1. Welcome and introductions
PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)
Paul Fell (PF)
Nicci Marzec (NM)
Louise Sheridan (LS)
CC Nick Adderley (NA)
DCC Simon Blatchly (SB)
Colleen Rattigan (CR)
- SM 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. Force 5-year plan update
In 2021 the Chief Constable wrote and delivered his 5-year plan, outlining the vision for the future shape and delivery for Northamptonshire Police. The Commissioner requests a report that outlines the progress to date for delivery against this plan.
- CC Nick Adderley provided an overview.
- His 5-year strategic vision has been designed to bring grip and focus to the broader strategic priorities of the Force in the same way that his ‘Matters of Priority’ have improved the key areas of the Forces’ performance.
- The five overarching priorities within the plan are Quality of service, Prevention and Intervention, Effective Strategic Partnerships, Release Capacity and Healthy Culture.
- The new Strategic framework will be available from July and will form part of the overall Assurance Process.
- This supersedes the FP25 plan.
- During the discussion PF suggested that the completed framework could be used as a means of informing the Commissioner’s assurance process without it all coming to the formal accountability board meeting, allowing oversight of some key issues outside of this meeting and a sharper focus where there were specific areas of interest or concern.
Quality of Service
- To continue the work delivered under the Service Improvement plan, a further review of the quality of service it delivers is underway.
- This includes better outcomes for victims of crime including an increased use of community resolutions using localised OSARA problem solving approaches.
- In terms of positive outcomes, the Commissioner was interested to know how many community resolutions contributed the percentage the positive outcomes achieved.
- Paul Fell advised that Tom Smith had reviewed and the make up of positive outcomes was Charges obtained makes up 55.4% (67.5%), Formal OOCD 13.5% (12.5%) and Informal OOCD 31.2% (18.5%).
- The Chief Constable advised that the use of Out of Court disposals was increasing as a result of the uplift to Neighbourhood policing, PIP1 training with officers and CPS encouragement.
- There was a discussion about branding and the desire to have a consistency in approach.
- Throughout the last 6 months the Force has been developing a suite of products to improve its branding, which is modern and reflects a professional service.
- Updating these assets such as Business cards and PowerPoint templates has already freed up a significant amounts of Chief Officer time.
- Additional investment in Single Online home to improve the user experience of this service is also underway.
- There was a discussion about measuring victim satisfaction rates – the first portion of data from the new provider is due next month and should give greater insight.
- An important aspect of the 5-year strategic vision is to upskill the workforce and unlock capacity.
- Increasing demand and more complex investigations along with additional AG Guidance on Disclosure can add up to 10 additional hours of officer time per investigation.
- Part of the benefits realisation programme including a review of the Crime and Justice Command and the Digital Forensics Department with a focus on innovation and better working practices.
- The Commissioner commented that the Cashable Saving Plan is an important part of this work strand – Not asking for savings for savings sake but free up cash to invest in other areas to ensure the Force continues to evolve.
- There was a discussion about the Digital Academy at Northampton College.
- Paul fell agreed to investigate any opportunities to introduce an apprenticeship style scheme.
Action – PF to speak to SB outside the meeting to discuss the feasibility of apprenticeships for digital forensics.
Prevention and Intervention
- Sarah Johnson will now lead on this.
- Although good progress has been made, the Chief Constable advised that the work in this area has not moved at the pace he would expect.
- The OPFCC has a significant role to play in this area.
- Operation Kayak is a preventative operation, now embedded within the night-time economy and is working collaboratively with the OPFCC Safer Streets initiatives.
- Paul Fell asked if the Force were using the animated videos created by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to educate offenders.
- DCC Simon Blatchly agreed to check and if they are not being used, he will find out why and rectify.
Action – DCC Simon Blatchly to find out if Suzy Lamplugh Trust animated videos are being used, if not, why and rectify.
- The Force have recently launched their VAWG strategy and is working in partnership with local authorities.
- The Chief Constable apologised to the Commissioner for the lack of preparedness regarding the media launch.
- A new Strategic Partnership Board will meet for the first time on 13th June to identify shared priorities across agencies.
- The Chief Constable will attend for the Force and Nicci Marzec for the OPFCC
- Building effective partnerships and providing greater strategic direction, investment and research is a key priority.
- The Force has made progress with the Community One approach bringing greater alignment with wider agencies.
- An Interoperability report which will provide great clarity around the Commissioners ambition for more collaboration was due at the end of May. Hazel Grey from Fire and Devina Cullen from Police are looking at it – now due end of June.
- The report is expected to cover the evidence from the 2 Chiefs about how they have collaborated so far on operational issues and the evidence that benefits have been achieved as a result. In addition, a further piece of work will take place to explore possibilities around Cadets and Volunteers, JOT as a centre of excellence, Community Safety Prevention workers (based on Cornwall Tri Service Officers) and Community Safety.
- A multi-agency problem solving meeting has been established and the Domestic Abuse Serial Perpetrator Scheme is now embedded by IOM, working with Rise Mutual (an external provider) to deliver a Changing Behaviours Course.
