Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100

Strategic Direction 2014-15

Statement Publish: March 2014
This note is written to provide clarity to partners and the public regarding the Commissioner’s and the Constabulary’s cycle of strategic planning and related documentation. Until the advent of Police and Crime Commissioners the strategic planning cycle began with an Annual Policing Plan as published by the Police Authority, from which an Operational Plan could be developed by the Constabulary. Police and Crime Plans – the documents which Police and Crime Commissioners must publish, at law, to set the strategic direction for policing and crime in the county – do not and need not have the same function as the old, Annual Policing Plans. It is not the intention of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire to produce an annual document, but to revise the Police and Crime Plan as and when it is most appropriate to do so. As such this changes the strategic planning cycle and the relationship between the high-level strategic documentation of the respective elected and executive bodies.

Further context
The first Police and Crime Plan for Hertfordshire, Everybody’s Business, set out both a sense of transition to the new governance arrangements of a Police and Crime Commissioner in the county (not least in the chapter entitled ‘Building on Success’ – noting strong performance and marking the requirement for stable improvement) and also a programme of culture change in three areas which are important to the Commissioner. These three areas are discussed under discrete headings in Everybody’s Business as ‘Public Focus’, ‘Offender Pays’ and ‘Business Sense’.

While there are commitments to specific projects under the above three headings in Everybody’s Business, some of which will have been completed and others of which are in train, these three areas of strategic direction remain in place. The progress of specific projects will be programme managed by the Commissioner’s staff using an established format, which aims to provide clarity to all partners and delivery agents.

The overarching cultural change programme: designing services around the public and around victims; a shift in the responsibility taken by the offender for their actions; a twin commitment to both a more businesslike use of public resources and a greater focus on partnership with the business community; all remain the overarching strategic direction set by the Commissioner to the Constabulary and to partners in the realm of policing and crime. There is still much to do to deliver such major shifts in culture.

New responsibilities for Commissioners
Since the publication of Everybody’s Business there have been changes to the delegated powers and responsibilities of Police and Crime Commissioners, not least regarding commissioning of victims’ services and the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda. As 2014 will be a year of transition for all partners with a stake in these issues, it is adjudged that revised strategic documentation from the Police and Crime Commissioner will be most relevant and useful to partners and the public as and when the transition phases closes, closer to 2015.

Such timing may also correspond with new policy drives, for example there is currently some exploration of a theme of cross-partnership early intervention and prevention and a view to strengthening the partnership approach to tackling youth crime and domestic abuse. The Commissioner will consult on, and publish detail of, any such new policies as appropriate.

Constabulary performance targets and measures
The current publication of Everybody’s Business includes an annex of performance targets and measures for the Constabulary, relevant to the performance year, 2013/14. Such metrics support the operational leadership of the constabulary and were core to strategic governance arrangements under the Police Authority. As such, it was under some pressure from partners and consultees that this section was included, continuing this inherited methodology, in the Commissioner’s first Police and Crime Plan.

Of course, preventing crime and reducing the number of victims must be at the heart of the work of the Commissioner, the Constabulary and all partners in the crime and community safety spheres. Furthermore it is also envisaged that analysis of performance data will continue to be a significant tool with which the Commissioner is held to account by the public and how the Chief Constable is held to account by the Commissioner, on behalf of the public. Yet, there is some doubt as to the value of a Police and Crime Commissioner routinely setting targets; the emphasis must be on strong operational policing which is not driven by targets and accountability based on intelligent scrutiny of performance. 

Annual Report
The Commissioner will continue to publish an Annual Report, mid-year, which will provide an opportunity for scrutiny, performance analysis and reflection. It will also provide a place to reset the emphasis of the strategic direction should this be appropriate.
In summary:
1. The Commissioner will not be publishing a new iteration of the Police and Crime Plan for 2014/15, changing the current reporting cycle, but providing the Constabulary with a longer operational planning horizon.

2. In the interests of producing an annual constabulary Operational Plan, the current publication of Everybody’s Business and its three key development areas (Public Focus, Offender Pays and Business Sense) remains the current strategic direction.

3. Specific projects as described in Everybody’s Business will be programme-managed on an ongoing basis by the Commissioner’s office.  Where these projects involve the constabulary, top-level governance will take place at Strategic Executive Board meetings.

4. When the transition phases of Commissioners’ new responsibilities and the development of major new policy drives are complete, the Commissioner will publish a revision of Everybody’s Business, providing coherent strategic direction for policing and crime in the county for all partners.

5. Performance targets will not be set by the Commissioner for the Constabulary in 2014/15. As in 2013/14, the Chief Constable will propose a suite of performance measures and the operational plan that will deliver against the Commissioner’s strategic objectives.

6. The Commissioner will continue to scrutinise Constabulary performance in the usual ways, including through the continued publication of an annual report.