27 November, 2013

North Yorkshire Police publishes report into the organisation’s communications

North Yorkshire Police has today published an in-depth, independent report on the performance of the organisation’s communications.

The report was produced by communications consultancy, Finn Communications.

It details the findings of the audit and assesses the performance of organisational communications against examples of best practice of police communications, as well as feedback from a cross-section of staff, the media and other important stakeholders. Drawing upon the assessment, it sets out 33 recommendations on how the service can be improved.

The report was commissioned by Chief Constable, Dave Jones and Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan to make sure North Yorkshire Police’s communications were fit for purpose.

Joint statement from Dave Jones, Chief Constable, North Yorkshire Police, and Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire

“Communications are an essential element of operational support and contribute to the effectiveness of the police service as a whole, through the gathering of intelligence and information, crime prevention activities and engaging with the public. So we need to make sure that our communications are fit for purpose and stand up to the challenges facing the police, both today and in the future.

“We were pleased that the report recognises something we already know: that we have committed and proficient staff in the communications department, who understand the organisation, the media and other stakeholders.

“But the report also highlighted that communications staff have had to work in ‘very difficult circumstances with no support, development or training.

“In this context, the assessment of the performance of communications is not a criticism of the individual members of the communications staff. Rather, the report directs its criticism at North Yorkshire Police’s historic lack of prioritisation of communications at a senior level within the business and the absence of a Head of Communications with the required authority and executive buy-in to bring about change and improvements.

“We fully appreciate the need to transform the role of the communications within the organisation and will ensure that any future decisions to change the structure of the communications team or redefine individual job roles will be managed supportively and in consultation with the communications team.”

North Yorkshire Police last week started the process of recruiting a Head of Communications, which was a key recommendation of the report. The post holder will occupy a senior position within the leadership of North Yorkshire Police and will be empowered to develop and deliver communications strategy across the organisation.

The recommendation to merge the communications teams at NYP and the OPCC has been rejected – they will remain separate. This in itself demonstrates that the PCC and Chief Constable are taking a balanced approach to the recommendations and will assess them individually and fully.

Upon appointment, it will be the head of communications’ responsibility to quickly understand the report and make informed decisions on if and how each of the report’s recommendations will be taken forward.

A core function of the head of communications will be to ensure the operational independence of the Chief Constable, while making sure the Police and Crime Commissioner has the resources to execute her statutory duties.   

The report can be downloaded here: Corporate Communications Review





For further information, please contact Michael Sargood, public engagement officer, on 01423 569562 or email michael.sargood@northyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk