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West Mercia Governance Board

Notes of Meeting

Wednesday 19th October 2022 – 14:00

The Allsopp, Hindlip


  • John Campion (JC) Co-Chair – Police & Crime Commissioner
  • Pippa Mills (PM) Co-Chair – Chief Constable
  • Marc Bayliss (MB) Deputy Police and 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) – ACC Local Policing
  • Richard Cooper (RC) – ACC
  • Pauline Hardwick (PH) COS – Minutes


  • Gareth Boulton (GB) – Chief Executive Officer


Ref 01/19/10/2022

Attendance and apologies as above.

Ref 02/19/10/2022

Minutes and Action Updates for meeting held on 21st September 2022 – for Agreement

The minutes of the meeting held on 21st September 2022 were agreed.

Refer to the action spreadsheet for updates.

Ref 03/19/10/2022

Update on Financial Position

  • Money Matters Qtr 2 Report – for information (paper)
  • WM Qtr 2 Budget Position – for information (paper)

Richard Muirhead – Money Matters Qtr 2 Report:

RM referred to the previously circulated Money Matters Q2 report presenting the half-year financial position to the end of September 2022.

The original budget in 2022/23 was £240.016m.  Further funding and agreement to utilise carry forward from the previous year’s underspend has enabled the operational budget to be increased to £244.075m

The forecast at Quarter 2 is for a £1.351m overspend, however, this includes some elements more appropriately attributed to the OPCC budgets, resulting in a net overspend of £1.031m.  This forecast includes the officer pay settlement of £1,900 per officer and the associated grant funding expected, plus an anticipated uplifted 5% pay increase for police staff.  Some pressure on overtime, which has also been impacted by the police pay award and the extra Bank Holiday.

There has been some measured, limited action to trim back expenditure, which should not impact on the level of service to the public.  It is too early at this stage to determine the impact of these limited measures. 

Action: RM to include an assessment of the impact of the measures in place to trim back expenditure in future monthly and quarterly reports

Savings plans are in a good place overall with just over a third completely achieved – the remainder are on track to be achieved with a very small amount at risk.

The broad message today is continue as previously agreed.

Capital programme – starting to get more traction around the capital programme.  PM reassured Board members that if departments do not relocate, causing the Hindlip Masterplan to fall behind schedule, this will always be the result of a strategic decision with a strong and valid reason. 

Paul Benfield – Financial Position Quarter 2 2022/23 report:

PB referred to the previously circulated Financial Position Qtr 2 report which accompanies Money Matters report and provides an overview of the whole revenue budget.  The difference between the two reports is that the expenditure of the OPCC is included in the figures. 

The forecast at Quarter 2 is that net expenditure for the financial year will be £264.535m which will result in a £1.346m overspend against the budget.  The Force is reporting an overspend of £1.031m and the OPCC is reporting a £0.213m overspend, with the remaining variance relating to projected variance on contribution from reserves.

The papers were noted.

Ref 04/19/10/2022

Year 3 Protected Learning – for information (paper)

RHL referred to the previously circulated report.  This report had been presented at the October Executive Board meeting and is presented at Governance Board for information.

West Mercia went live with the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) in January 2020.  This is the first cohort entering year three. The three-year course requires both on the job and off the job learning.  At the culmination of the PCDA course, students produce an Evidenced Based Research Project (EBRP) which forms a large proportion of their End Point Assessment (EPA).  In order to provide support, additional protected learning time for the students is being considered.  Throughout the programme students are offered a number of different hours for protected learning, however, when the students enter year three, that protected learning time decreases and, therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the student does receive an appropriate and proportionate amount of protected learning time. 

At the Executive Board it was agreed to endorse option 2:  40 hours additional protected learning time.  The 40 additional hours would be fixed. There is no direction as to when the time is fixed within the year but the study leave will be taken when the needs of the organisation, balanced with the individual student’s academic timetable, have been taken into consideration.

The report was noted.

Ref 05/19/10/2022

Change & Transformation Update (paper)

The Change and Transformation update paper was circulated and discussed.  RM updated.

JC asked if, in regard to the DST programme, there is a planned move of the data centre – RM confirmed that there will be a move to a data centre.  Discussion ensued around the planned roll-out of WiFi and recent changes made in order obtain the most benefit.  RM will send JC a copy of the comprehensive plan on the current position of the WiFI roll-out and the projection through to January 2023.

Action: RM to send JC the planned projection of WiFi roll-out.

PM welcomed the benefits presentation provided around the Public Access System (PAS).  The PAS is a public self-service system which allows an individual to access the photo taken and the speed calibration certificate to evidence the speed.  This is providing the public the tools to self-serve and is a good direction of travel. 

The report was noted.

Ref 06/19/10/2022

Estates Governance Board Paper – Infrastructure Resilience – for information (paper)

The report was circulated and discussed.

RHL referred to the report, circulated for information, which provides a briefing on the first meeting of the Infrastructure Resilience Board held on 20th September 2020.

The Infrastructure Resilience Board was established primarily to look at the stability and resilience of the Force infrastructure in relation to IT and Estates.  The paper lists the strategic options which will drive the direction of travel.  The next meeting is due to take place on 21st October so no further update at this stage.  A further update will be provided at the next Governance Board meeting.

