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Nottinghamshire PEEL 2018

Efficiency

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

Last updated 01/05/2019
Requires improvement

Nottinghamshire Police needs to improve how efficiently it operates and the sustainability of its services to the public.

It needs to improve how it meets current demands and uses its resources and how it plans for the future.

The force needs to get a better understanding of demand. It is getting better at assessing future demand, but needs to understand how demand is changing. It also needs to use more partnership data for this. It works with a range of organisations, which helps them all use their resources more effectively and provide better services. But it needs to understand the effect that pressures on other organisations have on its own demand. It has decided to come out of one collaboration, but it isn’t clear if this is a good decision. The force needs to review its systems to make sure they don’t accidentally hide demand or introduce delays. Planned recruitment of more officers will help it manage demand.

The force has good financial plans. It has linked these to its workforce plan and the priorities of the police and crime commissioner (PCC). It willingly tries new approaches. The new neighbourhood-based force structure will make police officers more visible and help with partnership working. The force should have a plan for using ICT to support its needs. It should check that it is getting the benefits of changes it makes and ensure it monitors how it reinvests savings. 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. 

Questions for Efficiency

1

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

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that its prioritisation and allocation of demand takes full account of the risks of inadvertently suppressing demand. The force should make sure it is fully aware of officer and staff workload allocating incidents and deploying resource. The force needs to better understand how pressures placed on other organisations influences its current demand.
  • The force should ensure that its new governance arrangements for managing current and future demand track benefits, including how it has reinvested savings.
  • The force should undertake appropriate activities to understand fully its workforce’s capabilities, identify any gaps, and put plans in place to address these gaps.

Assessing current demand

Nottinghamshire Police needs to understand the demand for its services better. The force relies mainly on its own data from force records, and analyses it to understand fluctuations and trends in demand. The force has good links with other public sector organisations (for example, adult and child safeguarding services) and has started to analyse shared data. It could broaden its understanding further by regular analysis of a wider range of data from other organisations. It needs to do more work to have a complete understanding of current demand. The demand analysis work in 2017 was thorough, but focused entirely on responsive demand which did not consider differing types of police work. The force recognises this. It has trained its business improvement team to use the demand-analysis mapping tools to extend this work to include demand across the whole organisation.

The force continues to work with its partner organisations and victims to improve its understanding of demand that is less obvious. This includes domestic abuse, child exploitation and modern slavery. The force is experiencing an increase in modern slavery offences. It has responded positively by establishing a human trafficking multi-agency partnership board. It has also invested in a dedicated team to lead on investigations. The team’s remit is to improve awareness, prevent offences occurring and co-ordinate intervention. This means that the force is more likely to provide victims with a better service in this area.

The force can reallocate resources to deal with operational pressures. It has recently introduced police officers into the force control room. This is to help it identify the right response at the first point of contact. It can then move resources across the force area when necessary, to manage demand better. However, there are occasions where the force can’t cope with the demand for service. This is particularly the case in the control room and incident management team. This is leading to policing being more reactive than proactive. Control room staff told us they couldn’t always identify officers to attend incidents. Many officers spoke of unrelenting demand and the difficulties of prioritising equally important areas of work such as incident attendance and crime investigation. In response, the force intends to deploy some of its 80 additional police officers to create some capacity in responding and ease this pressure. Once these officers are operational, the force will assign them to uniformed response, neighbourhood and public protection investigation teams.

Understanding factors that influence demand

The force is getting better at understanding how efficient working practices can reduce demand and make better use of scarce resources. The chief officer team has invested in resources to support the control room. This is to help staff record crime accurately within national guidance, to prevent duplication and repetition later in the process. This approach makes sure the force complies with crime recording requirements and provides an effective service to the public of Nottinghamshire. The force has recently given its two assistant chief constables responsibility for ‘current demand’ and ‘future demand’. This is to develop its understanding further.

