You might have thought that scrapping central government targets would result in local bodies being able to cut at least some of their own monitoring and reporting setups. But in an Alice in Wonderland style twist, Home Secretary Theresa May’s decision to scrap the “confidence target” for the police has been followed by the Met Police setting up a new “Confidence and Satisfaction Board”.
In June Theresa May announced that the police would be judged on cutting crime, ending both the set of performance targets bundled up as the Policing Pledge and also ending the judging of police by whether or not they have increased public confidence in their work.
However, as the Met’s latest Quarterly Management Report for the Metropolitan Police Authority reveals, work in London “is ongoing to develop methods of gauging public confidence and satisfaction, alongside and complementing the BCS [British Crime Survey] measures … A Confidence and Satisfaction Board has been set up, meeting monthly, with the purpose of increasing the confidence and satisfaction of Londoners using a co-ordinated MPS approach” and “The MPS will return to the MPA with its proposals on a police specific confidence measure”.
So down one central target, up one committee – and new local targets look to be on their way.
At least the ending of the Policing Pledge targets has resulted in the recommendation that “performance against the 2010/11 KPI relating to “the number of Policing Pledge promises met” is no longer reported”. Phew.
The tenacity of local reporting set-ups in the face of central government targets being axed is not unique to the police by any means. I’ve spoken to several Liberal Democrat councillors who have mentioned how the ending of various local government targets is not resulting in their councils cutting back on the local monitoring or reporting. Instead it is resulting in those teams coming up with lots of new reasons why the same amount of effort still needs to be put in. The Met have taken this one impressive bureaucratic step further, however, by deciding that the right response to a target being axed is to create a new committee.