In 2019, rising budgets created an opportunity for Hertfordshire Constabulary to improve its service to the public and reduce crime. Chief Constable Charlie Hall knew that to capture this opportunity, he would need to support police and crime commissioner David Lloyd with a series of strategy and investment decisions – and his leadership team would also have to make shrewd organisational and operational decisions. Hertfordshire commissioned Leapwise to assess current governance and leadership decision-making and identify improvements.
A rapid diagnostic based on interviews, decision-metric analysis and meeting observations, identified huge strengths in decision making processes alongside three priority areas for development:
Leaders felt too many decisions were being escalated to the top of the organisation, reducing time for strategic decision-making
Over time, governance had grown complex – sometimes resulting in duplication or linked issues being dealt with in isolation
Meetings were absorbing significant senior time and leaders wanted them to be more focused on decision-making
To make quick progress on these issues and set the course to take advantage of rising budgets, Hertfordshire worked with Leapwise in three main areas:
Defining new approaches to two its most critical leadership meetings (chief officers meeting and ‘Organisational Development Board’). Supported by Leapwise, Chairs clarified meeting purposes, participants, decision roles and frequency, and selected tools and techniques from Leapwise governance and meeting effectiveness toolkit.
Running strategy workshops to set out the direction of travel for the force, and define the decisions the senior team would need to make in their key governance forums in the coming year.
Establishing a new strategic hub to provide ongoing input on strategic issues and support delivery of the refreshed force strategy
The quality of governance meeting measurably improved as a result of changes. The perceived impact of the two senior meetings on team and organisational effectiveness roughly doubled (see graphic below). Reduced numbers of participants and reduced time on lower-value activities, meanwhile saved time – estimated to create non-cashable savings in the region of £71,000 and £91,000 per annum. The new strategic hub that was established and is still in operation nearly 3 years later.
The biggest gains, however, were made through the conversations about the big decisions required for the coming period. Based on these – and the direction of Mr Lloyd – the force has embarked on a comprehensive programme of work based around a ‘Prevention First’ approach to policing. Plans are developing to ensure robust decision-making as the programme takes shape and develops.
As Mr. Hall put it:
“Leapwise and their toolkits have helped the constabulary to improve strategic decision making and empowerment throughout the organisation. This has given us a sharper focus on how to design and then deliver the organisational changes being planned over the next two years.”
Hertfordshire is now well into implementation of its Prevention First initiative, which is drawing increasing attention from the NPCC, College of Policing and HMICFRS as innovative practice.
Increase in Organisational Performance
161% increase in positive impact on organisational performance
Increase in Team Performance
45% increase in positive impact on team performance.
Increase in Agenda Relevance
87% increase in number of participants who see more than 60% of the agenda relevant to them
Meeting participants reported major improvements in meeting performance
(Before and after survey results, average ratings out of 5 across 2 meetings)
Clarity of purpose
- Before (3.1)
- After (4.2)
Clarity of outcomes
- Before (3.2)
- After (4)