Senior leaders have recognised the need to improve oversight and co-ordination of the force’s change processes. The deputy chief constable (DCC) has recently established the ‘futures’ programme board. This is to ensure that the change programme proceeds on time, to budget and to the standard required. The force acknowledges that it could develop how well it actively identifies inefficiencies as part of its everyday work. The annual departmental assessment process features the removal of duplication and reduction of waste as important elements. However, eliminating waste isn’t integral to its workforce’s routine way of thinking. Officers and staff we spoke to weren’t able to provide examples of how the force had used their ideas to find better ways of working. They also couldn’t describe the process they would follow if they wanted to do so.

At present, the force can’t always be confident that its systems aren’t suppressing or understating demand by accident. Its management of lower-risk incidents poses a risk of this. The contact resolution and incident management unit streamlines the work within the control room. They allocate some incidents to a scheduled appointments team (diary car) for later attendance. Local policing supervisors oversee these appointments alongside other demands. We found that this recent change in working practices has resulted in delays in progressing appointments.

The force is aware of these problems. In our 2017 efficiency report, we said it should make sure the way it prioritises and allocates demand appropriately mitigates risks. Although there has been some progress since last year, this is still an area for improvement and there remains more work to do.

Working with others to meet demand

Nottinghamshire Police shows it is willing to work with other organisations to make best use of resources and provide a better service to the public. It has a good record of well-established joint working across a range of partnerships and collaborations, with other police forces and with local partners. For example, with the NHS, the arrangements for mental health triage have led to people with mental health concerns getting better access to the help they need. There are innovative examples of the force working with local authorities in joint problem-solving patrols with council community protection teams. These teams engage with communities and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.

The force is part of the five-force East Midlands collaboration of forensic services. This involves Nottinghamshire Police, Derbyshire Constabulary, Lincolnshire Police, Leicestershire Police and Northamptonshire Police. The collaboration provides several services, such as a fingerprint bureau, from a purpose-built facility. This approach has benefited the forces across a range of areas. It has improved efficiency and reduced costs through a restructure of crime scene investigators (CSIs) and through a new contract for an external forensic service provider. Nottinghamshire Police performs well: it detects 11 percent of all crime attended by a CSI. This is the highest percentage across all five regional forces.

Nottinghamshire Police has withdrawn from the East Midlands collaboration, which covered operational support services. During our inspection in September 2018, we did not find evidence to indicate that the force reviewed the potential effect of its decision on the other forces in the collaboration, in terms of its long-term viability. The force states that it now has greater control over its own specialist operational assets, but it is too early to say that performance and value for money is better. We will continue to monitor as the force evaluates the benefits of withdrawing from this collaboration.

The development of community safety hubs across the force has strengthened local partnership work. Officers and staff from partner organisations, such as local authorities, work together in the same office space to better manage demand. Examples include Mansfield and Byron House in Nottingham city centre. The approach taken by the force has improved the way in which it provides services to the public. The community safety hubs are part of the response by the force and its partners to cuts in public sector funding. They provide an effective way for local policing teams to work with partners, joining forces to provide a better service to the public in a cost-effective way.

Despite reductions in partner contributions, the force has made constructive efforts to maintain its early intervention work to manage future demand. For example, it has recognised the value of intervening at an early stage with children and young people to prevent them from getting involved in crime and anti-social behaviour. It has prioritised the investment of early intervention police officers in all secondary schools. This shows that the force will take measures to help reduce the negative consequences of austerity and increased demand across all sectors of the public services.

Innovation and new opportunities

The force seeks out innovation and new opportunities for service improvement. Examples include:

  • the introduction of new officers following initial training direct into public protection areas of work to alleviate demand; and
  • the creation of a child sexual exploitation disruption team, which uses special constables to safeguard potential victims, patrol well-known areas, and target perpetrators.

Leaders in Nottinghamshire Police listen to the workforce and encourage ideas and suggestions. The force encourages officers to put forward ideas, for example to improve wellbeing. However, officers and staff told us they weren’t sure whether the scheme was still operating. The force may wish to re-invigorate and publicise the scheme.

