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South Yorkshire PEEL 2018


How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?

Last updated 27/09/2019

South Yorkshire Police operates efficiently and its services to the public are sustainable. It is good at meeting current demand and using its resources. It is also good at future planning. It has redesigned its services and works well with partners to reduce demand and provide a better quality of service to the public. It puts its resources where they are most needed, and it tries out new ideas and is investing in technology.

The force provides an efficient service to the public within the budget it has. But it doesn’t have enough resources to respond to all demand promptly. It will take some time to realise the benefits from the new force model. The force has a good ‘collaboration effectiveness framework’ and a ‘benefits realisation dashboard’. These help it monitor the benefits of its collaborations and any force changes.

The force has a culture of learning and innovation and an ambition to improve. It develops its workforce and leaders well and understands the skills and capabilities that it needs now and for the future. The force has good professional and leadership development programmes in place and continues to have a formal succession plan for senior leaders. It has career pathways that allow officers and staff to specialise. The force challenges itself to develop diverse leadership teams. It supports its workforce to develop and progress.

The force makes sensible investment decisions based on its priorities and public expectations. It has a good track record of making savings and has linked its financial plans with its workforce plan and new operating model. But it doesn’t have enough money to manage its historic enquiries as well as improve its services.

Questions for Efficiency


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


We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the force’s performance in this area.

Assessing current demand.

The force has a good and detailed understanding of demand. Its Safer South Yorkshire programme of work was launched in 2017. This programme aims to transform the force to provide sustainable services that support its strategic vision. Public expectations form the basis of this vision.

The force has a strategic demand management board. It has assessed current demand against productivity using qualitative and quantitative data. The assessment has helped the force understand the full nature of the demand placed on its different functions and departments.

The force has a detailed understanding of demand across more than 30 areas of business. The force can predict the effect of demand using a simulation, by hour of day, to better understand the effect on resources (people and equipment) and shift patterns. It is now looking at productivity and how this affects demand.

South Yorkshire Police has reviewed its demand across the services it provides to its local communities and has consulted with the public directly, and through the office of the police and crime commissioner, to identify their expectations. It has worked with partners – such as Sheffield Teaching Hospital, Sheffield City Council and Santander – to understand how other organisations measure demand and gather data to expand its own understanding and has also consulted and learnt from other forces.

The increased neighbourhood presence and regular engagement in communities, allows the force to better identify hidden or emerging demand. Its analysis assists in identifying types of hidden issues such as child sexual exploitation and organised immigration crime (including human trafficking and modern slavery). It has anticipated the effect of demand that is less obvious or hard to quantify such as cyber-enabled crimes (online abuse and sharing of indecent images) and this has led to an increase in the number of officers investigating these crimes.

The force has redesigned its main services based on its improved understanding of the services it is required to provide. Through its use of data and information, it has reviewed its processes to make them more efficient. Using its resource modelling tools and analytical software it has determined the number of people it needs, the shift patterns required, and changes in other resource requirements (such as vehicles, computers and office locations).

The force takes into consideration public expectations when looking at options for how it might provide its services, although any changes must align with the force’s current financial position. For example, the force recently put officers back into neighbourhood policing. This is in line with what the public of South Yorkshire want and in line with the force’s vision of preventing demand within local communities.

Understanding factors that influence demand

The force has a good understanding of factors that influence demand, including how it can be reduced through efficient working practices. All its organisational reviews have used techniques that improve business processes by reducing the probability of an error or duplication occurring. The force has started to look at failure demand in its end-to-end processes and the productivity of staff completing these processes. The focus is now on doing it right first time, rewarding and recognising quality, good supervision, and having the right technology to support its people.

The chief officer team sets a clear direction to develop the force’s understanding of demand through its strategic demand management board. An assistant chief constable chairs this board, which reports to the force’s strategic change board, chaired by the chief constable. A benefits realisation dashboard tracks any planned benefits. The force can demonstrate that it has improved services and reduced demand pressures.

The force involves the workforce in the changes it makes. Its change programme teams all involve people from the service areas being reviewed. The workforce can also provide views through working groups and survey consultation. The change team has a confidential feedback box where any member of the workforce can post a question or concern about change. The team responds to these concerns in feedback sessions or via the force intranet. The team also consults staff associations on changes made. However, some staff who had gone through the recent changes to the force’s protecting vulnerable people units, told us they didn’t feel the team had listened to them.

