax precept for 2018/19 allowed the force to recruit a further 65 officers, taking the force to 1,925 officers by December 2018. This additional recruitment has increased internal demand in areas such as training, uniform supplies and supervision. This has been well managed and funded. The force has also welcomed 35 officers who have transferred from other forces.

The chief constable also recognised that the force’s identity needed to reflect the geography and demand of Humberside. He has changed the force structure to a North and South Bank model, with CID, response and PVP reinstated in each area.

The force has introduced a new shift pattern for response officers, to meet current and anticipated demand. The force consulted on these patterns, which it researched carefully using three years of data. Other resourcing projects are under consideration. Demand data is available for chief officers to redeploy resources according to need, and supervision of incidents in the force control room is generally positive.

The force now has the DACT within the control room. The team re-assesses lower-level domestic incidents that are not deployed to immediately. If required, supervisors within the control room can re-escalate these incidents, as well as those reviewed and dealt with by the crime management unit.

Assigning resources to demand and understanding their costs

The force manages change through its strategic leads board and strategic change board. Board members base their decisions on a thorough understanding of costs, staffing and demand. This process is relatively new but should ensure that the force effectively manages proposals and achieves the expected benefits. The force has reviewed its overtime spending and reduced costs from £7.6m to £3.6m. It achieved some of this by understanding how it was previously over-resourcing some public order events, such as football policing. The force invests in resources to manage demand. For example, it has enhanced its crime management units, which can:

  • provide telephone investigations;
  • deal with enquiries; and
  • reduce the need for officers attending in person.

This is freeing up officer capacity to concentrate on incidents that are more serious. As the force identifies new demands, it develops a business case that sets out options for how the force can manage them, the resources required, and any savings identified. An example of this is the body-worn video camera replacement programme in response to changing technology we examined. We found that the finance and HR departments are involved in the development of business cases and in implementing any agreed changes, so that there is an understanding of costs and resourcing.

This year we found that the force is better at linking costs to service provision. In one staffing review, the force used an outside agency to assist in developing three potential staffing models. The agency used evidence-based modelling for the review. The force is now considering what levels of service each of those staffing levels would provide, to help make sure it makes the right decision.

After reviewing the HR function it shares with South Yorkshire Police, the force took the decision to return a dedicated HR service to Humberside. The force believes it will make sizeable savings from this. It is currently determining what levels of service will be provided with different levels of staffing. The force uses HMICFRS value for money profiles to review the cost of its services against other forces; this helps to guide its change programme.

Workforce capabilities

Humberside Police now has a comprehensive workforce plan, which links to its ‘plan on a page’ and its target operating model.

In 2017, we identified that the force needed to understand its workforce’s capabilities fully, in order to identify gaps and put plans in place to address them to meet current and future demand. This year we found it has identified the skills required for each post and the existing gaps. While this skills audit has focused primarily on police officers, the force keeps role profiles up to date for staff posts and recruits people to posts based on the skills required.

The force has developed a training plan that meets these identified skills gaps, provides mandatory training and addresses the unprecedented level of recruit training for new recruits. The addition of new officers on response teams will allow experienced officers to move into vacant detective posts in CID. A consequence of the volume of recruitment is that all 400 new officers require extensive driver training to comply with national guidelines. The force understands this and is working through solutions to make it possible.

Special Constabulary leaders consider they have trained their officers to the required standard. Humberside Police has focused on recruiting special constables with skills that will be useful to the force. These skills come from their day-to-day work outside their police roles. For example, one officer runs an ICT company and now assists with cyber-crime offences.

We saw examples of the force using external expertise to fill gaps:

  • external appointments;
  • Police Now intakes;
  • transferees at all ranks to bring in new skills and experience; and
  • using the services of other organisations where skills are hard to recruit – for instance specialist legal services.

We found that the force uses industry-modelling tools and works with universities to find solutions and new ideas. 

More efficient ways of working

Humberside Police works collaboratively with other organisations to improve services to the public. Examples include mental health service provision, partnerships with the fire and rescue service and early help units with local authorities. The force has developed a new cyber-crime strategy and has plans to invest in future technology for mobile working solutions, to replace outdated equipment.

The force’s change management process is robust and has the right people in place to encourage activity. This includes subject specialists, who are a necessary part of any decision-making (such as finance, HR, estates and ICT). The strategic change board ratifies and oversees all agreed changes. The strategic leads board has representation from staff associations and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), as well as the force’s senior management. The force has a clear focus on savings and recognises that the change programme will need to generate cashable savings over the coming years. The force has developed a business benefits management framework where the benefits expected from a change programme are quantified, monitored and reported on.

The force has underspent in recent years. It now has an improved understanding of its reserves and investment decisions. The new recruitment project is an example of this. But the force doesn’t yet have a consistent track record of demonstrating reinvestment of savings or understanding efficiency gains in priority areas. Current leaders need to scrutinise the expected benefits of investment and make sure it achieves them. Although the force has several years of planned spending from its reserves, we were pleased to see that the focus on savings is now active.