The force works with academia to look for new ideas and best practice. It is working with Nottingham Trent University to better understand why it records a higher number of alcohol-related incidents, 101 and 999 calls compared with the England and Wales average. It is awaiting the outcome of this work. Previous academic studies focused on the behaviour of repeat callers and the demand created by mental health-related work.

Investment and benefits

In our 2017 efficiency report, we said the force should strengthen its governance processes to help it understand and achieve the benefits of change programmes. It has made some progress in addressing this and has evaluated some of the change projects.

Those it has evaluated include an assessment of the outcomes and the savings anticipated. It has commissioned the University of Derby to independently evaluate the benefits of the force’s implementation of body-worn video cameras. This is due by the end of 2018. However, the force still hasn’t evaluated the benefits of all its improvement projects and investments. This means it can’t yet assure itself that it is achieving the expected benefits. For example, it has made a significant investment in providing mobile data terminals for frontline staff. These handheld devices record, send and receive police information, such as stop and search forms. To date, the force is unable to provide comprehensive details on the cashable savings achieved by changes such as improved officer productivity.

Overall, the force can demonstrate some financial and non-financial benefits from some of its change projects and expects to be able to do more of this in the coming months. This will include the recently agreed replacement command and control system, SAFE (situational awareness for enhanced security), which aims to increase efficiency by improving the ways the public can contact police, and how the force manages its resources and dispatches officers and staff. The DCC has established improved oversight processes to support this.

Prioritising different types of demand

For the most part, Nottinghamshire Police prioritises its activity based on its limited understanding of demand supported by local priorities, national requirements and public expectations. It has done some work to better understand the skills and capabilities it needs now and in the future, but is still developing this work.

There are occasions when the force struggles to meet the demand it faces in important areas such as crime investigation and incident management. It designates a senior officer to assess demand and operational pressures on a 24-hour basis. This officer has the authority to direct officers to be deployed anywhere across the force to manage high-profile incidents or exceptional demand. Should incident queues in the control room build up to unacceptable levels the force can and does deploy officers from all areas of the force to clear these backlogs. Supervisors in the control room monitor incidents and will re-grade them if the circumstances change and this is required. Dispatchers constantly assess incidents that are awaiting officer attendance. It is clear that staff in the control room focus on keeping victims safe and they work hard to achieve this.

The force developed a new neighbourhood-policing model, following detailed analysis of response demand. It introduced the new model in April 2018. The force has an established approach to understanding local demand, which uses numbers of incidents, crimes and anti-social behaviour to determine the level of resources allocated. Building on this method, it included crime-severity considerations to differentiate between visible crime, such as criminal damage, and hidden crime, such as sexual offences. It has allocated its resources according to this analysis. This ensures that there is the right level of resource across neighbourhood policing, to have the greatest effect on all crime.

Assigning resources to demand and understanding their costs

The force is continuing to develop its understanding of the costs of its services. During 2017, the chief officer team introduced an annual priority-based budgeting exercise led by departmental leads. This helps the force to vary resourcing levels by understanding the effect this has on the service it provides. It enhances this process by analysing specific areas in more detail, known as ‘deep dive’ reviews.

During 2016/17, the number of police officers and staff leaving the organisation was higher than expected. This resulted in the force achieving its savings target as well as underspending its budget. However, the reduction led to significant pressures on uniformed response and neighbourhood teams. In March 2017, the chief constable decided to restart the recruitment of officers, as future police funding was more stable. The PCC increased the council tax precept for policing in 2018/19, which allowed the force to increase its officer numbers from 1,860 to 1,940. The force management board oversees this increase and the overall movement of officers and staff from one part of the force to another. Chief officers chair this board, which decides where best to distribute resources across the force, in order to maintain performance. This means that the force can be sure it is using its resources in line with its priorities.

