South Yorkshire PEEL 2017
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
South Yorkshire Police is judged to require improvement in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. This is consistent with last year’s assessment. The force’s understanding of demand is judged to require improvement; it is assessed to require improvement for its use of resources to manage demand; and its planning for future demand is judged to require improvement.
The way in which South Yorkshire Police understands demand for its services requires improvement. The force has made good progress in addressing the cause of concern in HMICFRS’ 2016 efficiency inspection, although it is too early to fully assess the overall impact on the cause of concern. The force is developing its understanding of the demand for its services to inform its new operating model. It has introduced effective governance processes to ensure that the force is reducing inefficiencies, realising the benefits of changes and avoiding the unintended consequences. The force has processes to prioritise demand from calls for service, but it is not yet able to respond to the demand from non-urgent calls on a consistent basis.
The way in which South Yorkshire Police understands and uses its resources requires improvement. The force has not addressed the cause of concern we reported in 2016: it still does not understand sufficiently the skills and capability of its workforce and the skills and capabilities it needs now and in the future. The force is, however, progressing well in understanding the leadership skills it needs and has responded well to the areas for improvement we raised in 2016. This understanding allows the force to match the leadership skills to needs when planning moves across the force. It is providing a wide range of leadership development to its workforce, particularly in the softer skills required by today’s leaders.
The way in which South Yorkshire Police plans for the future requires improvement. The force has made some progress against the cause of concern from HMICFRS’ 2016 efficiency inspection that the force did not have a coherent set of future plans. The force has comprehensive financial plans; however, these are not yet fully integrated with its workforce planning or its understanding of demand. The force should also improve how it plans to achieve the savings it will need.
How well does the force understand demand?
South Yorkshire Police is developing its understanding of demand through improved use of data sources and analysis. It has made good progress against the cause of concern in HMICFRS’ 2016 efficiency inspection. The force is able to identify types of hidden demand through its analysis, but its ability to uncover crime that is less likely to be reported is limited. The force has governance processes to ensure that it is reducing inefficiencies that create demand. It has progressed well with ensuring that it has the skills and capabilities to identify inefficient processes and systems through its review of priority areas. The force has processes to monitor and review the benefits of change and to identify unintended consequences, although these are relatively new and not yet fully tested. While the force has progressed well with ensuring it has the necessary arrangements in place to identify inefficiencies, there are processes within the force that remain inefficient and await either review or for IT solutions to be implemented. The force has processes to prioritise the demand the force experiences from calls for service, although the level of calls that the force is not able to answer is unsatisfactory. This means that the force could be inadvertently suppressing demand and unable to provide an adequate service to the public. This is an area currently under review by the change team.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that it can sufficiently manage its incoming demand from all calls for service (including 101 calls), while ensuring that it takes full account of inadvertently suppressing demand and that any risks are appropriately managed.
Cause of concern
The cause of concern from 2016 in relation to an overall understanding of demand is to remain:
South Yorkshire Police’s limited understanding of current and likely future demand remains a cause of concern, because further analysis is needed for the force to develop a complete picture of demand, including analysis of the under-reporting of crime and inefficient working practices which generate unnecessary demand. The force also needs to engage more with communities and partner organisations to understand more fully the opportunities for early intervention, prevention and problem solving.
How well does the force use its resources?
The way in which South Yorkshire Police understands and uses its resources requires improvement. The force has not addressed the cause of concern we identified in 2016, which means that it still has only a limited understanding of the skills and capability in its workforce and the skills and capabilities it needs now and in the future. The force is recruiting to gain the skills it needs and is making good use of the modernisation of its workforce, although with no understanding of whether some of these skills already exist in its workforce.
The force is progressing well in understanding the skills it needs for its future leaders. It has responded well to the areas for improvement we raised in 2016 and its understanding of the skills and capabilities it has in its leaders is good. The force is matching the leadership skills it has to those that it needs when planning leadership moves across the force. It is providing a wide range of leadership development opportunities to its workforce, particularly in the softer skills required by today’s leaders.
The force has allocated its budget to prioritised areas of activity. It is making sensible decisions on what it invests in and has a range of investments planned. South Yorkshire Police continues to work well with partner organisations and other forces to manage operational demand and improve efficiency. The force is developing its processes for identifying and monitoring the benefits from its partnership working and collaborations and is looking at best practice in external organisations to inform its new operating model.
Cause of concern
The cause of concern from 2016 in relation to use of resources to manage current demand is to remain:
The absence of a comprehensive workforce plan and lack of understanding of the current workforce capability and capacity in South Yorkshire Police remains a cause of concern which compromises the force’s ability to match resources to demand and align workforce costs with the force budget.
To address the cause for concern, HMICFRS recommends that the force should develop and implement a coherent workforce plan by:
- reviewing the capacity and capability of the HR shared service to provide the support required at force and local levels;
- identifying and allocating posts in line with its revised operating model and priorities;
- analysing the skills and capabilities of the workforce; and
- addressing identified gaps in the workforce capability and capacity.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
The way in which South Yorkshire Police plans for the future, particularly its workforce planning and alignment of its plans, requires improvement. The force has comprehensive financial plans, although it should improve how it plans the savings it intends to make. However, these are not integrated with its workforce planning and so do not assist the force in planning what its workforce needs are. The force’s understanding of demand is focused on the demand it is facing now to reintroduce neighbourhood policing, manage the demand coming into its control room and improve its investigations related to vulnerable people. The force should ensure, however, that its new operating model is flexible enough to take account of changes in demand. In developing its new neighbourhood model, the force is taking some steps to understand the public’s perceptions about the service it wants. The force has a good understanding of what technology can offer and seeks to use changes in technology to support its policing service and improve the efficiency of the force. It has succession planning to ensure that it has future leaders in place with the right skills and experience, and the right leadership mix within its leadership teams. The force is developing its future leaders and makes good use of recruitment to secure wider skills, experience and talent.
Cause of concern
The cause of concern in relation to coherent plans from 2016 is to remain, and is still linked to the 2016 cause of concern about the absence of a comprehensive workforce plan, and understanding of demand being completed initially.
The absence of a coherent set of future plans in South Yorkshire Police is a cause of concern, because the financial plans are not linked to the workforce plans and the force does not have a complete understanding of future demand or workforce requirements.
- to address this cause for concern, HMICFRS recommends that the force should work with partner organisations and expert support to link its financial plans explicitly with the revised operating model, the revised operational plans and revised workforce plans. All of these must be based on a comprehensive understanding of demand.