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Decisions Policy

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner Hampshire & Isle of Wight Decisions Policy v7.2

 

 

 

1                     Introduction

1.1        Carrying out the functions of the Police and Crime Commissioner (the ‘P C C’) requires the making of a wide range of decisions. These include decisions of a strategic nature, and/or for the commitment of significant resources, to matters of a more routine nature on day to day business.

1.2        This Decisions Policy has been created to clarify the policy intentions of the P C C in relation to decision making, the levels of formality that apply to making different kinds of decisions and the roles and expectations of all those involved.

 

2                     Policy statement

2.1        The policy intention is to ensure that decisions in the exercise of the P C C’s functions are made in a way in which the communities of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton have confidence and in particular that:

  • decisions are informed and transparent, subject to effective scrutiny and which assist in the management of risk;
  • those making decisions are provided with information that is relevant and timely, giving clear explanations of technical issues and their implications;
  • professional advice on legal and financial matters is available and recorded where decisions have material legal or financial implications; and
  • processes are flexible and proportionate, avoiding unnecessary steps and bureaucracy that add little or no value.

 

3                     Version history

3.1        This latest version of the Policy (Aug-20) reflects some formatting changes to ensure that the document meets Accessibility Regulations 2018.

 

4                     Scope of this policy

4.1        The Decisions Policy applies in full to those Decisions made by the P C C that are of a strategic or policy nature, or which involve the commitment of significant resources, or which are of fundamental importance to the corporate governance framework and (in any of those cases) do not fall within the powers of senior officers under the ‘Scheme of Delegation’:

Scheme of Delegation and Consent Version 4.0

or:

\\ousvr\users\Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner\O P C C Policy and Procedures\Scheme of Delegation

4.2        Decisions should set the vision, policy, strategic direction and context within which consequential decisions can then be made and actions taken by officers in accordance with their delegated authority under the Scheme of Delegation.

4.3        Without limitation, examples of Decisions to which the Decisions Policy applies, including subsequent amendments, are as follows:

Table 1 – Examples of Decisions to which the Decisions Policy applies

Business area Example
Strategy ·           Police and Crime Plan

·           Medium term financial strategy

·           Reserves strategy

·           Estate strategy

·           Treasury management strategy

·           Commissioning strategy

·           Communications and engagement strategy

·           Appointment of Deputy Commissioner, Chief Constable and Statutory Officers

·           Equality strategy

·           Risk management strategy

Governance ·           Scheme of Delegation

·           Financial regulations and Contract Standing Orders

·           Audit strategy and plans

·           Annual governance statement

·           Approval of accounts

Estates management ·           Acquisition and disposal of surplus premises
Finance and procurement ·           Setting the precept and annual budget

·           Approving the capital programme

·           Prudential borrowing and affordable borrowing limits

·           Purchase of equipment and software

4.4        Where a Decision falls within the powers delegated to nominated officers, the general principles of the Scheme of Delegation require (para 2.5 of the Scheme) that those decisions are recorded and available for inspection, and the P C C consulted or informed as required by the Scheme of Delegation. While the Decisions Policy does not apply to such decisions, the Chief Executive may nevertheless require it to be followed when they are of the view that the decision is sufficiently complex or sensitive that it would justify a more formal record of the decision being made. Where this is not the case, it is nevertheless the responsibility of the officer to ensure that the decision, with reasons, is documented in sufficiently clear and proportionate form.

 

5                     Policy ownership

5.1        The Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (the ‘O P C C’) is responsible for day-to-day management of the policy and its supporting process, on behalf of the P C C. The process itself is managed on a day-to-day basis by the O P C C’s Programme Officer Manager, accountable to the Chief Executive.

5.2        It should be noted that day-to-day management of the Decision Policy’s supporting process transferred from the O P C C’s Business Support function to the Programme Office in Sep-18.

 

6                     Who this policy applies to

6.1        The Decisions Policy applies to all staff and teams within the O P C C. It also applies to Constabulary staff seeking Decisions from the P C C.

 

7                     Key definitions relevant to the policy

Table 2 – Key definitions relevant to the policy

Term Definition
Decision A decision within the description set out in section 4.1 – 4.3 above.
Forward Plan The schedule of dates allocated for making of Decisions, maintained by the O P C C Programme Office.
Decision Window The period of time in the Forward Plan allocated for consideration of the Decision Request and making of the Decision.
Decision Request The document (based on a standard template) explaining the background to, and reasons for, the Decision sought. Published, if appropriate, on the P C C’s website.