We found no evidence of the force intentionally or inadvertently suppressing or concealing demand. The control room grades all incidents appropriately, and there is very little subsequent re-grading. Where control room staff do re-grade incidents, this is based on them receiving further information. The force has performance measures in place to identify backlogs in its processes, with regular monitoring and review. Where we found backlogs in administrative processes, the force was already aware and taking action.

Working with others to meet demand

South Yorkshire Police has a strong commitment to joint working to improve the way it manages demand through working with partner organisations. The force has a clear rationale for its collaborations and partnerships and assesses these against a collaboration effectiveness framework. It considers the benefits and the value (improved quality or reduced costs) of the collaboration. A collaboration review group oversees the effectiveness of these arrangements.

The force is working well with partners to help it understand demand. A partner practitioner group meets every two months and includes partners from Sheffield City Council and Yorkshire Ambulance Service as well as various analysts. This commenced in April 2018. This group helps the partners understand joint demand that the different services face across South Yorkshire. The force accepts that it cannot prevent partners from reducing resources, which may negatively affect the force. The force is trying to mitigate the effect of this on frontline officers and staff. For example, it has used data to show how the lack of out-of-hours provision for noise pollution affected police call outs. It has also used information about missing persons to discuss with care providers and local authorities policies and practices not applied which have a negative effect on the police service.

Innovation and new opportunities

The force has a culture of learning and innovation and an ambition to improve. It looks externally for innovation and best practice, which it seeks from other forces as well as public and private organisations. It works well with the seven forces under the North East Transformation, Innovation and Collaboration (NETIC) programme. It also works with eight northern forces and universities as part of the N8 research in policing partnership. Through local universities, the force works with students on placements to do specific pieces of work, and it uses the universities to critique some of its work.

South Yorkshire Police has worked in a more innovative way to assess the overall demand of football matches on UK policing. The deputy chief constable is the national football lead and recognised that forces across the UK didn’t always have the resources to support their day-to-day demand, while also policing football matches. The force has developed a way of assessing this demand. The work demonstrates the cost of policing football matches and the wider effect of removing officers from their daily duties or having rest days cancelled. This information is now informing a national debate.

Investment and benefits

The force is making sensible investment decisions and has planned a range of investments including occupational health provision, counter corruption, contact management and mobile technology. Its planning and efficiency group meets monthly with the police and crime commissioner (PCC).

The force also bases its capital investments on its priority areas. This includes investing in better information technology, body-worn video cameras, and improvements to its premises. The force’s business benefits realisation manager records the benefits from savings made which are then reinvested.

Prioritising different types of demand

The force links its prioritisation decisions to public expectations. In response to feedback from the public, it has re-instated neighbourhood police officers. The force is still providing the full range of policing services to the public, though it has chosen to do some things in a different way to manage demand. This includes investigating lower-level crimes through its crime support hub, which works well. It has removedthis demand from frontline officers, allowing them to respond to emergency and priority incidents.

While the force is starting to see reductions in some areas of demand through problem solving in neighbourhoods and redesigning its services, it is still facing increased demand to investigate incidents and crimes. Some of this is attributable to more accurate recording practices.

The force has a good understanding of the number of officers and staff it needs to meet demand satisfactorily. The force’s financial and workforce plans, and plans for organisational change, all support this understanding. It has identified a ‘capacity gap’ between the resources it needs and the resources it has.

Assigning resources to demand and understanding their costs

The force allocates its resources through its financial plans, workforce plans and plans for organisational change. It bases the plans on its forecast budget and its understanding of demand. The force has a good understanding of what its services cost. The force’s senior leadership team, in consultation with the PCC, makes decisions about the allocation of resources. The force’s strategic change board, employment and establishment meetings and ongoing budgetary reporting systems support the decision-making process. Leaders consider the effect of savings when making decisions.

The force’s resource modelling tool assesses the distribution of demand across the four districts. By using this tool, the force can allocate resources to areas where they are most needed. This improved allocation of resources addresses the variation in demand across the force. On a day-to-day basis, the force assesses priority demand via its daily management meetings and force management meeting. If necessary, it draws on other resources to help in areas that have high demand or require other types of support. Districts also now get a workforce report to help them understand their resourcing.

