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PCPs: what’s happening elsehwere and what does the future hold? Hertfordshire scrutiny group, 19 March 2014 Jessica Crowe Executive Director, Centre for Public Scrutiny. Contents. Who are CfPS and what is our role? What’s happening elsewhere?

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PCPs: what’s happening elsehwere and what does the future hold?

Hertfordshire scrutiny group, 19 March 2014

Jessica Crowe

Executive Director, Centre for Public Scrutiny

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Contents

Who are CfPS and what is our role?

What’s happening elsewhere?

  • ‘Police and Crime Panels: the first year’ (CfPS 2014)
  • Doing the basics
  • Being proactive
  • Support and resourcing

What might the future hold?

  • Steps for PCPs and PCCs
  • National policy
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Who are CfPS?

Founded in 2003 to:

  • Advocate and promote the concept of scrutiny
  • Provide practical guidance and development
  • Facilitate national networks
  • Create a national centre of expertise

Now a charity, we provide:

  • On-line services (on-line library, scrutiny exchange, e-newsletters, blog, twitter)
  • Training, facilitation, action learning, improvement support
  • Publications and events
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what’s our role in relation to PCPs?

  • Carried out only major evaluation of the first year of operation of PCPs: ‘PCPs: the first year’ (CfPS 2014)
  • Provided bespoke support and training for a number of PCPs
  • Produced (jointly with LGA) three sets of guidance for PCPs to support their setting up and first steps
  • Now developing a proposal to support neighbourhood policing and greater public involvement with policing priorities
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What’s happening elsewhere: Headlines from CfPS research

  • Success/failure depends on quality of relationships: PCP/PCC/OPCC
  • Relationship problems often stem from mutual misunderstanding of PCP role
  • Resourcing is a constraint “but only where Panels are seeking to be more ambitious about their role”
  • Issues around transparency and information sharing (41 PCCs not compliant with statutory publishing duties)
  • Only just over 50% of Panels have gone beyond statutory requirements to do more proactive work
  • Panels have low public visibility
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What’s happening elsewhere:

1. doing the basics

  • Dealing with non-criminal complaints
  • Not a major burden but some concern that could grow
  • Most received to date are not actual ‘complaints’
  • Holding confirmation hearings
  • High-profile (and caused friction) in some areas
  • Chief Constable veto power is substantial in theory, but in practice…?
  • Panels have struggled to carry out hearings in ways which add value
  • Scrutinising the budget and precept
  • Major difficulties due to late DCLG notice re threshold for referenda
  • Issues over some PCCs sharing financial information
  • Scrutinising the Police and Crime Plan
  • Hampered by disagreements over ‘operational’ and ‘strategic’
  • Some Panels are innovating in how they approach this
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What’s happening elsewhere:

2. being proactive

  • 1. Thematic Panel meetings
  • 2-3 PCC objectives per meeting
  • Derbyshire, Merseyside, West Midlands (PCC procurement) + others
  • 2. Task and finish working groups
  • 10+ Panels are already doing or are planning to do this
  • Cleveland (community safety in schools)
  • Sussex (acting as sounding board for PCC work to support victims)
  • 3. Developing a ‘rapporteur’ role for individual members
  • Dorset – individual members taking specific lead responsibilities
  • 4. Setting up sub-groups to help prepare for statutory duties
  • Several Panels have set up precept / budget sub-groups
  • Cleveland and Sussex (and others)
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What’s happening elsewhere:

3. support and resourcing

  • Most have needed more than 4 meetings a year
  • Variety of allowance arrangements (from £0-£10k)
  • Independent members seem less well-supported
  • Membership evolving – leaders and executive members resigning (time commitment and expectations)
  • Training could help (policing budgets, questioning skills)
  • Officer support varies:
    • Specific officer recruited for the role
    • Backfilling lead authority’s existing Democratic Services staff (majority taken this approach)
    • Support from Community Safety team
    • Variety of staff support, coordinated by Head of Legal or similar
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What might the future hold?

1. Steps for PCPs and PCCs

  • Relationship-building
    • Early problems mostly now resolved but still needs work
    • Reach agreements to supplement Policing Protocol around information-sharing and mutual expectations
  • Prioritisation and collaboration
    • Prioritising any proactive work to match resources available
    • Build relationships with CSP to collaborate and scrutinise at right level on right issues
  • Building public profile
    • Dedicated public-facing websites (Thames Valley, Cumbria)
    • Web-casting meetings to raise profile and impact (Surrey)
    • Picking topics of public interest and relevance
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What might the future hold?

2. National policy uncertain

  • Theresa May: first year of PCCs “mixed” but here to stay
  • Home Office dismissed concerns re future PCP funding
  • Stevens Commission (set up by Labour) concluded:
    • “the PCC model is systemically flawed as a method of democratic governance and should be discontinued in its present form at the end of the term of office of the 41 serving PCCs.”
    • Recommends elected Police Boards of council leaders (or alternatively mix of directly / indirectly elected members).
    • Critical of PCPs’ effectiveness in scrutinising PCC appointments and dismissals but silent on what might replace them
  • Senior Labour figures have called for PCC abolition but latest policy consultation paper is silent on issue
  • Lib Dems have been lukewarm but no clarity yet for future
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Further information

CfPS/LGA guidance on role and composition, and on confirmation hearings

CfPS research: Police and crime panels: the first year (2014)

Range of scrutiny resources available through www.cfps.org.uk eg on questioning skills

www.pcps-direct.net – new resource for PCP staff / members

Ed Hammond (020) 7187 7369, ed.hammond@cfps.org.uk