Police Accountability Board Notes 11th August 2020

Office of Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime CommissionerNorthants Police Logo




 11th August 2020


1. Welcome and introductions


Stephen Mold (SM)

Paul Fell (PF)

Nicci Marzec (NM)

Helen King (HK)

Louise Sheridan (LS)


Nick Adderley (NA)

Simon Nickless (SN)

Simon Blatchly (SB),

Vaughn Ashcroft (VA)

Colleen Rattigan (CR)

Mark Behan (MB)

  • SM welcomed everyone to the meeting.
  • Apologies were accepted from James Andronov (JA), Pauline Sturman (PS), Paul Bullen (PB)

2. Previous minutes and action log

  • Minutes of previous meeting were circulated with the meeting papers. No changes have been requested
  • Outstanding actions from the Action Log have been updated.

3. Budget Outturn position

  • The Commissioner requested a report that outlines a full financial outturn position for the financial year 2019/2020 for Northamptonshire Police Budget
  • Vaughan Ashcroft provided an overview of the provisional revenue outturn and capital budget.
  • The approved 2019/20 Revenue Budget for the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire was £130.174m.
  • The provisional net underspend of £0.530m has been ring-fenced in reserves to support the costs of COVID-19 incurred in 20/21, with the residual balance transferred to the General Reserve.
  • In 2019/20, the Force is looking to claim £58k against a government Covid-19 grant. This is for additional PPE costs incurred between lockdown and 27th July as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and additional costs have been incurred in 2020/21. The sum of £0.5m has been ring fenced in reserves to help mitigate this and it is not yet known how much of this will be repaid.
  • There was a discussion about the Op Talla team and their early handling of the pandemic.
  • The Commissioner thanked the Op Talla team and congratulated the Force on swiftly dealing with the PPE issue in the early days, ensuring officers had the appropriate equipment to keep them safe.
  • It was agreed that Vaughan will refresh the predicted Covid spend calculations accepting that it is heavily caveated against the risk of further lockdowns or changing advice from the government or the NPCC.
  • The Chief Constable will discuss revised principles for transport and travel budgets given more home working and use of conference calls in the future.
  • VA updated that the 2018/19 Police and PFCC accounts have been signed and the only except for qualification related to MFSS and Value for Money.

Action VA to review Covid-19 costs likely to be incurred through 2020/21

Action NA to review current transport and travel budgets.

  • Vaughan talked through all operational areas and provided a detailed explanation where an underspend or overspend was recorded.
  • There was a discussion about the Criminal Justice Department and an EMCJS review. The Commissioner asked to see the review when it is received.

Action MB to share EMCJS review with SM when received.

  • There was a discussion about the improvements that have been made to Custody. The recent addition of three PACE inspectors will be further bolstered by a Chief Inspector.
  • There was a discussion about an overspend within Intervention/Prevention some of which was offset by an underspend on Specials and volunteers.
  • It was noted that Special constables are a much valued and respected resource and the Commissioner is keen to ensure that investment in them is maintained.
  • There was a discussion about an overspend in the Information Services Department (ISD) and some inconsistency in dual running costs.
  • Have seen a good decommissioning plan but need to be finalised and agreed through the Digital Strategy Board.

Action PF will speak to PB who chairs that meeting for clarity on what the situation is.

Action HK will work with VA to provide the detail in respect of the additional data costs highlighted in the 2020/21 budget and 2019/20 monitoring discussions earlier in the year.

Action VA to update wording in future reports to reflect the discussion

  • Multi Force Shared Service (MFSS) and Operations Contingency was discussed.
  • There was a discussion about overtime with a useful table provided which contained a lot of additional detail.
  • It was noted that Bank holiday overtime is charged to Police Pay and is the largest area of expenditure but does not represent ‘overtime’ in the traditional sense.
  • It is anticipated that the implementation of the new Force structure identified by FP20/FP25 and the continued growth in officer establishment will reduce the overtime budget further over time.
  • The Force is still on target to achieve a £300k saving following a review of working practices. This will also ensure that the savings are sustainable.
  • Scrutiny across the organisation will continue along with the ambition to further devolve budgets and provide greater ownership.
  • VA and HK regularly review the Capital Budget to ensure it looks reasonable. It is also reviewed by SN in Change Steering Group.
  • The Commissioner commended the work that has been done to grip the revenue spend on some areas such as overtime and capital budget of the Force.
  • The Commissioner reminded the Force that it needs to remain focussed on the disposal of some non-required assets at the appropriate time.
  • Overall the report presents a solid position along with the ability to invest in people, equipment, technology and estates.
  • The Chief Constable also praised the team effort and thanked the OPFCC for their support.


The Commissioner was assured that the Chief Officer Team and Force were in a position where their financial controls were sound, with additional provision being accounted for this year for the additional unforeseen spending on response to the COVID 19 pandemic.


4. VCOP and updating victims

  • The Commissioner requested a report in relation to victim care and feedback to include current levels of Victims Code of Practice ‘VCOP’ compliance by the Force.
  • Mark Behan provided an update on the work that has been undertaken.
  • The Force has instigated a comprehensive and structured review in response to a previous HMICFRS PEEL inspection cause for concern.
  • Victim and witness improvement is now an integral part of the broader Confidence and Satisfaction agenda led by DCC Nickless and overseen in the Service Improvement Board.
  • VCOP compliance rates now 80%+
  • Overall, the end-to-end process is much improved with ‘Victim centred policing’ at its core.
  • A different and improved Investigation Model is also driving up investigative standards.
  • Most areas improving. Senior detective reviews, LPA supervisor reviews and Business Assurance Team reviews all examine the compliance with VCOP updates.
  • In addition a newly developed QLIK App notifies sergeants when a file is overdue and also which cases are coming up for review in the next 7 days.
  • DCC Nickless extrapolates to ensure consistency across the area.
  • It was agreed the local strategy looks positive and comprehensive.
  • There was a discussion about Domestic Abuse victims who consistently express the highest level of satisfaction. Need to understand all drivers to create evidential set. May be bespoke to different crime types.
  • New victim satisfaction and public confidence strategy agreed that aims to make service delivery more victim and customer centric and focused.
  • Discussion about NPCC Victim and witness strategy action plan.
  • Reassurance provided by Mark Behan that in good place.
  • Key issues are how to hold CJS partners to account
  • It was agreed to review again in 6 months.


The Commissioner thanked the Chief Constable and team for the improvements that were evident in this area. He welcomed and was reassured that the Chief Constable had agreed to a new victim satisfaction and public confidence strategy and communications plan, advocating a more victim and customer focused approach to service delivery.

He did express some concerns about the Force ability to provide written confirmation to victims that a crime had been recorded within 5 days and 28 day reviews. He requested a further update on this in 6 months’ time at accountability board

5. A.O.B

  • There was a discussion about demand analysis and a funding bid submission to the Home Office by 2nd September deadline.
  • VA and NA to review FP25 work to support the bid.
  • SM requested sight of any bid application before it is submitted.

Action – VA to share draft HO funding bid with SM before it is submitted.