1. Welcome and introductions
PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)
Nicci Marzec (NM)
Paul Fell (PF)
Louise Sheridan (LS)
Stuart McCartney (SMc)
Chief Finance Officer Helen King (HK)
CC Nick Adderley (NA)
DCC Simon Nickless (SN)
ACC James Andronov (JA)
Colleen Rattigan (CR)
Chief Finance Officer Vaughan Ashcroft (VA)
Sarah Crampton (SC)
Apologies were accepted from ACC Simon Blatchly
- The Commissioner welcomed everyone to the meeting.
2. Previous minutes and action log
- Minutes of previous meeting were circulated with the meeting papers. No changes have been requested
- Outstanding actions from the Action Log have been updated.
3. Budget and Treasury Management
Draft Budget and capital programme
- The Commissioner requests a paper in relation to the final budget requirements and settlement for Northamptonshire Police for the financial year 2021/2022 to include treasury management and reserves strategies.
- Vaughan Ashcroft provided an update on any changes that have been made to the report since it was presented for review in December.
- Details of the police finance settlement for 2021/22 have since been received providing more information.
- In line with the Spending Review announcements in November, the core grant settlement is set on a flat cash basis, plus our share of budget for the officer uplift.
- As a result of the adjustments made, the Northamptonshire share of the national uplift will be 19 officers fewer than previous recruitment plans were built on.
- The revised recruitment profile has been adjusted in line with what was discussed at the December Accountability Board. This still meets the previously agreed target under uplift plans but brings more officers into service later in the year to make it more affordable.
- Precept referendum limits, collection fund deficit and Local Council Tax Support Grant information has now been added to all scenarios for the MTFP. However, some of these figures have not yet been finalised.
- The updated Force draft budget requirement was discussed including some key changes which have reduced the budget requirement by £1m.
- The Commissioner asked about any additional Covid related grants.
- VA confirmed the Force is not currently incurring any PPE cost as these are being provided from national stock. The Surge grant is expected to last until March 2021
- There was a discussion about regional contributions to EMSOU and a revised NRE formula.
- No agreement has yet been reached on regional budgets. Both the Commissioner and CC Adderley remain opposed to NRE as this would create an unacceptable cost pressure for Northamptonshire.
- It is possible that the national HS2 programme will result in operational pressures in relation to protester management. VA confirmed that a budget line has not been created for this, it is purely highlighted as a risk.
- HK provided reassurance that based on latest information, both S151 officers have confidence in the budget and the medium-term financial plan having modelled and stress tested a range of scenarios between best and worst-case positions.
- The Commissioner requested that agreed efficiency savings for 2021/22 can be incorporated into the budget letter sent to the Chief Constable.
- In future years, for the lifecycle of the MTP the Commissioner is looking for annual police 1% efficiency savings to make the improvements affordable and sustainable. The details of this is not expected until Q2.
- HK and VA agreed that this clarity will be included in the budget letter by the end of March.
- The Chief Constable agreed that a cashable savings plan for the year 2021/2022 will be submitted to PFCC by end of March 2021.
Action – NA to submit a cashable savings plan for the year 2021/2022 to SM by end of March 2021.
- There was a discussion about the Estate strategy and the length of time it is taking to vacate and dispose of several buildings that have been earmarked for closure.
- Whilst the Commissioner did not want to compromise operational delivery, he is keen to avoid extra costs and reduce borrowing.
- The Chief Constable reiterated his support for the Estate plan
Action – NA to speak to his Comms team for an update on the external facing Disposals Plan linked in with the expansion of the Neighbourhood team and LPA vision.
- Consultation is underway across the county to gain a view from the public on the three precept increase options. (1.99%, £13 and £15).
- The Commissioner is currently considering the latter two but must have something additional to offer the public.
- The Commissioner commended the work that VA had done on the MTFP. Each year confidence in its accuracy had increased and he was comfortable with management of it and level of clarity.
- HK agreed adding VA and his team have worked incredibly hard.
- HK provided a brief update on the local tax base having received the North’s notification. There is still a lack of clarity on what the council tax deficit is likely to be. HK and VA will continue to monitor.
- There has been no change to the Capital budget since last month. A meeting with the Operational leads is scheduled to review the ICT Capital programme and budget later in the month.
- This is a significant investment and the Commissioner welcomes the clarity this additional scrutiny will provide.
- There was a discussion about the budget allocation for the proposed Steria STORM Command and Control System upgrade. The initial projected cost was put in for transparency. This is likely to reduce now that there is a better understanding of the requirements.
- The Commissioner confirmed he is content with the overall numbers in the budget for next year and approved the force budget request of £142.681m.
- The PFCC will finalise his budget and precept considerations in due course.
- The Chief Constable extended his thanks to HK and VA.
Treasury Management Strategy update
- The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner is required to review and adopt a Treasury Management Strategy annually alongside the Budget, Precept, Capital Programme and Capital Strategy and publish this prior to 31 March each year.
- The Commissioner is required to operate a balanced budget.
- Part of the treasury management operation is to ensure that cash flow is adequately planned. Surplus monies are invested in low risk counterparties providing adequate liquidity initially before considering investment return.
