A recent study by the Police Federation highlighted that successive budget cuts since 2010 had led to 22,000 fewer officers and that the "once revered British model of policing is currently on its knees and facing extinction".
The unyielding axe to public spending has now spanned best part of a decade, an epoch where public sector leaders have been forced to consider ever-more inventive ways to do more with less, yet still deliver core services to their communities.
As a company that works with more than 40 per cent of all British and Irish police constabularies, Crown Workforce Management has experienced this impact first-hand and helped them in developing organisational delivery mechanisms to put their people in the right place at the right time, albeit with a lighter presence.
It is a quandary that faces all public sector executives, how can we do more with less? When lean management is on the brink of emaciation, can we undertake further organisational change that will allow the ‘machine’ to continue to operate without breaking down completely?
Here, we examine how our policing partners have approached this conundrum when public and officer safety has to be balanced with the delivery of essential services. What strategies has the thin blue line applied to remain effective under pressure?
West Midlands Police
Crown Workforce Management won the contract to supply England’s second largest police force with its time and attendance and rostering software.
The system underpins its 2020 transformation programme – a radical force-wide review which will deliver a new policing model incorporating culture and values, leadership, technology, services and systems and processes.
It is the biggest reorganisation ever undertaken by the force, which has more than 10,800 employees, including 6,944 police officers, 3,131 police staff, 506 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and 303 Special Constables. West Midlands Police needed a duty management system that would fully integrate with other IT applications and assist new working requirements – such as rostering – needed to fit the expectations of WMP2020.
This root and branch approach is giving WMP the opportunity to ‘reimagine’ itself for a new era. The strategic approach has been thorough not simply to address spending but also to consider how it does business in a new era where new demands compete against traditional expectations. At its heart is service delivery is underpinned by integration across business areas.
Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley Police
The Crown Duty Management solution is an integral part of an IT solution which has allowed three police organisations to join forces for greater collaborative working.
The Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley Police, is based on a Microsoft Dynamics platform which is delivered by KPMG Crimsonwing.
The software solution is being rolled out to more than 18,000 employees – assisting greater collaboration and improved flexibility via mobile working using ‘the cloud’.
The solution comprises the following elements; finance, fleet, procurement, HR, learning and development & payroll. Crown provides the duty management & rostering functionality.
This approach applied economies of scale with efficiencies. Shared services across three force areas provides a foundation on which front-line services can be applied, ensuring a continuity of resource allocation across neighbouring force areas. This approach also allowed specialist resources with defined areas of expertise to be grouped and applied accordingly.
Automating and Improving Processes
Greater Manchester Police
In its drive to deliver more effective services to the public, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) identified that it needed to adapt the methods through which it managed its duty rosters and officer availability. The existing manual based approach was causing cross-departmental business processes to be unduly complicated. Additionally, multiple data entry activities resulted in inconsistent data and delays in information being available for management purposes.
GMP identified that an automated approach would move it closer to its goals and a Crown Duty Management System was chosen.
Looking at what we do and how we can do it better, particularly through an established programme of review, allows an organisation to take stock and identify if efficiencies can be can be made, improving processes, productivity and cost-saving.
The three examples demonstrate a range of different approaches – from the wide-reaching to a specific process-led review – but all embrace change which affect the bigger picture.
It could be said that the police service has always embraced change. Its drivers: political, technological and cultural have determined those requirements, from changes of Government and Home Office policy, to the changing nature of crime and how it is addressed. New and exacting standards, governance, transparency, checks and balances have triggered wholesale change…a constant flux of requirements that never stop.
Policing is resilient – even when faced with the unprecedented financial constraints that have challenged all our public services. The thin blue line maybe thinner than before but its resilience is a blueprint for evolving organisations everywhere.
To download our free white paper on The Workforce Management Renaissance within the Public Sector visit www.crownworkforcemanagement.com/the-workforce-management-renaissance
For more information on Crown Workforce Management visit www.crownworkforcemanagement.com