UK: A Pocket Guide For Prospective Police And Crime Commissioners - Crossing The Line

Introduction

With the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners fast approaching, public interest will converge on November 15th 2012 as a seminal day in British policing. But when the elections are over and the media focus moves on, it will be over to you as the new Commissioner to deliver on your manifesto commitments, take charge of a large, complex organisation that plays a vital role in local communities and to make the most of the opportunities that your role brings.

Deloitte has produced this pocket guide to support your preparations for the new role, and to help you make an impact on day one. We provide an overview of the key issues you need to think about in the run up to the election and in the days and weeks that follow. From implementing cuts or new ways of working to the basics of getting you installed as PCC, this pamphlet provides a practical guide to support your thinking. I hope you find it useful.

Key facts: Policing in numbers

Your priorities on Day 1

Assemble a team

You will likely inherit staff from the Police Authority. Meet them, get to know them and make them feel part of your team.

Articulate a vision for the future

No one will expect you to have a fully developed strategy on Day 1, but you will be expected to start communicating your vision for the force's future.

Get briefed

Police forces are complicated. Aim to eventually understand the intricacies of the organisation and what makes it work and what its successes have been. Identify who from your team can answer your questions.

Understand existing priorities and commitments

Request a force operations briefing to understand existing commitments. Be prepared for your priorities to be challenged in light of this briefing and consider in advance how you will respond.

Understand your organisation

Meet the people. Focus on meeting the leadership team, but aim to meet police staff and operational police officers where they work.

Schedule meetings with stakeholders

Schedule meetings with your local stakeholders. These are likely to include the leader and chief executive of the councils in your area, the chief executives of the probation trust, the local community safety partnerships, neighbouring PCCs and the leaders from the local voluntary sector.

Plan

Within the first three months, you will need to publish a five year plan, your proposals for the local police precept, proposals for the annual budget and your local policing priorities. That will take concerted planning and effort; start now.

Your stakeholders

The introduction of PCCs will shake up the way local public services are organised and delivered. There will be opportunities to bring together services at county or force-area level and break down some of the institutional boundaries between councils, police and local agencies. To deliver on commitments to your community, you will need to manage a complex web of stakeholders:

Councils

Councils already support work to combat crime and disorder by funding PCSOs, managing CCTV and street lighting, and tackling crime such as benefit fraud.

Voluntary sector and interest groups

Charities and not-for-profits already operate within the local criminal justice landscape – particularly by providing key preventative services such as rehabilitation, support for drug and alcohol dependency or vulnerable families. You could consider how these organisations can be commissioning on a more systematic basis.

Suppliers and contractors

In your commissioning role, you might create more competition by expanding the range of business areas that are outsourced to include back office and middle office functions. You could also generate savings and new income through a review of existing contracts and take steps to introduce greater competition in the provider market.

Local politicians

All force areas cover multiple parliamentary constituencies, urban and rural areas; affluent and poor wards. PCCs must engage MPs and councillors from county, district and parish councils – even directly elected mayors in some areas.

Other criminal justice Bodies

Victim support will be a key issue in your relationship with the courts. You will also work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service or CPS Direct - remembering that they are only involved in around 25% of all criminal cases.

Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs)

PCCs will not be formal members of CSPs, but have a duty to cooperate with them. CSPs produce three-year rolling plans, refreshed annually. There is a risk that CSP priorities will change over the course of the PCC's period in office.

Each stakeholder will lobby for recognition and engagement. You will have to balance these interests with the needs of the wider electorate.

Probation trusts

Trusts work in partnership with local bodies to reduce reoffending. Government may open up the £820m-ayear probation service to competition. Payment by results could feature heavily in new delivery models.

The Police and Crime Panel

The structure, membership and working practices of the PCP need to be defined. High quality relationships between the PCP, the PCC and Chief Constable will be a vital indicator of effective governance.

Financial and asset Management

As well as delivering your manifesto commitments and building a team around you, you will also be running a complex business from day one. In the initial mobilisation phase, there are some priority actions and learning for you to consider:

Priority actions

  • Appoint a Chief Financial Officer. This person might already be in post, or be brought in from the outside. The CFO will be key to help implement further cost reduction measures to 2014-15 and beyond.
  • Agree your level of access to financial information with the Chief Constable, and the budgetary agreement and sign-off processes. This will form an essential part of your Police and Crime Plan.
  • You need to institute appropriate governance and control measures. Here, you cannot simply replicate the Police Authority Committee system – there is only one of you! You need to consider the best governance framework examples from the public and private sector.
  • Review income and expenditure settlements for 2012-13 onwards and functional allocations. Forces in England and Wales manage a budget of around £200m on average, and some considerably more. What is the right balance between, for example, neighbourhood policing and counter terrorism?
  • Make sure you understand your existing contract commitments. All forces manage contracts with third party suppliers in areas such as facilities management or technology. Think about the financial benefits and legal implications of cancelling or renegotiating contracts.
  • Consider your balance sheet and in particular the cost of running assets such as central buildings, police stations, control rooms or custody suites. You are joining your force at a time when there is relentless focus on cost. What action can you take to tackle costs across your fixed asset portfolio? What is your estates strategy? How does it align with policing priorities?
  • A growing number of forces use local partnerships and agreements with neighbouring forces and local agencies – such as pooling of operational capabilities. What is the extent of collaboration and what opportunities are there to extend it?
  • Build a performance management framework. What will success look like in corporate performance? How about individuals? How will you measure the performance of your Chief Constable?

Five corporate issues to consider

Industrial action

In May 2012, more than 30,000 police officers from across the UK demonstrated against police reforms, and budget and pay cuts. Officers from your force would have been involved. Pensions reforms and possible privatisation and outsourcing of key police functions are key issues. Police budget settlements from central government will reduce by 2015. But critically, public spending reductions are set to continue beyond 2014-15, with further cuts possible across the next Parliament. Engaging the Police Federation will be vital.

Implementing Winsor

The Winsor Review published in two parts in 2011 and 2012 will lead to significant changes to police pay and allowances. These changes will save an estimated £163 million per year in 2012-13, but will involve pay cuts for about 40 per cent of police officers. The Review also tackled the issue of officers who are on restricted duties, and recommended an overhaul of the system of police recruitment. It also proposed the introduction of a fast track scheme to recruit individuals directly into mid and high level policing ranks such as Inspector. Many of these reforms will be implemented across your term as PCC.

Police pensions reform

Expenditure on officer pensions has doubled in 15 years. This increase in cost is equivalent to hiring 17,500 more officers. Government now spends £1 in every £7 of total police expenditure on the pensions of around 118,000 former police officers. There are currently two police pension schemes in operation. The majority of officers are members of the final salary Police Pension Scheme 1987, which has been closed to new entrants since April 2006. Both the Hutton Report and Winsor Review have implications for police pensions, including a recommendation to raise the retirement age to 60.

Working within PITCO

In July 2012, the Government launched 'PITCO' a new purchasing organisation to pool the IT purchasing power of UK forces to drive more effective technology deals. PITCO will provide the procurement, implementation and management of IT solutions for your force. PITCO will be owned by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

Reducing bureaucracy

The Home Secretary has announced a package of policies intended to cut police red tape and save 4.5 million police hours, which is the equivalent of 2,100 police officers a year. But the real challenge will be for you to work collaboratively with your Chief Constable, PITCO and other forces to take out unnecessary bureaucracy from the ground up.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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