PM confirmed it had been previously agreed at WMGB that Gareth Boulton would also be Co-Chair of the Infrastructure Resilience Board meeting.  RHL to ensure that GB is included on the Board membership list.

Action: RHL to ensure GB is included as co-chair on Infrastructure Resilience Board membership list.

Ref 07/19/10/2022

ACC / ACO Updates – for information and discussion (papers)

Business Services – ACO Rachel Hartland-Lane:

The report was circulated and discussed.

RHL advised that the National Uplift Programme team had  confirmed that the Force is officially off Stage 3 and uplifted to Stage 2.  The national team is delighted with the application increase over the last two weeks and now the plan is to sustain the increase.  The Force will continue to monitor on a weekly basis.  The Shropshire recruitment event will take place on Sunday 23rd October at Shrewsbury College.

At the recent event in Worcester, over 90 people registered with even more visiting – 50% of the registrations have already been converted into applications, which is an extremely good outcome.  More outreach events will be planned for 2023. 

Over-achievement was reduced slightly.  JC asked whether the Force is reflective enough to ensure that any organisational learning has been captured.  RHL felt that there has definitely been some learning throughout the process and that this is an ongoing learning process. 

PM asked RM and PB whether there is confidence to put the income related to the extra 20 officers into the budget.  RM stated that as there was far greater confidence in the recruitment data it would now be appropriate to recognise the income.

Financial incentive – any financial benefit would be partially offset with direct expenditure in this year but there is a net benefit overall.

RHL advised that the national Uplift team also provided approximately £20k for corporate communications activity.  Potentially funds may need to be set aside next year to ensure continuation of comms activity.

The paper was noted.

LP/Ops/Public Contact/Prevention – ACC Rachel Jones:

The report was circulated and discussed.

RJ wished to highlight all the mutual aid and high-profile public order activity that has taken place over the past 12 – 18 months, e.g. G7, COP26, Commonwealth Games, and the Force’s own challenges such as; Op Blueside, Op Roman, Op Bridge, together with support for Warwickshire Police and Leicestershire Police.  JC said that the nature and planning involved around the larger scale activity resulted in the impact on the public not being on the scale as anticipated, and some of the decisions made did protect the community angle of policing. RJ confirmed that Crime and Vulnerability supported front-line policing during the mutual aid and public order activity.

Crime & Vulnerability – ACC Richard Cooper

The paper was circulated, discussed and noted.

PM – advised that the Special Constabulary course commenced two weeks previously.  Training takes place every other weekend at both Hindlip and Wellington.

PM – Road Safety Team – recruitment has started and an update will come back next month in regard to what the time-line looks like in terms of activity.

Quality Policing Awards – this is going well in terms of nominations.  Also doing quite well in terms of sponsorship – targeting principal suppliers, where an ongoing relationship is already established and a contract is already in place. JC – Consider approaching networks, Worcestershire Ambassadors and the Herefordshire and Shropshire equivalents. 

Community Foundations may be opportunities – JC has contact details.

Action: RHL to consider approaching Networks / Community Foundations re Quality Policing Awards Sponsorship

Ref 08/19/10/2022

WMGB Thematic Paper on Deep Dive –

Out of Court Disposals

Criminal Justice

Sexual Violence

The paper was circulated and discussed.

JC reminded Board members that a Holding to Account on Sexual Violence had recently been held.

Criminal Justice – JC asked how the Force works with the CPS in terms of how it drives standards or outcomes and how is it ensured that the system is set up to deliver as much justice as it should.

PM – one of the areas looked at in the current round of budget setting is, for example, around serious sexual violence and the poor charge rates.  In terms of investigative investment, one of the proposals is around RASSO gateway Detective Sergeants working closely with the CPS to ensure that cases sent to the CPS are charging / decision ready.

RC – we have just worked up a protocol with CPS.  On a wider point RC and regional counterparts have a quarterly meeting where performance information is shared.  Discussion ensued around delays when it is felt the CPS asks for further work and/or further requirements of the Police once a case has been submitted.

MB – highlighted that the portion of cases with evidential difficulties due to lack of victim support is much higher in West Mercia.

RC – this is Outcome 16 i.e. crimes where there is no positive action against the suspect and the officer records that the victim declines to provide evidence.  West Mercia has one of the higher levels of Outcome 16 and this has been a subject of focus for some time. One possible explanation is that the criteria in other forces for recording Outcome 16 is different to the criteria in West Mercia.  The focus needs to be on quality of investigation leading to more positive actions as the best way to reduce Outcome 16. 

JC – Op Reset should be an opportunity to review Outcome 16.

JC – raised the issue around incidents of what is perceived to be ‘lower level’ sexual offences and public perception of police response.

PM – focus should be on confidence to report and highlight positive examples where arrests have been made, providing public reassurance, and looking at community impact assessments.

JC – has not seen anything explicit around ‘low level’ sexual offences – look at reinforcing community messaging.

PM – the Force has reassured itself that it takes these offences seriously and, when dealing with victims, they are clear the Force is taking it seriously.

Ref 09/19/10/2022



Ref 10/19/10/2022

Date of Next Meeting: Tuesday 8th November 2022.