The ‘Decision Record’ is the 1-2 front page summary of the Decision Request which is signed by the P C C (or delegated authority) and published (if suitable).

Decisions process The process as set out in the separate process guide, for managing Decisions.
Briefing Day A meeting convened to formally present a Decision that is of such significance that the P C C requires advice in person from all relevant persons, including the person making the request.

The P C C may sign the Decision on this day or if it requires further work, refer it to sign-off Day.

Sign-off Day A meeting convened to formally agree (sign) a Decision originally presented at the Briefing Day, and which required further work and therefore referred to Sign-off Day.

 

8                     Roles and responsibilities

Table 3 – Roles and responsibilities

Role Summary of responsibilities
Police and Crime Commissioner The person with overall responsibility for the Decisions Policy and for making the Decision.
Chief Officer Member of Hampshire Constabulary’s (‘the Constabulary’) Chief Officer team.
Chief Executive The person with responsibility for day-to-day management of the Decisions Policy and correct operation of its supporting process.
Constabulary SPOC A staff member of the Constabulary designated by the Chief Constable to act on her behalf in ensuring the Decisions process is followed, in relation to Decisions sought by officers/staff of the Constabulary, including where these arise from the deliberations of internal Constabulary boards.
Requester The person who drafts and submits the Decision Request (using the standard template).
O P C C Programme Office Manager The person responsible for day-to-day co-ordination of the Decisions process, including maintenance of the Forward Plan. Accountable to the Chief Executive.
O P C C Programme Office The team designated by the Chief Executive to co-ordinate day-to-day operation of the Decisions process. Accountable to the O P C C Programme Office Manager.
Chief Finance Officer (O P C C) The person responsible, as part of the Decisions consultation process, for assessing the financial implications of a Decision Request. Attends Briefing/Sign-off Days to advise P C C as appropriate.
Deputy Monitoring Officer The person responsible, as part of the Decisions consultation process, for assessing the legal implications of a Decision Request and advising the P C C as appropriate.
Head, Communications and Engagement The person responsible, as part of the Decisions consultation process, for assessing the communications and engagement implications of a Decision Request. Attends Briefing/Sign-off Days to advise P C C as appropriate. Provides advice/approval on timing of publication of approved Decisions.
Decision Request consultees A group of individuals responsible for assessing and commenting on each Decision Request, comprising members of the O P C C Senior Leaders Team plus other interested stakeholders.
Executive Office Manager The person responsible for management of the scheduling of Briefing Day and Sign-off meetings, in conjunction with the O P C C Programme Office.
O P C C Senior Leaders Team A forum for presenting draft Decisions for early sight / comment / management sponsorship, etc. Many of the individuals also make up the Decision Request consultees.
Hampshire Police and Crime Panel The group charged with responsibility for scrutinising and supporting the P C C for Hampshire. The Panel reviews the P C C’s key decisions made under the Decisions process as part of its quarterly meetings.

 

9                     Decisions process

9.1                Process overview

9.1.1      ‘Decision Windows’ are scheduled throughout the year to provide the P C C with a framework within which to make Decisions. Each Window includes a ‘Briefing Day’ and ‘Sign-off Day’ allowing the P C C to be briefed* on a Decision Request submitted and to then physically sign-off the decision to confirm approval following any re-work required as result of the briefing. Briefing and sign-off may occur on the same day in some cases. Anyone can submit a Decision Request.

*This provides the opportunity for the individual/team requesting the Decision to make the case for the Decision to the P C C in person.

9.1.2      A Decision Window also provides the O P C C Senior Leaders Team and other key stakeholders with the opportunity to review and comment on each Decision Request submitted in the Window, prior to it being presented to the P C C on Briefing Day thus providing the P C C with assurances that the Decision has been widely circulated. Any requests/suggestions for changes are incorporated where appropriate into the version submitted to the P C C.

9.1.3      There may be instances when Decisions, e.g. urgent for operational reasons, are required to circumvent normal processes and submitted late / outside of the process. These are managed at the discretion of the Chief Executive and/or the P C C.

9.1.4      All decisions will be signed by the P C C; however, in some cases signing may be delegated by the P C C to the Chief Executive.

9.1.10    An accessible copy of each Decision signed by the P C C is published on the P C C’s website in accordance with statutory requirement.

9.2                Decisions process guide

9.2.1      Appendix A provides the guide (for internal use) for operating the process that underpins the Decisions Policy.

 

10                 Publication

10.1       The Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) (Amendment) Order 2011 (2011/3050) came into force on 16 January 2012. The original Order was subsequently amended by two further Orders (2012/2479 and 2013/1816). The Order (as amended) specifies information which must be published by elected local policing bodies.