Nottinghamshire Police recorded an 11 percent increase in recorded crime in the year to 30 September 2018, compared to the year to 30 September 2017. The force is managing this by dealing with more investigations via desktop review. For the 12 months to 30 September 2018, it completed 52 percent of its crime investigations entirely over the phone. This is above the England and Wales rate of 37 percent. The force uses the THRIVE process to assess the type of response required, before allocating incidents for telephone resolution. We assessed several of its telephone investigations and found that they were an appropriate response. The investigations themselves were of a good quality.

Workforce capabilities

In our 2017 efficiency report, we said that Nottinghamshire Police needed to understand fully its workforce’s capabilities, to identify any gaps, and put plans in place to address them. It has made progress in addressing this, but there is room for improvement.

The force has a limited but improving understanding of the skills it needs. It doesn’t yet have a full understanding of the skills of its workforce or its leaders, beyond tactical and operational elements such as officer safety and driver training. It doesn’t understand how the skills needed will change in the future. The force acknowledges that its understanding isn’t yet sophisticated enough to make sure it is making the best use of the skills its workforce has. For example, it could make better use of the skills that graduates bring to the organisation, such as strong ICT, language or social media marketing skills.

This means the force can’t fully identify the skills gaps that it needs to fill, through either recruitment or training. It has formed a strategic workforce planning and training priorities panel to progress this. There has been no effort to record wider skills or character traits that the force could better use, or academic qualifications and transferable skills from prior occupations.

The force works closely with academic institutions. In partnership with Nottingham University, it has created a leadership development programme, investing in the development of first and second-line supervisors. It identified that it had focused its previous supervisor courses on what supervisors need to do rather than how they should do it. The leadership programme consists of a number of courses over the next 18 months and includes coaching, mentoring and 360-degree feedback. The force runs the course at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service premises to ensure there is a complete break from the workplace. The force is working to embed its ‘PROUD’ values in all staff:

  • professionalism;
  • respect;
  • one team;
  • utmost integrity; and
  • doing things differently.

This is supported though a training programme and a leadership library on the intranet. The approach seeks to provide supervisors with the skills to manage staff development effectively.

More efficient ways of working

The force shows that it is committed to finding ways of working that are more efficient, while at the same time improving services. It is doing this through better use of technology and by collaborating closely with other forces and organisations. However, we found that the force could improve its approach to ICT development by having a clearer vison and direction.

Nottinghamshire Police doesn’t currently have an ICT plan. The force recognises this is a weakness and that it needs to provide greater clarity, leadership and direction for how it will use ICT to support its vision and objectives. The DCC has now assumed overall responsibility for ICT and chairs the force ICT board. This board has identified common areas for improvement and development, which it is progressing. Senior officers acknowledge that where the force has invested in ICT, it isn’t clear how it will monitor and measure the benefits. The introduction of portable devices means that frontline staff now have instant access to information to assist operational policing and back-office support. However, we spoke to officers and staff working in public protection departments who said the force hadn’t issued them with portable devices and they were uncertain whether this would happen.

We are satisfied that the force now has a credible medium-term financial plan (MTFP). Financial planning has continued to improve and it aligns with the workforce model of 1,940 officers. The force has greater rigour in financial controls and HR. Improved financial management helped it achieve £5.5m in savings in 2017/18. It is expecting to underspend its budget by £2.3m this year, due to the faster-than-anticipated number of people leaving the organisation. This will mean that it can replenish its reserves quicker than originally thought. There is no plan to use reserves to support the force’s day-to-day running costs in 2018/19. The force anticipates that it will return all of the £10.1m required to its reserves over the medium term. It expects that its annual departmental reviews will make sure it manages its spending in line with income, achieves the required efficiencies and replenishes its reserves by 2021/22.

Working with others

The force continues to demonstrate its commitment to joint working and collaborates where it is in the interests of the people of Nottinghamshire. It has arrangements with local authorities, the fire service and academia, but it could still strengthen its approach. Its ability to track savings from collaborative projects is improving and they feature in the MTFP.

