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West Mercia Governance Board

Notes of Meeting

Wednesday 23 November 2022, 14:00



  • John Campion (JC) Co-Chair – Police & Crime Commissioner
  • Pippa Mills (PM) Co-Chair – Chief Constable
  • Marc Bayliss (MB) – Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner
  • Alex Murray (AM) – Deputy Chief Constable
  • Paul Benfield (PB) – Treasurer
  • Richard Muirhead (RM) – Director of Commercial Services
  • Rachel Hartland-Lane (RHL) – Assistant Chief Officer
  • Rachel Jones (RJ) – Assistant Chief Constable
  • Richard Cooper (RC) – Assistant Chief Constable
  • Maria Willmott (MW) – OPCC – Minutes
  • Gareth Boulton (GB) – Chief Executive Officer




Ref 01/23/11/2022

Attendance / Apologies 

As above.

Ref 02/23/11/2022

Minutes and Action Updates for meeting held on 19th October 2022 – for Agreement 

The minutes of the meeting held on 19th October 2022 were agreed. 

Refer to the action spreadsheet for updates 

Ref 03/23/11/2022

Specials Paper – for decision 

The paper was presented and discussed. 

The Force highlighted positions being adopted in other areas and the arguments for payment of Federation subscriptions for Special Constables, which included legal and medical provisions. 

There was acknowledgment around the regulations relating to Special Constables and how any payments to them could affect their employment status. 

The PCC stressed his support for potential payments to Specials in certain circumstances, and as ‘one-off’ arrangements. Options included ‘bounty’ payments, or reductions in council tax.  

The PCC did not, however, support the principle of paying Federation membership costs for Special Constables in West Mercia. He felt it was inappropriate to use public money to support something approaching union membership. 

DECISION – Not Supported. 

Action – Force to survey Specials as to their views on an appropriate form of recompense and would also undertake a review of what other Forces do for their Specials (RM) to provide an update report to WMGB in 3 months 

Action – GB to share any information that he has to RM regarding recompense of specials.

Ref 04/23/11/2022

Payment to Pension Fund – for decision 

The paper was presented and discussed, including options put forward. 

PB confirmed that he supports option 4. Stated that he had discussed this with DPCC and recognised that other Local Authority Partners were taking other approaches in terms of savings. PB view is that given market volatility this option is sensible for realising savings, against need to protect the Medium Term budget from potential future deficits in the Pension Fund. 

PM stated that the Exec team had asked that an additional consideration was made of what was the most realistic option to take against the original 3 options considered by RM which reviewed the optimistic/pessimistic views originally presented. This is where option 4 has been developed from.    

Decision – Option 4 is supported and that savings of £460k are included in the 2023/24 budget setting processes.

Ref 05/23/11/2022

Police Staff Revised Pay Award – for decision  

The paper was presented and discussed. 

RM disclosed a personal interest in the matter under consideration and left the meeting after the initial presentation. 

The PCC was not against the recommendations within the paper, but requested further detail around legal advice (in respect of the proposal put forward, and the potential for other claims to arise) and accurate costings in order to take a decision in consideration of the full facts. It was agreed this would be provided and the matter would be considered again outside of the meeting. 

Decision – Not supported, pending receipt and consideration of the information requested by the PCC.    

Action : PM to provide required legal advice and financial information to PCC to enable further consideration outside of WMGB.

Ref 06/23/11/2022

Joint Finance Reporting – for decision –

The paper was presented and discussed. 

It was clarified and reassurance was given by both PB and RM that the proposals support and respect the sovereign roles of both organisations and S151 Officers, and will not compromise them. 

Decision – Recommendation supported by the PCC. 

Action – PB to update the master document and ensure it is published as required.

Ref 07/23/11/2022

Fleet write off – for decision

The paper was presented and discussed. 

Decision – Recommendation supported by the PCC. £80k from the Legal and Insurance reserve approved to fund the replacement of 3 vehicles identified as written off. 

Ref 08/23/11/2022

Transforming Road Safety – for information 

The paper was presented and discussed. 