- There was a discussion about data sharing across the agencies
- Whilst there is lots of legislation that encourages data sharing. Confidentiality and Data Protection Managers can become overzealous and act as a block.
- Recent issues with the Children’s Trust were cited as an example.
- The Commissioner was keen to ensure that Chief Executives across all agencies are engaged in order to get this issue resolved.
- This strategic objective remains at the heart of the Chief Constables 5-year vision.
- Linked to the Health and Wellbeing agenda so that colleagues feel empowered and want to come to work.
- Strong Command structure now in place.
- Officers have a clear understanding of the Forces ‘Matters of Priority’ and this is being reflected in how they deal with the public and the positive comments we get back.
- A happy motivated workforce will give a better service to the public.
- The high attrition rate which is slowing down and a review of the Response shift pattern is underway.
- The estates strategy continues to support a growing workforce. Agile working has been successfully implemented and continues to be monitored.
- A strategic IAG has been re-established and is working well.
- A review and assessment of recruitment processes is ongoing to ensure that the future of the workforce has the character and aptitude which are aligned to the leadership ethos and principles.
- There was a discussion in relation to the plans mentioned in his report by the Chief Constable relating to a Northamptonshire Observatory.
ACTION – Chief Constable to provide a position statement on progress towards the Northamptonshire Observatory, highlighting progress and other agencies involved.
The Chief Constable presented a paper outlining some of the highlights on progress towards his 5-year vision, one year after publication.
The paper outlined progress in several areas, within the five high level outcomes or aspirations set out in the vision’s strategic roadmap:
- Quality of Service
- Prevention & Intervention
- Effective Strategic Partnerships
- Release Capacity &
- Healthy Culture
During the presentation there were discussions relating to the issue of positive outcomes and the longer-term vision for this, following initial improvements in the past year. Both the Chief Constable and Commissioner agreed there was scope for further improvements here.
The Commissioner challenged the Chief Constable in relation to the benefit that the public would see from the work being undertaken on the Force branding. The Chief Constable made the point that this work was aimed at setting an appropriate tone for the professionalism of the Force moving forwards, particularly in relation to service with an improved customer focus.
The Commissioner acknowledged the improvements the Force had made but reflected that there was still more to do; notably, putting the public first and improved outcomes, to deliver the outstanding Force that both he and the Chief Constable aspired to.
The Commissioner stated that he would have liked to have seen a more explicate reference to the Police Fire and Crime Plan in the document given that this is how he will evaluate the success of the Chief Constables vision.
4. Internal Audit
The Commissioner requires a report that outlines the internal audits from 2021/22. The report should include the overall findings, any recommendations made and whether these are accepted by the Force. Where this is the case, the report should include the progress made in relation to these and include projected completion timescales where not completed.
- A short paper was provided which explained the process in place to manage audit recommendations.
- These include the Force Assurance Board which is Chaired by the DCC and the Joint Independent Audit Committee (JIAC) which has an independent Chair.
- In 2021/22 six audits were completed making sixteen recommendations; six of these are ongoing and nine have been completed and closed.
- The Commissioner recognised the progress the Force has made regarding the oversight and scrutiny of audit recommendations.
- There was a discussion about the Released Under Investigation Audit.
- DCC Blatchly provided an update on the work the Force has done to reduce the backlog and improve systems in Custody.
- There was a discussion about NCALT training and how the Force is ensuring higher completion rates and more specifically with regard to the new Bail Act
- DCC advised that all future NCALT and College of Policing training will be updated to reflect the new Bail Act and early completion will be targeted towards relevant officers that are going to use it. Additional training time is being built into the shifts of Response Officers.
- The Seized Property audit made two recommendations which have been completed with mitigations in place to ensure any anomies are identified by the Evidential Property Team.
- The Commissioner raised some concern that over the past two years, 15 audits have taken place and over 50% have received a grade of limited assurance. He was therefore keen to know what steps the Force are taking to ensure this improves.
- DCC Blatchly provided some reassurance that it is an improving picture with much tighter governance and controls in place.
- The DCC acknowledge that the Internal Audit Recommendations Dashboard requires some housekeeping to remove out of date actions.
- The DCC agreed to take this away and ensure this happens.
Action – DCC Blatchly to ensure the Internal Audit Recommendations Dashboard is reviewed and tidied up, to reflect the current position.
Assurance Statement :
The paper presented to the Commissioner outlined the results of the internal audit regime for the Force over the past 12 months.
While acknowledging the fact that audits should be in many ways targeted at areas where there might be concerns or are high risk, the Commissioner did challenge the number of such audits over the past year where only limited levels of assurance had been provided.
DCC Blatchly provided assurance to the Commissioner that improvement had been made. He confirmed that the Force Assurance Board is now responsible for ensuring that where issues were identified in audits they are prioritised and rectified in a timely manner.
The Commissioner noted that there were a few areas such as seized property and NCALT training that regularly appeared on audit reports, and he expected these to be resolved and closed. He also acknowledged that improvements had been made to the overall management of these processes and as a result he had greater confidence in the monitoring measures that the Force now had in place.
- No further business was raised.