Northumbria PEEL 2017
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Northumbria Police is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year. The force is judged to be good in its understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is judged to be good; and its planning for future demand is also assessed to be good.
Northumbria Police is an efficient force. The force has a comprehensive and up-to-date model to assess demand, and it understands the wider effects of that demand for the services that it provides. The force has well-developed processes to uncover demand that is less likely to be reported. The force has excellent administrative processes and a good governance structure, which enable it to manage well and realise fully the benefits of projects. The force has carried out some analysis of the skills of its workforce. However, this could be improved and be more detailed.
The force has created a very positive culture of openness, and the workforce feels a part of the decision-making process within the organisation. People are encouraged to put forward ideas and are able to work on implementing these ideas, should they be approved. The force is making great efforts to develop its future leaders and has a number of officers on supported development schemes. The force advertises all posts externally and has just appointed two new assistant chief constables from outside the force.
The force has extensive arrangements for collaborative working across many of its areas of work, and is aiming to make more such arrangements. The financial plans for the force are detailed. It has solid plans for the future that have been tested and examined independently to ensure that they are fit for purpose.
How well does the force understand demand?
Northumbria Police has a good understanding of the demand it faces. It uses a wide range of information from a variety of sources to carry out sophisticated analysis and keep its understanding up to date. It has worked hard to identify and tackle areas of demand that may be unreported. This has included working with sex workers to encourage them to come forward to report crime, and training staff taking calls and attending scenes to be aware of signs that suggest other offences may have occurred.
The force has a good structure in place to drive its change agenda forward, including firm governance arrangements to ensure that the benefits of any change programme are realised. All the programmes undergo independent evaluation. The staff praised the force leadership team for the way it welcomes new ideas and feedback from the workforce, and for the way it handles suggestions.
How well does the force use its resources?
Northumbria Police has conducted extensive analysis of skills across its workforce and in even greater detail among its leaders and potential leaders. The force wants to develop its workforce and is particularly active in its leadership development. The force has identified the skills it requires in its leaders and has programmes to develop these skills. Alongside this, it has actively recruited external candidates into leading roles to bring innovation and fresh thinking into the organisation. Although it has done good work, it could do more to identify the skills the future workforce will need when considering the nature of future demand. In addition, the force needs to ensure that the workforce possesses these skills through training and recruitment.
The force seeks constantly to innovate and implement ideas to improve its efficiency. Excellent systems allow staff to contribute to this process. Staff spoke very highly of the force’s genuine commitment to engaging with and listening to the workforce.
The force is very active in collaborative working and the level of this activity is extensive and impressive. The force has excellent structures in place to monitor all collaboration activity and ensure that the expected benefits are obtained. Governance structures and evaluation processes are very effective. In support of this, the force’s financial plans are solid and have been subject to independent challenge to ensure that they are realistic.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
Northumbria Police has assessed its current demand profile against its predicted future demand profile and has established what the differences mean for its approach to all functions, including estates, working with other organisations, collaboration and workforce planning. The force could do more to identify talent within the organisation and support the development of staff from under-represented groups. Better use of the PDR system may assist this.
The force is investing heavily in information technology and recognises the opportunities and threats posed by changes in technology.
The force has recently appointed two new permanent assistant chief constables, both recruited externally. Their new perspectives, approaches and ideas will help the force to remain innovative in the way it addresses its problems. The force invests a great deal in leadership development. It provides many opportunities for the workforce to contribute by becoming actively involved in problem solving and in improving processes.
The financial plans of the force are based on sound assumptions that have undergone scenario planning to test their validity.
Areas for improvement
- The force should consider a wider range of sources for the identification of talent.