There are two MASHs in the force: one covering Nottinghamshire County Council area and the other in Nottingham City Council’s area. Both have effective safeguarding and referral processes, and well-developed working relationships built on mutual trust. The force is due to assess its approach to mental health, including the triage car, in the coming months. Professionals value the triage arrangements, which are providing a good service for those in mental health crisis as well as good value for money.

Using technology

Nottinghamshire Police is getting better at understanding how technology can benefit both policing and criminals. It is using this knowledge to guide its plans and investments. Examples include issuing mobile data tablets to help officers complete work while out of the police station, increasing their time on visible patrol. Similarly, its roll-out of body-worn video cameras has improved the quality of evidence gathered by officers, leading to better results for victims.

Summary for question 1
2

How well does the force plan for the future?

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • To enable the force to effectively manage current and future demand it the force should ensure that its ICT planning is closely aligned with its future plans and wider change programmes, so it can effectively manage current and future demand.
  • The force should develop its workforce plans to identify more fully what future capabilities its workforce will need, and improve its analysis of future demand. This will ensure that the force’s medium to long-term plan is aligned effectively and efficiently with future demand.

Assessing future demand for services

Nottinghamshire Police is getting better at assessing future demand for its services, though there is room for improvement. The force has taken steps to examine the factors that affect demand in its area. For example, it analyses control room and response policing demand, and uses demand-modelling software. However, this isn’t part of a wider programme that identifies and analyses trends to build an understanding of how demand continues to evolve across the whole organisation. Nor does it fully explore the way crime is changing and the scale of increasing demand from less obvious crime types, such as modern slavery and human trafficking. Similarly, although the force works well with local organisations to develop a broader understanding of areas such as the revised profile of domestic abuse, it doesn’t make full use of data to inform its understanding of future demand. This limits its ability to plan. It means that the force can’t be certain that its financial, workforce, and training and development plans are sufficient to help it manage future demand. The force has already identified that it needs to improve its understanding of future demand from all sources. It is developing its approaches, including allocating responsibility for future demand to an assistant chief constable.

The force recognises that its ICT capacity isn’t sufficient to support its needs well. The use of ICT, and its plans to use ICT to improve efficiency, are both currently under-developed. The force says it has a ‘work anywhere’ ethos, but there has been limited progress beyond issuing personal laptops to officers and staff and making body-worn video available to all officers. It isn’t clear how ambitious the force is in this respect, or whether there have been any measurable improvements in efficiency through ICT to date.

The force had been exploring ambitious plans to pool its ICT resources as part of a wider tri-force arrangement with Northamptonshire Police and Leicestershire Police. But these plans haven’t been progressed. The force hasn’t linked ICT planning to its corporate planning arrangements and hadn’t considered it as part of the change board until very recently. However, it has recognised that it needs to improve and ensure that it aligns its ICT planning with its wider change programme and future plans. The DCC has taken responsibility for this area. ICT is included within the remit of the new futures board and the force is developing an ICT strategy.

Understanding public expectations

The force has a broad understanding of what the public expects of it and is trying to improve its understanding of who lives in the force area. This will help it better target its media crime prevention releases. It hasn’t conducted any specific work to understand public expectations. But it plans to make use of the results of the PCC’s survey to improve its understanding of the public’s perception of crime across Nottinghamshire. The PCC surveyed 4,403 people between August 2017 and June 2018, using an independent research agency. This survey will continue running until 2021.

The recent force restructure reflected the public’s expectations of more visible policing. The model brings together the primary policing services of neighbourhoods, response, CID and intelligence in each local area. This is to assist with locally based collaborative working and information sharing. The force expects that having a locally based investigative capability will mean it can react more quickly to local trends. It should also lead to improved information sharing. However, it isn’t clear how well the force understands what benefits it has achieved so far. The force told us it intended to review its organisational benefits plan on 1 April 2019. But this doesn’t contain many measurements that it can quantify. Instead, the force measures the expected benefits by qualitative, observable or professional assessment.

