West Midlands PEEL 2018
How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?
West Midlands Police is good at operating efficiently and sustainably.
In 2017, we judged that the force’s approach to meeting current demand and using resources required improvement. We agreed with the force that we would not re-inspect this area this year. This is because the force is continuing its work to improve how it manages demand in the control room and how accurate its crime reporting is. We have carried last year’s grade forward.
In contrast, West Midlands Police is outstanding in the way that it is planning for the future. The force has a well-developed understanding of current, future and hidden demand from analysing a wide and impressive range of information.
The force manages its change programme well and reviews what it has done to see if it has achieved the expected benefits.
The force understands how to make best use of its financial resources. It has made a significant investment in IT to improve all areas of its work.
The force has extensively researched the best ways to change, so that it can provide policing services in the future. It plans to consult with local people again to find out what they think is important, and use this to inform its next phase of change.
West Midlands Police focuses on technology, the affordability of any changes, and how many officers and staff it will need in the future.
The force has a balanced budget, but a recent government statement means that all police forces must make extra contributions to their pension funds. This may have a significant effect on the force’s finances and its ability to maintain current numbers of officers and staff.
How well does the force use its resources to meet the demand it faces?
This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2017 efficiency inspection has been carried over.
Last year, we inspected how well West Midlands Police was meeting current demand and using resources, and judged that the force required improvement. Before this year’s inspection, we discussed with the force the need to re-inspect this area as part of our risk-based approach to the integrated PEEL assessment. It was jointly agreed that, because of continuing work to improve how it manages demand in the force control room and its crime-recording accuracy, we would not re-inspect this area this year and that last year’s grade would be carried forward.
Although we did not inspect this area formally, our continuing monitoring work throughout the year found that the force’s ability to respond to current demand and calls for service is improving slowly. The force is making significant investment in new systems and processes to enhance capability and capacity in both the control room and crime-recording functions. We will monitor progress as the force introduces new ways of working to make the improvements required.
How well does the force plan for the future?
West Midlands Police is outstanding at planning for the future. The force has a well-developed understanding of demand, including emerging and hidden demand, which it continues to improve.
The force is making significant investments in new technology to streamline processes, improve public contact and increase workforce capacity. It is developing an impressive new data review and evaluation system, known as data driven insights (DDI). This innovation will give it a better picture of demand.
The force uses a variety of ways to engage with the public. It has also commissioned a customer satisfaction project to get feedback from service users.
West Midlands Police has a good record of allocating resources to meet demand and can respond swiftly to changing policing priorities. It also has a good history of achieving savings by reducing its workforce numbers. The force is clear about its future needs in terms of workforce numbers, skills and diversity.
The force has appropriate plans to meet predicted future demand at lower cost. It continues to look for savings throughout the organisation using a rolling programme of efficiency reviews.
The recent government announcement requiring forces to make additional contributions to their pension funds poses a serious risk to West Midlands Police’s future workforce plans.
The force has detailed plans for how it will make progressive improvements in workforce capability. The pace of change and the range of projects supporting the improvements in workforce skills and capability are impressive.
West Midlands Police has a clear vision and ambitious goals for improved policing in spite of increasing demand and financial challenges. It has conducted an extensive review of its priorities to 2025 and beyond.Detailed findings for question 2