Legislation that set up PSNI out-dated and long-standing issues need to be addressed: NIAO

The auditor, Kieran Donnelly, says legislation underpinning the PSNI is out-dated and needs to be revisited to help address 'long-standing issues' around the failure of the police and the Policing Board (NIPB) to deliver shared leadership

Tuesday, 4th April 2017, 12:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:56 pm

In a report published this morning, Mr. Donnelly said the Department of Justice needs to review the Police (NI) Act 2000, parts of which, he believes, have passed their sell-by date.

The report examined the performance summary of the Policing Board and PSNI in 2015/16 and the Policing Plan for 2016/17.

Mr. Donnelly said: “Long-standing issues remain around the need for shared leadership between the Policing Board and the PSNI and the need for effective programme and project management arrangements to drive continuous improvement. The legislation that underpins the audit of continuous improvement has been in place since 2000.

“Since then there have been significant changes in policing in Northern Ireland and in Great Britain.

“It is essential that the legislation continues to be relevant and linked to current initiatives in the criminal justice system. In my view, it is now time for the Department of Justice to consider changes to the legislation governing continuous improvement.”

Mr. Donnelly’s report also stated that the “continuing failure to address previous years’ recommendations is not indicative of a positive attitude towards delivering improvement”.

It added: “It is essential that the Board and the PSNI address long-standing issues around shared leadership and management of continuous improvement.”

The Comptroller and Auditor General found the Board’s Business Plan for 2015/16 included 48 targets. Overall, the Board reported that thirty-seven of its targets for the year (77 per cent) had been fully achieved (79 per cent in 2014/15), 8 were partially achieved (17 per cent), and the remaining three (6 per cent) were not achieved.

The PSNI’s report for 2015/16 set out its performance against the Policing Plan.

“However, the annual report does not set out measures in the same order or format, making comparison difficult and reported performance incomplete. In his 2016 report, the C&AG recommended reducing the number of performance indicators in order to focus on the most important aspects of policing performance. While there has been some progress, there remains scope for further reductions,” said the auditor.

Mr. Donnelly also noted: “Many of the strategic outcomes included in the Policing Plan for 2016/17 are not measureable and are not outcomes; rather, they describe activities that may lead to a desired outcome. The Board and the PSNI need to give more consideration to how objectives are framed to ensure that they focus on strategic outcomes and to how success will be measured. Previous reports have identified slippage in the delivery of continuous improvement projects. This issue persists.”