Despite the local authority reducing how much it spends on community safety, the force continues to prioritise the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour. It invests in schools liaison officers who are responsible for preventing and reducing offending by young people. They also focus on increasing the visibility and legitimacy of policing for young people. Nottingham Trent University will evaluate this initiative and provide the force with an update on the benefits and outcomes.

The force has recruited two specialist media interns. Their job is to investigate and work with communication methods for the changing age profile of the public used by criminals as well as the wider public. This shows the force is willing and prepared to change its service to meet changing public expectations. However, it acknowledges that further work is required to engage with the public to gain a more comprehensive understanding of what they want from their police service.

Prioritising

The PCC’s police and crime plan 2018–21 sets clear priorities. The new policing restructure aligns to the needs of both the public as well as partner organisations. The force has costed this over the medium term and doesn’t intend to use reserves other than for planned infrastructure investments.

The new operating model puts neighbourhood policing at its centre. The force intends that increasing the number of response bases from 11 to 20 will ensure response officers are locally based and visible in their communities. There is some evidence that the force has realigned its resources to its priorities. For example, it has invested in a human trafficking team and a knife crime team, and is using police graduate students in safeguarding roles.

The force has thoroughly reviewed current demand across response and contact management. It is aware that it has less understanding of demand outside these areas, and less understanding of potential future demand. It intends that the additional police officer numbers will address growing demand and satisfy public expectation for increased visibility in neighbourhoods and faster response times.

Future workforce

In our 2017 efficiency report, we suggested the force should develop its workforce plans to identify its future workforce capabilities and align these with its financial plan. This remains an area for improvement. The force’s HR capacity is not always sufficient for its needs. It hasn’t been able to support comprehensive workforce planning and development well enough. The force focuses workforce planning on police officer headcount rather than the skills, rank mix and capabilities needed to manage future demand. It also doesn’t adequately address police staff.

The force hasn’t carried out a comprehensive analysis of workforce skills and capabilities. It has a good understanding of professional and operational capabilities, but this is limited to tactical skills and doesn’t include leadership, management or softer skills. It realises this and is developing a new people strategy.

The force is making good use of external recruitment. It supports the direct entry scheme, but has not yet found any suitable candidates. Its graduate police investigation officer (PIO) training scheme is a positive step and it assigns PIOs to public protection high-harm areas. But very few of the recent PIOs have stayed with the force at the end of their training; they have either moved on to better-paid roles in the private sector or other roles within the force. The police constable degree apprenticeship (PCDA) scheme is an innovative approach to broaden the appeal of policing. It has good potential to attract a more diverse workforce as well as being a cost-effective means of recruiting and training the officers of the future. We will watch with interest as this new scheme develops.

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 in September 2018 of a lower rate did not allow PCCs time to include the impact in their financial planning. In December 2018, the government announced a pension grant for 2019/20 for each PCC. It allocated funding to forces to specifically help the police pay for these increased costs in the next year. PCCs must now plan how they will finance the increased costs in the following years, assessing the impact on their officer numbers and their ability to provide effective and efficient services.

Nottinghamshire Police’s financial plans are realistic and built on sound assumptions. We found that the force now has a credible MTFP. The force has improved the quality and rigour of its financial planning, following serious shortcomings that led to it using £9.4m of reserves to pay for an unexpected overspend in 2015/16. There is now a clear link between the PCC’s plan, the force’s MTFP and workforce planning. Through closer financial monitoring and controls, the force has recognised that its support service costs aren’t achieving expected value for money in some areas, for example, its private finance initiative fleet contract. It is taking a more determined approach to improving performance and efficiency. It is proactively renegotiating contracts to reduce costs and impose performance penalty costs where appropriate. However, the fact remains that there are areas of non-staff spending that are inefficient.

