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.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

17 ways to assess your PCC

A few days ago, I wrote a blog about how the performance of PCCs might be assessed. You can read it here. I have now had a chance to think of 17 ways in which PCCs might be comprehensively measured. Here they are:
  1. Given that they are elected, PCCs should first be measured against what they promised to achieve in their campaign literature / manifesto. This of course was hugely variable with some campaign statements talking about whisky, hops & scented roses and nothing about policing or crime. Others made such vague statements to make it almost impossible to assess their progress. But it is where I would start.
  2. They should of course be assessed against their legally defined role. On the Gov.UK site this is defined as "PCCs are elected to make sure that local police meet the needs of the community". So how is your PCC operationalising that measure? Their role is more than simply that of course...
  3. One of the tasks of a PCC is to appoint an effective (if not superlative) Chief Constable. So one measure of a PCC is just how good the appointed Chief Constable is. Not all PCCs will do this (although I suspect most will in the course of their tenure). And how do you measure the 'goodness' of a Chief Constable? Answers on a postcard please...
  4. An allied measure to this, I would contend, is the quality of the relationship between a PCC and their CC. Judging this of course is hard to do although we can see evidence of where the relationships have been somewhat, shall we say, strained... However there would be occasions where both PCC and CC are present which could provide some (body language?) indicators of the quality of this relationship, perhaps.
  5. Another key task is setting a robust budget that matches the police & crime plan. Is there consistency between budget and plan. Is the plan working?
  6. As my previous blog has said, the link between PCC action and reductions in actual crime is at best tenuous... but of course it may be that is how the voting public may well judge the success of the PCC in question. But all crime or certain categories? 
  7. Public engagement is surely something to pay attention to: the best PCCs will be out meeting their public and engaging them in a dialogue about the future of policing and crime in their area. This can be measured purely on the basis of volume: has the PCC been 'out there'? Moreover can they evidence paying attention to what their public have said and acted upon their concerns? 
  8. Whilst the PCC has limited influence over what the constabulary does, they do all manage their Office for the Police & Crime Commissioner. So one measure of a PCC is how well do they run their own ship? Is the OPCC effective, efficient, transparent etc?
  9. All PCCs are bound by the 7 Nolan Principles and their Oath. (Here is a link to the Cheshire PCC's website with this information). One way to assess a PCC is to see if their integrity measures up well against these principles & oath.
  10. Of course, while they made their campaign promises, new issues arise and the deft PCC will be able to respond to them with elan. But how do you actually measure what I will call 'strategic responsiveness'
  11. Another measure is mere presence: have they been around enough? Or have they carried on being a councillor and/or part time PCC? Have they ensconced themself onto various national bodies and spent too much time away from the area?
  12. Although I am not sure again how this might be measured (perhaps a 360 degree process?), but has the PCC engaged successfully in partnership and collaborative initiatives? By their presence and contribution have they helped the teams become more than the sum of their individual parts? Or not...
  13. Have they commissioned the 'and crime' services successfully? Is the performance of these various suppliers evidencing effective commissioning and management processes, or not? 
  14. Has the PCC developed a positive public profile? Do people know who the PCC is, what they do and stand for...maybe even what they look like? 
  15. A crude measure in 2016 (assuming we still have PCCs then) will be whether more people come out to vote. That at least would be a numeric measure of their impact.
  16. How many complaints has the PCC had to deal with? Have they been subject to any kind of audit / action by the Police & Crime Panel?
  17. Has the PCC themself paid any attention at all to the need for the public to have a way of measuring their performance? Has the PCC ever invited feedback on how well they are doing and what they might do to improve? Does the PCC provide any data to the public which would help citizens do this? In short, does the PCC care about making their performance public?
So those are my 17 measures. What would you add

...and 18. They are kind to children and animals - especially police dogs! #Dontditchthedogs

1 comment:

  1. Interesting list. I think rather my number 18 would be to ask the opinion of those serving within each Force. All ranks, all roles. They see a side no one else does & its part of the picture.