However, the force does not have sufficient resources to assign to all its current demand. This means that there is a capacity gap across several areas of the force. While the force is working to reduce its demand in several ways, it will take time to see the full benefits of this work. In the meantime, the force has filled its vacancies in the most efficient way. It has already recruited, and continues to recruit, more police staff investigators. It recognises that it will take some time for these people to gain the skills required and become familiar with the pace of work. The force has also started recruiting additional officers and on a temporary basis is using overtime to cover some of these gaps. While this is affordable in the short term due to the vacancy levels the force was carrying earlier in 2018/19, it is not sustainable.

The force compares its service costs with other forces and organisations wherever possible. Comparative information is available for payroll and ICT services.

Workforce capabilities

The force’s people development strategy outlines the skills and capabilities needed across its workforce. The force’s strategic resourcing board agrees the priorities.
The strategy is outlined on the force’s plan-on-a-page, which links to the police and crime plan.

The force understands the skills that its officers have now. It has done a skills audit using its technical skills framework. This identifies the skills required for every role within the force and matches each role against the skills of its officers. While the force has progressed this since our 2017 efficiency inspection, it recognises that there is still more to do. ICT constraints limit the force’s ability to automatically match skills to roles. This is currently a manual process. The force is planning to introduce a people database, which will identify all staff skills in one place.

The force knows what gaps it has in the skills and abilities of its leadership and wider workforce. These include cyber-crime and fraud investigation skills. Demand has also increased for investigations involving vulnerable people, which require additional specialist skills. The force plans to address these gaps through training and development, encouraging specialist staff to remain in post where possible, and recruiting externally if required.

More efficient ways of working

The force’s plans reflect its commitment to more efficient ways of working. It collaborates with other organisations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its services. It has made changes through its programme of reviews and is identifying ways of improving the productivity of its workforce.

The force tracks the benefits it expects to see from its change programme through a benefits realisation dashboard. The dashboard brings together all the measures to track the benefits and dis-benefits of changes the force makes. These include financial, quantitative and qualitative measures, as well as any unintended consequence of change. A benefits realisation manager oversees this and reports to the force’s change governance meetings. The force has a good approach to measuring and tracking the outcomes and savings from the changes it makes.

The force generally has a good track record of achieving savings. It has planned savings of around £4 million for 2019/20. Savings initiatives include:

  • reductions in overtime and allowances;
  • reducing its fleet and estate;
  • collaboration with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue; and
  • a review of the force’s enabling services.

Working with others

South Yorkshire Police is committed to working with others to provide a better service to the public. It recognises the benefits that collaborated services bring, including increased purchasing power, access to shared services, financial savings, and better value for money.

The force’s collaboration effectiveness framework is good practice and provides the force with a rigorous assessment of its joint working arrangements. There is a rolling programme of reviews for its partnership and collaborative arrangements. The framework asks questions about the structure of the collaboration, its objectives and the value expected from the arrangement. Its initial work has helped the force understand which collaborations require further work and which are not providing the expected benefits.

South Yorkshire Police is one of four forces that work jointly through the Yorkshire and Humber regional collaboration programme. The collaboration includes some of its more specialist capabilities such as underwater/marine, forensics, collision investigation and scenes of crime investigation. The force also has joint working arrangements in ICT and legal services provision in place with Humberside Police.

Using technology

The force’s plans reflect its commitment to more efficient ways of working. This includes better use of technology both for its workforce and to assist in identifying crime.

South Yorkshire Police made significant investment in its major ICT systems during 2017/18, introducing new systems for crime recording, custody, intelligence and command and control. These are in place and operating, however the delayed implementation of the new command and control system presented some initial challenges. The force is aware that it needs to provide some more ‘hands on’ training, to help staff use the system as efficiently as possible.

We received consistently poor feedback from the workforce about the efficiency of mobile technology. It no longer meets officers’ needs. The force recognises this and has accelerated a pilot project that is assessing a range of mobile devices. The project is allowing officers in one district to test these devices and influence which ones the force will purchase.

