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Staffordshire PEEL 2015


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

Last updated 20/10/2015

HMIC found that Staffordshire Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. It has a good understanding of its current demand and has developed processes to allow it to make informed choices about resource allocation throughout the force. The force has strong financial management and has made all of the savings required for the spending review period. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Staffordshire was judged to be outstanding.

HMIC judges Staffordshire Police to be good. The force’s understanding of its current demand is good and it is in a position to respond to dynamic changes of demand on a daily basis. Although it is meeting the current level of demand, it is aware that to meet the financial challenge ahead there needs to be a change in the way it provides its service to the public.

The force has set up a transformation programme to enable it to change the way it serves the community. The programme is looking at improving partnership work, being more efficient with its estates, improving technology and better procurement methods.

The force understands the current levels of demand on its services from the public and has taken steps to ensure that its current workforce meets that demand. This has led to some reorganisation to allow it to be more efficient. Future workforce planning is not as developed. The force is currently trying to assess demand and the future financial requirements to better understand the workforce requirements.

The force demonstrates robust financial management and has balanced the budget for 2014/15 and 2015/16. It has detailed financial plans up to 2020 including efficiency savings, providing a strong understanding of the scale of its future financial challenge. It uses reserves efficiently and has balanced the budget and found savings for the period 2014/15 and 2015/16. It has detailed financial plans up to 2020 including efficiency savings and has reserves in place as a contingency.


Questions for Efficiency


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


The force has a clear understanding of the current demand it faces. It has conducted research into over 1,000 calls to gain a better understanding of what is required by the caller. The force has developed, and continues to develop, systems and processes throughout the organisation which allows the most appropriate response for immediate calls to service.

The force has a positive culture of working with local public sector organisations and in some cases has been able to demonstrate clear value for money in doing so. It has learnt lessons from previous change programmes and increased workforce engagement and ownership of change, though it has yet to seek the views of the most significant local public sector partners on the proposed transformation.

Despite good short-term trend analysis around demand, the force is still in the process of assessing future demand, organisational and financial requirements through the transformational programme. It has identified that a more comprehensive IT system is required to improve efficiency and is currently developing this, engaging a strategic partner to help deliver change. The force is using a range of new working practices, including using new social media methods to target hard to reach communities.


How sustainable and affordable is the workforce model?


There is a strong connection between the force’s workforce planning and its financial planning. Use of demand profiling in some areas means that the force has confidence that the establishment or allocation of its workforce to those business areas is appropriate.

Staffordshire police is changing the way it works to meet short and medium-term emerging demands and areas of risk to the force and communities. They are committed to neighbourhood policing and the future policing operating model which it is anticipated will see improved integration of existing policing teams and better working arrangements with partners, such as the local council authorities.

Since 2010, Staffordshire police has seen a reduction of 447 police officers, 189 staff and 29 PCSOs. In planning for further reductions for the next spending review period, the force has recognised that its current workforce model is not sustainable. It is developing plans to modify this workforce model to ensure it is sustainable in the future. However, it is not currently able to demonstrate how future demand will impact on its plans for workforce development, which will hamper its ability to plan effectively. The force intends to recruit 80 officers and is increasing the number of PCSOs, special constables and cadets to balance anticipated high levels of officer retirement.


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


The force has achieved its savings requirements and balanced the budget for the current spending review. It has maintained a tight control on expenditure, made savings and maximised other funding opportunities ensuring that the force’s financial plans reflect the objectives set out in the PCC’s police and crime plan. There are strong working practices between the force finance officer and the OPCC with clear oversight of expenditure.

The force demonstrates robust financial management and has balanced the budget for 2014/15 and 2015/16. It has detailed financial plans up to 2020 including efficiency savings, providing a strong understanding of the scale of its future financial challenge. In 2016/17 it plans to save £8.7m; in 2017/18 £13.7m; and in 2018/19 £16.7m.

The force recognises its dependence on the transformation programme achieving substantial changes. While the force has sufficient reserves to cover spending gaps in the short term, if the programme does not provide savings by 2017/18, or the level of savings requirement changes substantially, the force plans to make reductions in workforce numbers to maintain its sustainability and affordability. However the force does not have detailed plans for this and cannot yet show how it would affect their service to the public.