- This is regularly reviewed to maximise opportunities
- A draft Strategy was circulated in advance of the meeting.
- The Commissioner regularly engages the services of specialists for investment/borrowing advice, updates on economic factors and credit ratings.
- This service is currently provided by Link Asset Services.
- Another provider was considered this year to ensure value for money.
- VA confident that Link Asset Services continue to provide the best value for money and the external expertise in this area.
- Following a review of the report the Commissioner was assured that we are sufficiently balanced in terms of risk.
- The PFCC approved the Treasury Management Strategy for 2021/22.
4. Positive Outcomes
- The Commissioner requests a report relating to the positive outcome rates for the following areas for Northamptonshire Police:
- All Crime
Burglary (residential and commercial)
Rape and serious sexual offences
Violence (all and by category)
- This should outline the actual rate in this financial year, a three-year trend and comparisons with MSG and national rates.
- The report should set out the Chief Constables ambition in relation to positive outcome rates and highlight any risks or issues along with plans to address them to meet the aspirations of this vision.
- The data should be provided for the crime types listed above plus any additional ones that the Chief Constable considers relevant.
- Sarah Crampton provided an overview.
- The force has continued its developments in FP25 resulting in a greater sense of ownership and accountability.
- Expectations are more clearly articulated and understood, and officers are responding positively to this with better quality updates and more frequent reviews by supervisors.
- All forces now apply a framework of 22 “outcome” types at the end of an investigation. Until an outcome is applied the investigation is considered live.
- This framework has been in place since April 2014, replacing the concept of “detections” or “sanction detections” as was used previously.
- Within the East Midlands region outcomes 1 – 8 are considered positive and align more closely with previous definitions to allow for comparisons and track performance.
- A chart showing all 22 Outcome Descriptions was reviewed.
- Nationally, in terms of positive outcome types 1 – 8 (Charge, Summons or Community Resolution), trends are strongly downwards but Northamptonshire is closing the gap to the MSG average.
- It is largely accepted that the ratio is falling because of more recorded crime; absolute volumes of positive outcomes are increasing.
- Greater ownership of investigations, PIP1 refresher training are having a positive impact. This will be further supported by the additional investment in neighbourhood policing and better use of Restorative Justice.
- The Force is closing the gap to the MSG average on overall burglary and has seen significant improvement in its overall rate during 2020. This has been driven by a significant improvement in its positive outcome rate for residential burglary performance.
- Rape and Sexual Offences – Positive outcomes now exceeds the MSG and national averages and performance in the last three months is notably stronger than the longer-term picture.
- Positive outcomes for Rape offences are steadily increasing and positive resolution rates are well above the MSG average.
- There was a discussion about Op Antigua and a number of non-recent crimes that have been reported this year with enquiries taking months to conclude due to their complexity.
- Convictions at court have been low in recent years but convictions are now increasing, with improved links between the force, CPS and the Judiciary at the Local Criminal Justice Board (LCJB).
- Domestic Abuse – The trend for positive outcomes are strongly downward. This is linked to the requirement to record linked/additional crimes which has diluted the overall ratio.
- Absolute ratios of positive outcomes had been stable for some time; however, volumes in November saw a notable increase, linked to an increase in arrests made.
- The force has recently launched its #lookcloser campaign and is reinforcing the need to consider arrest at DA incidents as this is a pre-cursor to most positive outcomes.
- Work is being done via the BAT team to look at how evidential difficulties; both CPS (OC15a) and Police (OC15b) can be shifted to positive outcomes 1-8.
- This is a conundrum for all forces – need to think differently on how we provide a positive resolution where the victim is supportive but evidential difficulties are the issue.
- Violence Against the Person – Largely stable. 35% of violence offences are domestic related but more work to do in this area generally.
- Knife crime – Trend is moderately downward although no comparative data with other Forces is available. The Force has a new strategy to review possession offences. Knife Crime will be a Force priority this year.
- Shop lifting – Crime volumes in Northamptonshire are some of the lowest nationally but positive outcomes are equally low. Other crime types are typically a higher priority however more focus in this area could have a positive impact on all crime types overall.
- There was a discussion about the Business Crime Partnership and the opportunity to look at a piece of work on proportionate investigation.
- Whilst this will not be a Force priority there is work that the BAT team can do as gateway crime that potentially leads to others. SN and PF to discuss.
- Drug offences – High level of positive outcomes. In the top half of performance table nationally.
- 100 doors in 100 days saw significant quantities of drugs and other assets seized, and offenders prosecuted.
- The Commissioner commended the Force on their work in relations to drug offences.
- The Chief Constable thanked Sarah for the work done on pulling together a very useful document.
The Commissioner was assured that under the leadership of the Chief Constable and wider Chief Officer Team improvements were being seen in relation to positive outcomes.
He was further assured that the Chief Constable has a vision for Northamptonshire Police to become an excellent force and that positive outcome levels needs to form a part of the achievement of this vision.
Whilst further improvements need to be made in this area, the force appear to understand where the gaps are and where improvements relating to peer performance need to be made.
The Commissioner will require a further update on this subject at a future accountability board