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05/2012 – Policies and Procedures – 22 November 2012

Executive Summary and recommendation:

The former Police Authority had a number of policies and procedures in place in connection with the Authority’s own activities and staff. These have been revised and updated to reflect the change in governance regime brought about by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 and are recommended to the Commissioner for adoption in connection with her own activities and staff under her direction and control.

Police and Crime Commissioner Decision

Approved

jm-signature
22 November 2012

Unrestricted facts and advice to the PCC

Introduction and background

The former Police Authority had in place the following policies and procedures in respect of its own activities and its own support staff where, for various reasons, it was inappropriate to follow the process in place within North Yorkshire Police.

  • Complaints procedure for staff
  • Review of decisions under Freedom of Information Act

In addition, the Authority’s Media Protocol and the Monitoring Officer protocol have been updated as part of the transition process to the new governance model.

It is recommended that the PCC adopts these policies and procedures during the early stages of her office, with the acknowledgement that she might need to change them in due course to reflect her way of operating or other circumstances.

Matters for consideration

Freedom of Information (FOI)

The Office of Police and Crime Commissioner is an agency in its own right in respect of the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, as separately is the Chief Constable. It is would be normal practice for the Commissioner to expect the Chief Executive and/or his staff to respond to requests for information under FOI, where necessary taking legal advice.

However, the Act requires agencies to have a mechanism whereby people dissatisfied with initial responses to requests for information to have those decisions reviewed by parties unconnected with the earlier decision. The procedure at Appendix A is recommended to the Commissioner for adoption to deal with these matters.

Complaints about staff

Complaints about the conduct or otherwise of police officers and staff under the direction and control of the Chief Constable are dealt with in accordance with Regulations made under the Police Reform Act 2002 as amended by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. This provides a statutory regime under which such complaints are dealt with by the Chief Constable in all cases other than those relating to the Chief Constable himself.

However, that regime does not apply to staff under the direction and control of the governing body, previously the Police Authority and now the Police and Crime Commissioner, where a separate procedure needs to be in place. Appendix B sets out the procedure which is recommended for adoption.

Other policies relating to staff

North Yorkshire Police has in place a number of other policies and procedures relating to recruitment, management and discipline of staff under the direction and control of the Chief Constable.

It is recognised that all non-warranted posts within the North Yorkshire Police Service are technically employees of the Police and Crime Commissioner. However, s15 of the Police Act and the requirements of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act places the vast majority of those staff under the direction and control of the Chief Constable. Accordingly, the Chief Constable has the right to impose conditions of service and other HR related policies on staff working under his direction and control.
However, the Police and Crime Commissioner, through operation of law, operates outside that direction and control environment and needs to have full discretion over levels and deployment of resources, including HR resources, in order to satisfy the statutory functions of the office.

There needs, therefore, to be a clear understanding, between the PCC and North Yorkshire Police of the policy framework under which the Commissioner and the Chief Constable each engage, manage, remunerate and discipline staff.

The practice in all police governing bodies who employ their own staff (as opposed to those bodies who have agreements with other agencies to provide support staff) is that the policy framework for the engagement and management of those staff is recognised as being distinct from the Force they oversee. Whilst those Authorities seek, in establishing their own employment framework for their own staff, seek to apply parallel practices to those in operation within the Force, there is a clear recognition that ALL decision making within that framework is outside the direction and control of the Chief Constable or staff under his direction and control.

These principles will be all the more important for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, where the PCC will wish to have almost complete freedom to create, and be held accountable for, establishing and managing a support structure which is distinct from the Force they oversee. They may wish to be innovative in the models they deploy for such a structure and will require full discretion, within the law, in how that structure operates.

This position will be fully established following the separation of staffing at Stage 2 transfer, when both the PCC and the CC will operate as ‘corporations sole’ and employers in their own right. However, until that point, a clear understanding needs to be in place on the basis under which the PCC will manage staffing issues.

It is recommended that, until a Stage 2 Transfer scheme is effected, the Commissioner should agree, when dealing with matters concerning the PCC’s staff and where other policies are not already in place, to apply those policies in operation within NYP so far as they protect the direction and control of the PCC over her dedicated resources and, where compliance with these policies is not appropriate, to apply the spirit and purpose of those policies.

Media Protocol

The former Police Authority had in place a protocol governing the relationship with North Yorkshire Police and their respective relationships and activities with the broadcast media.

This document has been thoroughly updated and refreshed to reflect the very different relationship the PCC will have with the media, given the level of public accountability assumed by the role. It has also been updated to set some parameters for the use of social media. This protocol is at Appendix C and is recommended for adoption by the Commissioner.

Monitoring Officer Protocol

Since 2005, the former Police Authority has had in place a protocol with the Chief Constable governing the way in which the Authority’s Monitoring Officer fulfilled those statutory functions, especially in connection with decisions that are taken within North Yorkshire Police, by the Chief Constable, but in the name of the Authority. In essence, this was achieved by the Monitoring Officer relying on the Force Head of Legal Services acting as his agent in ensuring that there was no unlawfulness or maladministration in the way in which decisions were reached or in those decisions themselves.

The Chief Executive has sought to update this protocol in the light of the new governance regime. It is only fair to say that there are some elements of the protocol which the current Chief Constable is uncomfortable with and these issues will need to be resolved early in the PCC’s term of office. However, in the interim, I recommend that the PCC needs to have something in place to secure the performance of this important statutory responsibility and therefore the updated protocol at Appendix D is recommended for adoption.

OTHER OPTIONS CONSIDERED, IF ANY

None.

CONTRIBUTION TO POLICE AND CRIME PLAN OUTCOMES

All these recommendations are designed to establishing effective and efficient governance arrangements within the police service and to enable the Commissioner to fulfil her functions.

CONSULTATIONS CARRIED OUT

In connection with recommendations 2.1 and 2.2, consultation has been carried out with Authority/PCC staff.

In connection with recommendations 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5 consultation has been carried out with Authority/PCC staff and senior officers within North Yorkshire Police.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS/VALUE FOR MONEY

None

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

None other than highlighted in paragraph 2 above.

EQUALITY IMPLICATIONS

Minimal.

Tick to confirm statement √
Director/Chief Officer Jeremy Holderness has reviewed the request and is satisfied that it is correct and consistent with the NYPCC’s plans and priorities.
Legal Advice Legal advice has been sought on this proposal and is considered not to expose the PCC to risk of legal challenge.
Financial Advice The CC CFO has both been consulted on this proposal, for which budgetary provision already exists or is to be made in accordance with Part 1 or Part 2 of this Notice
Equalities Advice An assessment has been made of the equality impact of this proposal. Either there is considered to be minimal impact or the impact is outlined in Part1 or Part2 of this Notice.
I confirm that all the above advice has been sought and received and I am satisfied that this is an appropriate request to be submitted for a decision Signature Chief Officer Resource – Jeremy Holderness Date 22 November 2012
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