Working with others

Humberside Police is willing to work with others. We saw examples of its work with universities and the College of Policing to improve its understanding of issues such as vulnerability and stop and search. The force works with neighbouring police forces, the region and other partners such as the fire and rescue service and the NHS. This includes the day-to-day provision of services as well as managing assets such as the combined estates work and fleet services with the fire service. The force understands the benefits of this joint work. It has shown that it is willing to take action if it is not achieving the expected benefits.

We saw how the MASHs (where police are co-located with social services, housing and education) bring together the right people to address vulnerability in the most efficient way. In addition, the force facilitates MARAC meetings for the most vulnerable domestic abuse cases, to share information with partners such as health, local authority and social care. Domestic violence is a significant focus for the force, reflecting its nationwide priority. This investment in resourcing demonstrates the force’s commitment to prioritising its response to vulnerability. 

Using technology

Humberside Police has made significant investments in ICT systems that bring clear benefits for victims and itself. These include:

  • body-worn video cameras – to secure prompt evidence at scenes, enhance golden-hour enquiries and support victims of crime;
  • data examination kiosks – to increase productivity, secure evidence promptly and reduce backlogs of digital equipment examinations;
  • mobile working solutions – to maximise efficiency by allowing officers to remain visible on patrol and have data available to them away from stations; and
  • ICT infrastructure and software solutions throughout the force.

Investments have resulted in savings of £6m per year. The deputy chief constable’s digital board oversees these investments. There is also a digital implementation co-ordinator post.

We found many good uses of IT in analytical systems, such as predictive modelling and in demand forecasts.

A new ICT strategy is being prepared for the force to look at future innovation. Humberside Police has had mobile devices for many years and is currently developing options to move to a more up-to-date system. It is pleasing that the force consults its workforce on these decisions and involves them in developments. We saw detectives assisting in mobile working trials.

Humberside Police has a new cyber-crime strategy. It works with regional assets to access specialist cyber skills. The force recognises the need to make progress, as its cyber team has limited capacity. The force has a desire to improve its online crime and fraud capabilities for the public.

Summary for question 1
2

How well does the force plan for the future?

Good

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

Humberside Police uses demand data, trends and evidence-based modelling tools to predict future demand. A dedicated team manages the demand model. The team uses past data to regularly check their assumptions are correct. Chief officers oversee this work. It informed the new shift pattern, which the force designed to meet future demand.

The force has made a significant investment in the future management of demand, through the recruitment of over 400 new officers. It also assesses demands that are more hidden and less easy to quantify and adapts services and resources to meet them. The force works with academia to develop demand-reducing initiatives, such as researching missing persons trends.

We saw examples of technological improvements that provide more efficient working methods. These include body-worn video cameras and mobile phone kiosks. The force is also developing a plan to replace outdated handheld devices, to assist with more agile working for its officers. Chief officers are focusing on improving how the force deals with the increasing volume of online frauds. The force identified emerging demands in future command training. It has invested in a new hydra-suite for immersive online training to ensure it has a command training facility for the future. This suite is also suitable for the fire and rescue and ambulance services.

Understanding public expectations

Public engagement takes place in various ways. This includes through local policing teams, local engagement officers employed by the PCC and media initiatives. The consistent theme used to encourage this communication with communities is ‘Humber talking’. The force has an ambitious plan to visit over 400,000 homes in Humberside for wider consultation. This consultation uses a digital survey to provide instant feedback. The force has developed this survey in consultation with academia. The force also invites representatives from local community groups to training days, to give input on community needs and expectations.

The current recruitment drive is enabling the force to attract new skills and to identify people with aptitude at an early stage: for instance, for detective work or social media investigation. The force makes use of special constables’ day-job skills when appropriate. It has developed new channels to interact with the public. The public-facing website is easy to use and includes the ability for online crime-recording.

Prioritising

Humberside Police has now developed a plan on a page, which sets out the strategic priorities under five headings:

  • connected – delivering the right services through understanding demand, collaborating, and being accessible and engaging;
  • communities – making them safe and stronger;
  • people – having and developing the right people and making the force a great place to work;
  • resources – improving processes, planning, technology and decision-making; and
  • culture, values and behaviours – creating a working environment where people are empowered, valued, trusted and optimistic.

The plan is focused, clear and visibly branded throughout the force. The chief constable meets with supervisors at pledge events, where he gives a commitment to his role in the plan in return for their commitment to the future of the force. The force has aligned its local plans to its corporate plan, with resources allocated to these priorities.

The PCC has agreed the use of financial reserves to fund the recruitment drive and has increased the council tax precept to fund more officers. This is to build the force for the future and to be able to meet public demand and expectations. The force has also set £1m aside to fund its digital strategy, to be funded from contingencies, reserves and additional savings.

Future workforce

Humberside Police has developed a comprehensive workforce plan. This focuses on demand and recognises the skills of the workforce and the gaps it needs to meet. The force has developed learning and development plans to meet the gaps. These plans should improve the way the force operates. The force will give new recruits the skills they need to fully meet its future demand from the outset, such as PIP level one and level three public order training.

