This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How to train your (dragon)

I watched a delightful film over Christmas called 'How to train your dragon' which I highly recommend. Essentially it is about boy who becomes a hero - but in a rather quirky way. The film is (loosely) based on a series of books by Cressida Cowell which have all received brilliant reviews.

There is no real connection here to what I have been doing today (I really just wanted to fit in plug for some wonderful story telling) except that the hero in the book and film faces the challenge of either training his dragon or being trained by it...

There is perhaps a loose connection to one of the outcomes of the PCC summit that happened in the Guildhall, London today.

The meeting today was the first big get-together of the PCCs, their deputies / assistants and chief execs. Also present were the Police Minister Damian Green, members of the Home Office and several other speakers such as Chief Superintendent Derek Barnett. It was organised and hosted by the APCC (the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners). Critically, today was the day when the PCCs considered the offer made by the APCC to become the national organisation which represents them. (Their proposal can be found here, although I have been told by the APCC that this has since been revised, although I do not know how.)

Today, I and a CoPaCC colleague had an extended meeting nearby, where we discussed the formation of CoPaCC and related matters. We wanted to make ourselves available to any PCCs who might wish to have a face to face conversation about the offer that CoPaCC is making to become the leading body to support PCCs in their role.

It transpired that at the meeting of PCCs, they decided to explore the development of the APCC by establishing a steering group to shape the APCC to meet their current and future requirements. This steering group has yet to be selected although I understand that it will consist of three Conservative, three Labour and three Independent PCCs.

Of course I won't be involved in this steering group. But I did wonder, if I were, what questions I would be seeking answers to:
  • What design principles need to underpin the shape and structure of the APCC?
  • In other words, for the APCC to be a successful representative body, what does the structure itself have to deliver?
  • How can the APCC be so designed so that it meets the needs of PCCs now but also in the future? 
  • How can the APCC remain adaptable to the shifting requirements of PCCs (as they will surely shift as time goes on)?
  • What core does the APCC need to have in order to function as an organisation and what parts of it might be thought of as a flexible and on-demand resource? 
  • What budget will the APCC need to have for it to be viable?
  • Where will this budget come from? 
  • Will PCCs be the sole source of funding and/or will the Home Office wish to part fund the organisation? 
  • Will there be a need to generate income from other sources (such as conference sponsorship) and will this have any impact on the independence of the APCC?
  • How will the APCC be governed: one PCC one vote? Or will the votes be distributed on a 'pro rata' basis according to the size of the PCC's budget?
  • Will other police services be entitled to 'seats at the table' (such at the British Transport Police, the new National Crime Agency or the City of London Police)?
  • Where will the APCC be based, if it is to have a base at all?
  • Overall, how will the PCCs ensure the APCC is their organisation: trained and sculpted to meet their needs?

I wish the steering group well and look forward to finding out more about the emergent organisation.

1 comment:

  1. I add these points, not least as a former PA member and Prof of Criminology who specialises in the police.

    Is APCC sufficiently distanced from the Home Office to be wholly independent? I believe the Home Office funds APCC at the moment, which does not auger well.

    Does APCC have staff in place who are experienced experts in and a proven track record of police consultancy/research? Their web site does not indicate as much. It is surely essential?

    Are they to be a negotiating body, a sort of professional association? This is very different from the provision of advice/ consultancy/research services that make a real difference to PCCs' work.

    I am wondering if ex-politicians see this as a joint negotiating body. If so, thought needs to be given to how cross-party agreements will be negotiated within APCC and the time this will take.

    There is a sort of logic that leads this kind of body to be one with a Chair, sub-committees, each chaired by a PCC, interest groups, each chaired by a Deputy PCC, and so it goes on. A great deal of public money is used to undertake this work. ACPO is a example of what might occur.

    How does localism square with the proposal?