South Yorkshire Police is one of the last forces in the country to implement body-worn video technology for its frontline officers. Although the force has the equipment and rollout has commenced with its operational support teams, it is yet to reach frontline officers. This is due to commence in March 2019 with full completion in December 2019.

However, the force is making good use of other technology to assist in dealing with some crime investigation and incident management. For example, use of data examination kiosks to retrieve evidence from digital devices and use of drones to assist in search operations for missing people.

Summary for question 1

How well does the force plan for the future?


We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the force’s performance in this area.

Assessing future demand for services

South Yorkshire Police has an improved understanding of how demand is likely to change in the future. Using new techniques, it is now able to predict how future demand may affect the force. It has used Mosaic data from the county council, which assists with understanding future changes in demographics.

The force is predicting increases in demand in fraud, cyber-enabled crime, violence, sexual offences, and modern slavery and human trafficking. It recognises that changes in society and technology mean offences against children involving social media, or online crime, may continue to grow. The force has also identified that an ageing population and a reduction in care provision is likely to place additional demands on partners.

The force has used the results of its demand analysis to inform its current and future planning, including options for a re-alignment of its existing resources into areas where it expects to see increased demand. The force’s strategic change board oversees changes to service provision and agrees these with the PCC. It completes a due diligence review of all the assumptions made prior to implementing agreed changes.

Understanding public expectations

The force uses public feedback to understand future expectations. The introduction of the force’s new contact system included feedback from focus groups run by the office of the PCC. This consultation was about the changing technology and asked people how they wanted to contact the force and how they wanted to be updated about an incident or a crime. The force has already changed its telephony contact route and the other channels for contacting the force online will go live during 2019, including online reporting of crime. The force communicates any changes in its services to the public.


The force uses its understanding of public expectations to help it predict future demand. The priorities in both the PCC’s police and crime plan and the force’s plan-on-a-page are clear.

The force’s Safer South Yorkshire programme brings together its work streams for redesigning and creating sustainable services to support the force’s strategic vision. Finance, change management and workforce planning come together with representatives on every change review team. In addition, the heads of these departments meet regularly to discuss current and future changes and plan accordingly; this ensures effective co-ordination.

The force’s plan-on-a-page sets out in clear, simple language what the force wants to achieve, its values and its main policing priorities. Its Safer South Yorkshire leaflet outlines the force’s ‘roadmap of change’; this includes a problem solving and demand reduction programme, as well as collaboration and innovation. It provides the workforce with a summary of force-wide projects and why these changes are taking place.

The force has invested in neighbourhood policing to prevent future demand through effective community-based problem solving. Further efficiencies identified from its change reviews, and an increase in precept, will enable the force to increase and better align its workforce to meet predicted demand. The initial investment in problem solving has delivered real benefits.

Future workforce

The force understands its future workforce needs. Its workforce and training plans take account of the skills and capability gaps it has, and the need to tackle inequalities across all ranks, grades and protected characteristics. The force is working hard to become a more diverse organisation; it has a positive action group which focuses on driving this change. The force’s ‘mind the gap’ event attracted 100 members of the workforce and addressed barriers to progression. It has set up a wide range of groups that support the force’s existing workforce. The force recognises that it needs to understand the full range of knowledge and skills possessed by its workforce.

The force has 12 Police Now recruits in place, who have successfully completed their first year. The force makes good use of external recruitment for all police ranks and police staff grades.

Finance plans

In our 2016 efficiency inspection, we were concerned about the absence of a coherent set of plans that linked financial plans to the workforce plan and workforce requirements. We reported that these plans should be consistent with the force’s revised operating model. Although we found that the force had made progress with this in our 2017 efficiency inspection, the force’s workforce planning was still not sufficiently developed.

We have continued to monitor this cause of concern and there are now effective plans in place. These include a workforce strategy, workforce plan, and financial plans, all of which support the force’s plan-on-a-page. They are informed by the strategic assessment, force management statement, and operating model. The force has an appropriate governance structure, which oversees the planning process.

The force develops its medium term financial strategy and workforce plans in conjunction with the PCC. The strategy forecasts the force’s income and expenditure over the period 2019/20 to 2023/24. The force has made reasonable budget assumptions. It has forecast pay awards at two percent annually and allowed for inflation. The strategy takes account of a proposed increase in council tax equivalent to a £24 per annum increase on a Band D property. It also takes account of the recent change in pensions funding.