The force is predicting a balanced budget each year throughout this MTFP (until 2021/22). In addition, it is saving more money than it needs each year, to replace the reserves it used. It is maintaining its general reserve at just above 3 percent of net revenue expenditure, which is comparatively low. However, the recent improvements in financial management, along with increases in precept income, mean that it can control overspending and mitigate risks by reducing police officer and staff recruitment. We judge that its method of identifying and securing finances is sound.

The force has focused its capital programme on the policing priorities. It has plans to invest in modern fit-for-purpose buildings. Work has begun on a new custody suite that will replace the existing Bridewell facility. The force also plans to develop its headquarters building, investing in a training and development provision and a new force control room. Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service has recently agreed to the development of a detailed design and costings programme leading to a joint police and fire service headquarters. The capital programme is realistic. It contains an element of risk, but should serve the force well into the future.

Leadership and workforce development

The force recognises the need to attract and retain future leaders and specialist talent. However, there has been a strong focus on recruiting to increase numbers, rather than workforce capabilities. The recent recruitment exercise was an opportunity to ensure the force attracted the skills and capabilities it needed. But the force didn’t fully exploit this, due to incomplete workforce capability plans. It recognises that it must understand what skills and capabilities it needs now and in the future. It maintains oversight through the strategic workforce planning and training priorities panel.

The force does not have many arrangements in place to help it formally identify and nurture talent, either externally or internally. Officers and staff we spoke to said that opportunities for professional development, such as attachments to other departments, are limited, especially for police staff. The force doesn’t have a co-ordinated talent management programme, other than national schemes such as Fast Track. It continues to support the direct entry scheme, but hasn’t found any suitable candidates in the last two years. Encouragingly, it has introduced an annual police officer promotion process, which allows individuals to plan how and when to collate their evidence. The force supports them in doing this and the workforce views this approach positively. The recent superintendent promotion process was advertised nationally and resulted in external candidates being appointed.

In our 2017 effectiveness report, we said that the force should better understand the capacity and capability of its leaders. Working with Coventry University, the force has invested in a new leadership programme. This is for first and second-line supervisors of officers and staff. The programme consists of coaching, mentoring and 360-degree feedback. The force hopes that the programme will provide a clear framework that will help it develop the capability of its leaders.

Ambition to improve

Nottinghamshire Police’s plans to improve the service offered to the public are realistic and built on sound assumptions. The annual directorate assessment process is now in its second year and forms the basis of the force’s savings and change plans. This helps senior managers take a systematic and robust overview of all areas of spending. The process involves independent scrutineers and police leaders. It relies on senior managers identifying emerging growth within their own service areas, areas requiring additional investment, and areas where they can make savings. This is a commendable approach and provides the leadership team with a good insight into individual service problems and opportunities.

However, it isn’t clear how far this enables the force to adopt an organisation-wide approach. There is a risk that leaders will plan piecemeal changes without an overarching strategy, which may mean that the force may miss opportunities that could benefit more than one department. It could also mean that it doesn’t recognise the full effect of savings and interdependencies. Senior officers have identified this potential gap and developed the new futures board as a way of overcoming this risk. The force has made sure that the necessary resources are in place to help it achieve change. Due to the need to replenish rather than draw on reserves, it doesn’t have as many opportunities to invest in innovation. Once the reserves levels are more secure, there will be more possibilities for investment.

The force understands the benefits of joint working and is involved in a range of collaborations across the East Midlands region. These include:

  • East Midlands special operations unit (EMSOU), which provides forensics, serious organised crime, major crime, intelligence and counter-terrorism services;
  • East Midlands police legal services (EMPLS); and
  • East Midlands collaborative HR service – learning and development (EMCHRS L&D).

The force is pursuing closer collaboration with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service. It understands the effect of increased demand, financial constraints and reduced resources on other organisations. The community safety hubs form part of the response to cuts in public sector funding for the force and its partners. The force is committed to improving and providing the most effective and cost-efficient service that it can.

Summary for question 2