10.2       The Order requires the P C C as an elected local policing body to publish a record of each decision of significant public interest arising from the exercise of the elected local policing body’s functions, whether made by the body at or as a result of a meeting or otherwise.

10.3       In accordance with the above, Decision Requests will normally be published in full on the O P C C website, except where, and to the extent that, they contain information which is regarded as confidential or exempt from publication. The Decisions process guide at Appendix A provides guidance on uploading Decision Requests onto the P C C’s website.

10.4       Information is confidential where it has been received from a Government Department or other source upon terms (however expressed) which forbid the disclosure of it to the public, or where its disclosure to the public is prohibited by or under any enactment or by the order of a court.

10.5       Information is exempt from publication where it falls within one or more of the following categories and, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information:

  • Information relating to any individual.
  • Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual.
  • Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
  • Information relating to any consultations or negotiations, or contemplated consultations or negotiations, in connection with any labour relations matter arising between the body or a Minister of the Crown and employees of, or office holders under, the authority.
  • Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.
  • Information which reveals that the authority proposes:

(a) to give under any enactment a notice under or by virtue of which requirements are imposed on a person, or

(b) to make an order or direction under any enactment.

  • Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.

Note: “authority” means the O P C C and/or Hampshire Constabulary.

10.6       Where the whole of a Decision Request is not for publication, the appropriate protective marking classification will be stated in the header, and the reasons given in the appropriate paragraph of the Request. Where part of a Decision Request is not for publication, the confidential or exempt information should be included in a confidential appendix, along with the appropriate protective marking and reasons. The remainder of the Decision Request should be published in the normal way.

 

11                 Urgent Decisions

11.1       Where, due to reasons beyond the reasonable control of the Requester, a Decision is required in circumstances where compliance with the normal timeframe of the Decisions process would risk compromising the position of the P C C and/or Chief Constable, the Chief Executive may authorise an abbreviated procedure to be used, whereby (1) the timeframe is reduced and/or (2) the Decision is made as soon as practicable, rather than in the Decision Window specified in the Forward Plan. In all other respects the Decisions process will be followed. The reasons for urgency will be stated in the Decisions Request.

11.2       To ensure the achievement of the policy intention, the use of the urgency provisions should be kept to a minimum.

 

12                 Equality impact analysis

12.1       The policy is not likely to have any particular impact on people with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

12.2       Decision Requests and supporting documentation made available to the general public on the O P C C website will be available in an accessible form (in accordance with Accessibility Regulations 2018).

 

13                 Data protection implications

13.1       There are no specific General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) implications associated with this policy.

 

14                 Training

14.1       No specific training is required to ensure the policy is implemented. The policy and its supporting process and procedures are managed by the O P C C Programme Office and fully documented to ensure that anyone within the O P C C can follow it.

 

15                 Dissemination and implementation

15.1       The O P C C Programme Office is responsible for dissemination of the Decisions Policy, include an updates to it. It is disseminated in a number of ways:

Published on the P C C’s website:

https://www.hampshire-P C C.gov.uk/transparency/decisions

Published on Hampshire Constabulary’s intranet:

http://intranet/Intranet/P C C/Default.htm

The Decisions Policy and supporting process guide is also available from the O P C C’s shared folder for policies and procedures, available to all O P C C staff:

\\ousvr\users\Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner\O P C C Policy and Procedures

15.2       The O P C C Programme Office is responsible for maintaining the master version held under the P C C Decisions folder:

\\ousvr\users\Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner\P C C Decisions\Policy and Procedure

15.3       There are no specific training requirements for the Decisions policy and supporting process since any Requesters are guided through the process at all times by the O P C C Programme Office and require no prior knowledge of the process.

 

16                 Monitoring

16.1       Monitoring is a key means for providing assurance to the governing body and stakeholders that the organisation’s systems are working.

16.2       Periodically, the ‘Southern Internal Audit Partnership’ conducts an internal audit of ‘the P C C’s decision making and accountability’ on behalf of the Joint Audit Committee. See below:

Joint Audit Committee

Such audit findings are presented to O P C C and Hampshire Constabulary senior management and the Joint Audit Committee for consideration.

16.3       The O P C C undertakes its own informal internal reviews periodically to ensure that the policy and process remains fit for purpose. The most recent review was undertaken in 2018. It may also review the policy and process when a new P C C is appointed.

 

17                 Review

17.1       This policy will be reviewed every two years, or earlier if there are significant changes in either O P C C or national policies. All aspects will be reviewed in the light of changes or amendments to legislation/regulation or policy.

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