EMPAC Senior Research Fellow Claire Darbyshire on healthy policing

The Police is a noun. It’s about the body of the police.  Policing is a verb. It’s the action word about keeping people safe – and that needs to involve more than just the police.

It’s often said the police can’t arrest their way out of everything and can’t do things alone. That’s quite true!

Hence the need to work in partnership, with other agencies, the voluntary sector, business and of course the public.

Here, EMPAC Senior Research Fellow, Claire Darbyshire makes key points for us all to think about concerning bringing policing and other sectors closer together to improve population health and wellbeing, to create medium to long term solutions to reduce demand, improve access to local support and prevent harm.

The points made offer a high level insight, that every agency should reflect upon. Based on Claire’s extensive professional experience around health commissioning for nearly a quarter of a century, these points are relevant for both health and police, and joint commissioning for the future.

From picking up pieces to whole systems

In November 2018, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate described police forces as “picking up the pieces” from wider external challenges from population health and wellbeing.

Longer term solutions can only be found through collaborative partnerships which include health, local government, voluntary and commercial sectors and of course the public. The ‘whole-system’ strategic commissioning landscape is not always structured to support these collegiate cross-sector approaches.

Shared strategic oversight

Boards and committees who make commissioning decisions on behalf of the populations they represent, need to be in a position to assess the cumulative impact from their approaches to commonly shared challenges. Collaborative, inter-dependent delivery plans create opportunities to share resources and improve efficiency and accountability in the spending of public funds.

Shared outcome metrics

Organisational metrics can unwittingly create or reinforce silo working and competitive cultures. Instead of driving quality they result in a reluctance to share information and limit the identification of common goals, plans and capability to assess population impact.

Those we serve, particularly those vulnerable through unmet needs suffer most from experiences created from the gaps we inadvertently create. Shared outcome metrics drive high-quality strategic system actions, innovation and experiences across the breadth of support or intervention provision.

Place-based actions

Aligning the strategic goals of multiple organisations and their associated delivery programmes to localities/communities or place, enables meaningful collaboration between service professionals and the communities they serve, resulting in shared resolution, engagement and wider community support for sustainable population outcome improvements.

Multi-agency change management

Aligning partner strategies in consideration of cross-sector legislation, regulation and evolving policies; creating shared visions and inter-dependent delivery programmes; developing mechanisms to evaluate impact and; managing team transformation into new ways of working require significant facilitation, drive and encouragement.

This level of change could be part of an evolutionary landscape of commissioning and collaboration either as part of NHS Integrated Care Systems or alongside them.

Combined effort makes for better holistic outcomes in the public interest – it’s based on rationale and on research evidence: it’s the right, and healthy, thing to do!

Get in touch direct at ClaireDarbyshire-Strategist@outlook.com

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