The PCC raised concern around some of the proposed timelines involved in any potential implementation of new average speed schemes. Explanations and reassurance around these timeframes were provided by RJ and others from the Force. 

Action – JC/GB to consider OPCC SPOC for ongoing engagement with the Force. 

PM offered to provide a regular update to WMGB on progress 

Action – JC/PM to discuss this outside of this meeting.  

Ref 09/23/11/2022

ICPO Inspection Paper – for information 

The paper was presented and discussed. 

RC noted that the Force is comfortable around compliance, and felt the report was broadly positive for West Mercia. 

Ref 10/23/11/2022

Use of Naloxone – for information 

The paper was presented and discussed. 

There were no changes to the costs or use / availability of Naloxone within the custody environment.

Ref 11/23/11/2022

Op Lincoln – for information 

The paper was presented and discussed. 

The PCC was grateful for the detailed report, and queried how we get reassurance around levels of cost and spend associated with the investigation. RC will be finalising in as much detail as possible in an upcoming meeting with the SIO. 

PB raised that there is a risk that the Home Office could consider that expenditure falls below the 1% threshold, therefore increasing risk around central funding. This point was recognised and acknowledged by colleagues from WMP and will be looked into by RM. 

Action: RM to work with the Op Lincoln team to manage the risk to the future allocation of special grant in relation to the required budget 

Ref 12/23/11/2022

Firearms Licencing Report – for information 

The paper was presented and discussed. 

RJ and other WMP colleagues set out the context and considerations around the issue, including new statutory guidance and high levels of firearms licences held in West Mercia. The Force’s guiding principle is ensuring public safety, and has focused on licence renewals. There is also discussion at a national level around increases in licence fees. 

The PCC asked for consideration of what could be done straight away in order to help provide a faster service to communities. Are there opportunities whereby the PCC could positively support the Force, financially or in other contexts. 

Action – PCC & CC to discuss how JPC can support the FLU to enable service enhancements. 

Action – RJ to provide further update to WMGB in December 

Ref 13/23/11/2022

Infrastructure resilience Paper – for information 

The paper was presented and discussed. 

RM has taken over co-chairing the board with GB. 

Progress being made, but having to strike the right balance in respect of investing to ensure better protection, against the fact that a significant amount of infrastructure will be decommissioned in the near future, and does further investment support best value. 

GB highlighted positive feedback from Estates in respect of joint working with Digital Services, and supported the principle of not investing unnecessarily in aging infrastructure, but reiterated the point of the board being to improve resilience and prevent repeats of previous power outages. 

RM clarified that programmes of work are due to be completed by April to mitigate against increasing risk. 

PM stated that she and the PCC have been clear that there cannot be a repeat of previous outages and that April felt too late in terms of reassurance that we would be prepared in time. 

RM clarified that the vast majority of work was due to be completed by February 2023, with April seen as a ‘backstop’, date. 

Ref 14/23/11/2022

Performance of the OCC – for information 

The paper was presented and discussed. 

RJ set out options and aspirations around presenting qualitative measures to enable greater scrutiny, reassurance and visibility as part of performance monitoring. 

The PCC was supportive of a consistent focus on quality, but was not yet reassured that performance was improving / improved. JPC also queried whether key messages and data could be more proactively shared. 

PM – New performance framework would start to shape internal management and regular communication, for example, via Neighbourhood Matters.

Ref 15/23/11/2022

C&T Update – for information 

Ref 16/23/11/2022

Money Matters – for information 

RM highlighted a slight increase in the projected overspend. This was due to assumptions around staff start dates. Action continues to mitigate against the projected overspend. More accurate detail around the impact of this will be forthcoming in Q3 figures. 

Ref 17/23/11/2022

ACC/ACO Update – for information and discussion – (3 x Papers) 

Ref 18/23/11/2022


GB raised Deep dive topics for next year. Agreed this would be picked up and discussed between JPC and PM. 

ACTION – JPC and PM to discuss and provide feedback on deep dive topics for start of 2023. 

Ref 19/23/11/2022

Date, time, locaton: 

Wednesday 21st December 2022, 1400 hrs Willison Room, Hindlip