The budget includes growth of £19.5 million. This relates mainly to the additional funding required for an unavoidable increase in pension contributions, ICT software licences, and some restructuring and staff re-grading. The remainder includes funding for 55 additional officers. Savings to fund these cost increases are being achieved mainly from a zero-base review of the pay budget and some proposed changes in overtime and staff terms and conditions.

South Yorkshire Police has very substantial legacy costs associated with several historic enquiries and more recent court cases. The force is in discussion with central government to determine if further support is available to meet these commitments. At present, there is a tension between funding legacy costs and funding service transformation such as with the force’s estate, systems and technology.

Leadership and workforce development

South Yorkshire Police develops its workforce and leaders well. The force has adopted the NPCC Policing Vision 2025 approach to developing its people. This focuses on retaining and developing existing staff while establishing new routes into the service to transform and diversify the workforce.

The force has clear leadership expectations and a plan that bridges the gap between the current and desired state of leadership and workforce development. It has communicated its leadership principles linked to its plan-on-a-page and has redefined its expectations of leaders through its ‘pledge to all supervisors and managers’ (both police and police staff). The force has communicated with the workforce the expectations of leadership in South Yorkshire Police, irrespective of whether people are in a supervisory position.

The force has leadership and professional development programmes in place. Its development portal is accessible to the workforce through its internal website. This contains tools and resources for officers and staff to access. It enables staff to manage their professional development review (PDR), continuing professional development (CPD) and understand available development opportunities.

The force has redesigned its internal leadership development programme. People are nominated automatically on promotion but can also apply directly themselves. The force has refreshed some of its masterclasses since we last inspected it.

The force also looks outside the organisation to find other solutions to its skills gap. It promotes the leadership programmes run by the College of Policing. It offers coaching and mentoring to the workforce and has trained internal coaches. It recruits externally for the skills that it needs but also emphasises retaining and developing its own staff and skills. The force has an established formal succession plan for senior leaders and an approach to talent management and staff development.

South Yorkshire Police has determined the career pathways that allow its officers and staff to specialise. It has based these on critical organisational need, focusing on detective and investigation pathways and use of the apprenticeship levy for professional development. These include specialist investigation officers who joined through the university postgraduate certificate. The force is planning to have direct investigation pathways for police officers and police staff such as a fast track for detectives.

South Yorkshire Police continually challenges itself to develop diverse
leadership teams. Through its positive action group, it monitors the diversity of its leaders. As well as recording protected characteristics, the force knows its workforce’s personality and psychological types. The force’s reporting and evaluation process for bulk promotions, and trend analysis, has identified that there are still some issues around the retention and progression of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) officers. Following the force’s review of its promotion processes it has put in place measures, through its development boards, to support all members of the workforce with leadership skills and promotion.

Ambition to improve

South Yorkshire Police has the ambition to improve the services it provides to the public. It has a comprehensive change programme, aligned to its future financial and workforce plans, and an ICT and estates strategy.

The force’s change programme is directly linked to its plans and supports the way that it is redesigning its services and ensuring continuous improvement. For example, the investment in neighbourhood policing is already demonstrating a reduction in demand through problem solving in local communities.

The force’s ICT strategy seeks to build on existing platforms, as well as using this ICT more efficiently. One example is the new command and control system, which provides the opportunity for better use of automated processes such as online reporting, SMS updates, and a call back function. If successful, this will help the force to manage call-handling demand into its contact centre.

The force has a technology replacement programme planned for its current mobile and desktop technology and a shift to more agile working. It recognises that the original smartphones and laptops provided to officers are now obsolete. Its 2022 strategy includes a full review of the devices used by frontline officers, allowing officers and staff to work more flexibly across different sites within the force, and while on patrol. The force’s digital programme includes:

  • the automation of processes;
  • replacement of desktop computers with lower cost and no maintenance terminals; and
  • the introduction universal access printers, removing the need for office desk machines and providing better security for confidential documents.

The force intends to continue working with other organisations where the opportunity arises, and it benefits from doing so. It will base any decisions on future collaborations on value for money or better service provision. It will continue to maximise purchasing power through the regional arrangements it has in place.

Summary for question 2