Lincolnshire PEEL 2018
How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?
Lincolnshire Police operates efficiently given the level of funding it receives. It is one of the lowest funded forces per head of population in England and Wales.
Its financial situation, awaiting the review of the police funding formula, impacts on its ability to plan with any certainty. Because of this, the force focuses on the present rather than the future.
The force is good at meeting current demands and using resources. Its improvement programme is finding better ways of working. This includes more joint working to reduce demand.
The force needs to continue to improve how it plans for the future. In our 2017 inspection, we identified that the force lacked clear financial plans for the future. The force now has credible financial plans. It invests in ‘spend to save’ projects. These will help it free up capacity and funds that can be used in other areas.
The force is getting better at understanding the skills of its workforce and how much its services cost. But it needs to understand what skills it will need in the future and link workforce capabilities to financial plans. The force is trying to attract new talent through external recruitment. It is developing the skills of its leaders but needs to find more ways to identify and develop talent in its workforce.
How well does the force use its resources to meet the demand it faces?
Lincolnshire Police is a small force with few resources. It has a culture of providing value for money. It uses various methods to understand demand, including hidden demand. It is working with other organisations to improve this.
The force understands its demand better since our last inspection. It continues to develop systems to reduce demand and make the most of its resources. The force needs to do this as it is one of the lowest funded.
The force knows that improving efficiency can reduce demand. It willingly tries new approaches, including using technology more effectively. It improves its IT by using the experience of officers and staff. This helps the force offer a better service to the public.
Lincolnshire Police makes good investments. It has evidence to show this. These include making it easier for officers to collect and upload data without returning to the police station. The force records all improvements. It funds them using reserves, which are linked to its efficiency plans.
The force is getting better at understanding the skills of its workforce and how much its services cost. But it needs to better understand what skills it will need in the future.
Areas for improvement
- The force should complete its leadership skills audit that will allow it to understand leadership capacity and capability, to identify any gaps and put plans in place to address them.
How well does the force plan for the future?
Lincolnshire Police needs to improve how it plans for the future. It is getting better at assessing future demand. But it needs to understand how demand is changing. Its financial situation, awaiting the review of the police funding formula, impacts on its ability to plan with any certainty. Because of this, the force focuses on the present rather than the future.
The force’s finance plans are realistic. They are based on sound methods and challenged by experts. This is good and an improvement since our last inspection. But plans don’t outline the impact on reducing public service, as the force still needs to cut officer numbers to meet the budget.
The force’s understanding of what the public expects from it is improving. It uses various methods to find out what the public thinks. This will get even better with the renewed focus on neighbourhood policing. It is also improving the way it interacts with the public online. Analysing this communication will help the force adapt to future demand.
It still needs to get better at identifying the capabilities of its workforce. It is developing the skills of its leaders. But it needs to find more ways to identify and develop talent.
The force works with other emergency services and public sector organisations on various initiatives. It is committed to improving, and providing the most effective and cost-efficient service it can.
Areas for improvement
- The force should develop its workforce plans to identify fully its future workforce capabilities and improve analysis of future demand. This will ensure that the force’s medium to long-term plan is aligned effectively and efficiently to future demand.
- The force should develop a comprehensive skills strategy to identify what future capabilities its workforce will need, to identify any gaps in meeting future requirements, put plans in place to address these, and carry these out.