Reinventing public services for citizens' use (I)
This article was first published in Reform’s 2017 Annual Conference brochure. To read more articles, click here.
Facing some of the biggest funding reductions in the UK, West Midlands Police has consciously embraced innovation. In 2014 we established an Innovation and Integration Partnership with global consultants Accenture. The first of its kind in UK policing, the partnership ensures world-class innovation within public-sector margins. The five-year partnership builds capability in stages of increasing sophistication; an ambitious operational blueprint, next-generation enabling services and increasingly agile ways of working, positioning us to achieve ground-breaking capabilities by 2020.
From the way in which the public contact the force, to how we respond, investigate and prevent re-offending, this ambitious programme of work radically overhauls all aspects of business with people and technology at its heart. The blueprint is built upon extensive consultation with the workforce, partners and communities. It influences our culture, values, leadership, technology, services, systems and processes, building a cohesive model based upon four foundation principles:
Designed to Listen & Learn – adopting a new approach to working with the public, partners and each other.
Geared to Prevent Harm – preventing crime and offending before people can be harmed.
Prepared to Respond at Pace – adopting a more agile, mobile and effective response to problems in communities.
Ready to Learn & Adapt – becoming a more active and innovative learning organisation.
All of the above principles are underpinned by putting our people at the heart of what we do. Each business case is meticulously considered and benefits-focused with Accenture contractually bound to deliver benefits, yet not guaranteed commissioning opportunities. Staff participate at every stage, from design to delivery, and at all levels from executive sponsor to practitioner change agent. Accenture’s contractual obligations extend to business readiness, ensuring support and preparedness throughout. The scale and pace of change is staggering with over 30 projects live at any time.
Accenture’s global technology expertise has enabled rapid development. Cloud-based systems underpin our enabling services, seamlessly connecting resource-management with HR, Finance and Technology Services. Apps are intuitive for the most technology-shy and our Digital Experience for Citizens portal has been road-tested with real Midlanders aged 15 to 83! With a familiar look and feel it will absorb volume demand and intuitively signpost services, yet quickly identify vulnerability and need.
Stage one of the new operating model was achieved in November 2016:
- Bringing Intelligence, 999 and 101 call functions together to enable intervention-focused call and incident management.
- Provision of body-worn video and sophisticated mobile data to first responders, reducing return-to-base restrictions.
- Introduction of modern, agile working principles with estates refurbishment and state of the art custody facilities.
- Development of force-wide Response and Support functions supporting dedicated Neighbourhood Policing Units, enabling an Intervention and Prevention focus.
- 24/7 real time intelligence provision to add real value to all calls for service and centralised Mission Support to ensure prioritisation of resources force wide.
Already the new model has improved call grading and threat assessment, reduced response pressures and enabled a global approach to resource planning. Staff have grasped new technologies, making fabulous use of apps to streamline the demands of paperwork, addressing vulnerability through intelligent referral and embracing better use of buildings to free up nearly 50 per cent of expensive space. Dedicated neighbourhood staff are released from resourcing operations to focus upon meaningful intervention activity alongside successful offender management teams.
As we take stock and look to 2020, we are exploring the opportunities inherent in national capabilities like the emergency services mobile communications programme (ESMCP), the National Law Enforcement Data Programme (NDLEP), and the Specialist Capabilities Programme whilst also leading the way in a consortium of forces developing a national big data analytics solution.