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Avon and Somerset PEEL 2015


How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 20/10/2015

HMIC found that Avon and Somerset Constabulary is very well prepared to face its future financial challenges. The constabulary successfully reduced spending over the last spending review period through robust financial management and a commitment to continuous improvement. The constabulary has a comprehensive understanding of the demands for its services and is planning effectively for future financial challenges. In last year’s HMIC value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, the constabulary was judged to be outstanding.

HMIC judges Avon and Somerset Constabulary to be good. It has carried out a highly effective piece of work that has provided a detailed understanding of demand for its services. It has used this understanding to restructure its operating model to make the best use of its workforce which is sustainable, affordable and continues to provide effective policing services to the public.

The constabulary uses an online resource modelling tool to allocate staff to areas of policing so it can make sure that there is a systematic and scientific way of aligning resources to demand and providing sustainable services to the public.

The constabulary makes good use of technology to allocate resources on a day-to-day basis, supported by improved processes. The constabulary has also invested in technology so its workforce can have better remote access to its IT systems. This means the constabulary has increased available resources that it can deploy to meet demand.

The constabulary has recognised that it has to recruit and train its people to meet the changing demand on policing within a reduced budget. It has reviewed its training needs and has prioritised training to prepare and equip staff to work within the operating model.

The constabulary understands the risks associated with the change programme; initial indications are that the new operating model is currently meeting demand within the constabulary’s budget. It will need to undertake further work to assess formally the benefits of these changes. Greater detail will be required for the mid-term financial planning.

The constabulary’s plans reflect the policing priorities set by the police and crime commissioner (PCC). This is further supported by clear governance arrangements, information sharing and joint financial planning with the office of the police and crime commissioner (OPCC).

The constabulary has a solid track record of achieving savings and has received favourable comment from both internal and external auditors with regard to its financial planning.

The constabulary is well positioned to identify savings for years beyond 2015/16, but further work is required to develop the detailed proposals.


Questions for Efficiency


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


Avon and Somerset Constabulary has a detailed understanding of demand for its services. This has been obtained through an in-depth evaluation of its work. It has adopted a systematic approach to this, including consultation with the public and the workforce.

This comprehensive understanding of demand has enabled the constabulary to re-configure the workforce to meet the call on its services from the public.

This new operating model has re-aligned policing, operational and support resources across the constabulary.

This detailed understanding provides the information for sophisticated digital modelling which effectively aligns staffing resources to service demand on a day-to-day basis and helps to plan these resources in the longer term. It is supported by improved processes and good use of technology to deploy resources to meet the demand from the public.

There is a clear understanding of costs including the use of comparison data to identify more efficient ways of working. This includes collaboration with other forces in the south west.

The constabulary is making good use of technology and is continuing to work with other police forces, other agencies such as local councils, and businesses to meet demand on its services from the public within its budget.

The constabulary is continually making best use of its resources to provide policing services to the public efficiently.


How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?


The sustainability and affordability of the constabulary’s workforce model is set on a strong foundation. It uses digital modelling to align resources accurately to current demands.

The constabulary has assessed its staffing and training requirements to better equip the workforce to perform within its new operating model. This has included recruitment of individuals with specialist skills, providing training and improving introductory courses to new technology.

The risks associated with the extensive change programme, including recruitment, training and use of technology are understood by the constabulary and are documented in the organisational risk register.

Initial indications are that the model is currently meeting demand and operating within budget. However further analysis is required to formalise the benefits of this new model so that the constabulary can track progress accurately.


How sustainable is the force’s financial position for the short and long term?


The constabulary has a solid track record of achieving savings. More recently digital modelling of the workforce is accurately identifying savings for the mid-term financial plan.

Over the next three years, from 2015/16 to 2018/19, the constabulary is making assumptions of a further reduction of £15.1m in central government funding.

The combined effect of this and other budget pressures leaves a cumulative budget gap of over £23m.
The constabulary plans reflect the policing priorities set by the police and crime commissioner (PCC). This is supported by a good working relationship with the office of the PCC where joint assumptions and information are shared for financial planning.

The constabulary seeks appropriate funding from other sources and charges for policing services where possible.

The savings required beyond 2015/16 are not yet agreed, although the constabulary has identified possible areas of business where potential savings can be made.

Therefore, there is a need to develop detailed plans that identify the savings required beyond 2016.
The constabulary adheres to strict assurance processes before savings associated can be factored into future budgets and the constabulary exercises strong financial control.

The constabulary has a strong track record of achieving required savings and, as at the end of March 2015, had useable reserves in excess of £50m.