The chief constable leads on holding group meetings with sergeants and inspectors to communicate in person expectations, direction and support. These have proved very popular with supervisors in instilling confidence in the leadership of the force.

The force has started an ambitious programme of recruitment that will see police officer numbers increase by 25 percent compared with 2017. The force makes good use of external recruitment at all levels: it has appointed senior police officers and staff leaders externally; 35 transferees have been welcomed into the force; two intakes of Police Now graduates; and 400 new recruits will have joined by December 2018. The net growth in this period was 203 officers. To increase workforce diversity the force has:

  • targeted recruitment campaigns;
  • promotion and development of women in policing events;
  • female leaders in the force using social media and LinkedIn accounts to promote diversity of roles and applications;
  • tailored language in adverts and communications to attract applications; and
  • additional support for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates, or those with disabilities, for all recruitment processes.

Finance plans

Following its 2010 consultation about revaluing public-sector pensions, the government announced, in 2016 and 2018, reductions in the discount rate it uses to set contribution rates for the unfunded public service pension schemes. These include the police service pension scheme. A lower discount rate will result in higher contribution rates for the employer. The official notification of a lower rate in September 2018 did not allow PCCs time to include the effect of this in their financial planning. In December 2018, the government announced a pension grant for 2019/20 for each PCC. It allocated funding to each force to specifically help the police pay for these increased costs in the next year. PCCs must now plan for how they will finance the increased costs in the following years, assessing the effect on their officer numbers and their ability to provide effective and efficient services.

Humberside Police had underspent on its budget for several years. It has held surpluses in reserves, with no plan in place to make use of the accumulated funds. The force has now improved its knowledge and understanding of its financial position and is using the funds to improve service provision. With the support of the PCC, the force has recruited to its full establishment and has agreed a further increase in police officer numbers funded from reserves. This is well co-ordinated, with HR, finance, business change and learning and development working together to manage it properly.

Finance plans include precept growth, surpluses and earmarked reserves. The force and the PCC recognise that funding officers from reserves is not sustainable in the long term. The force will need to find recurring savings of between £13m and £17m by 2023. It has agreed a plan for efficiency savings that will retain an appropriate level of reserves and ensure that it can maintain improved performance.

A programme of reviews is in progress to achieve these savings. The strategic change board oversees this and the PCC monitors it through six-weekly reporting. There is a clear commitment to achieving both cashable and non-cashable savings. The force has developed a benefits realisation strategy and all cashable savings identified feed into the savings plan.

Making the savings is essential to maintaining the progress the force is making and we will monitor this over the coming years. 

Leadership and workforce development

To develop the skills and experience needed for the future, the force is open to recruiting externally. In recent months it has appointed several senior leaders to both police and staff posts. The force has taken direct-entry inspectors, candidates from Police Now, and transferees from other forces. Succession planning has taken place for senior officer and staff equivalent posts. The force produces a quarterly report that identifies all the anticipated retirements as well as planned recruitment and promotion processes. A resourcing meeting takes place fortnightly to manage staffing changes in real time.

The force has developed a talent grid. This highlights members of the workforce who have high performance on their performance development review and high potential on their talent grid. The force supports those identified with coaching, specialist input and access to development opportunities. We found examples of the force developing its workforce, such as with promotion mentoring, wildlife training, achieving best evidence training, or as a mental health point of contact. The force recognises that it has a shortage of detectives and, as part of the current recruitment programme, is identifying people who may have the skills, aptitude and ambition to move into detective roles quickly. The force focuses on increasing diversity and provides all candidates with a BAME background, or those with a disability, with additional support.

Ambition to improve

The recruitment drive is ambitious and challenging to manage, but is providing a substantial increase in police officer numbers. This is well co-ordinated. The plan initially aims to improve visibility; then it aims to improve performance across the board over the longer term as officers can then move into specific areas of demand. This increase in officers should allow the force to change at the pace it desires.

The force has audited the skills of its police officers and knows the gaps it needs to fill. It has developed a workforce plan that identifies the recruitment, promotion and development required to meet future service provision. The force is funding and managing these plans effectively. It is keen to work with other organisations if it brings a clear benefit. The force is prepared to alter plans based on evaluation if partnerships are not producing results as expected.

Humberside Police is currently funding its plans through use of its substantial reserves, but it recognises that savings are required to sustain the plan. It is reviewing services under the governance of a change board and the PCC, with cashable savings feeding into the savings plans. While there is a considerable amount of work to do to identify and make savings of between £13m and £17m by 2023, the force has time to develop its plans.

We found Humberside Police to be outward-looking, prepared to share services and to learn from others. It is ambitious in its plans to provide a high-quality policing service. We saw evidence of planned investment in large-scale ICT and digital changes and many examples of work with academia to improve results. The assumptions in the force’s plans are realistic and agreed with the PCC. The financial forecast is sensible and in line with workforce plans.

Summary for question 2