How a police force engages with its staff is critical. Ensuring their ideas are heard and actioned drives continuous improvement ensuring our communities are kept safe.
South Wales Police (SWP) are the largest police force in Wales, with more than 6,000 officers and staff serving more than 1.7 million people.
Their vision is to be the best at understanding and responding to the needs of it’s communities to keep South Wales safe. To achieve this vision, SWP embarked on a change programme to empower staff in making both big and small improvements across the organisation.
This work commenced with the launch of a staff ideas campaign called “100 Things 100 Days”. This was hugely successful with over 750 ideas being received which reflected the innovative nature of the staff. The ideas were submitted through an intranet system with ideas managed using spreadsheets and emails.
South Wales Police are recognised as sector leaders in improvement and innovation. So the level of engagement and quantity of ideas wasn’t the issue. However, the excellent response quickly turned into an administrative burden for the improvement team. Staff expected full transparency with swift responses and action on ideas. This is without understanding the challenges of implementing new ideas into large and complex public sector organisations. As a result, South Wales Police went out to competitive tender to find a company to help.
We supported South Wales Police to roll-out our challenge-led approach to ensure staff were submitting ideas linked directly to strategic goals. This was combined with the launch of an open ideas space building social media style communities around key challenges. This created greater transparency and increased the quality and relevance of idea submissions.
As leaders in innovation in policing, the South Wales Police improvement team worked very closely with us to create a better way to manage the idea implementation process. This collaborative design approach led to the development of kanban-style idea project boards. This enabled idea implementation to be managed more effectively subsequently reducing the administrative burden of complex spreadsheets and volumes of emails.
To support access, the SimplyDo mobile app was released across all staff-issued mobile devices.
South Wales Police demonstrated that a strong culture of improvement already existed within the organisation. Our responsibility was to ensure that ideas were moving through to implementation as smoothly as possible.
A great example of this was through the “Shwmae” (Welsh for “Hello”) Challenge. This cross-organisational challenge was focused on ideas for staff wellbeing launched through a difficult period due to Covid. Nevertheless, this challenge alone was engaged with over 12,000 times resulting in 83 ideas which received 1,121 likes. To date, 29 ideas have already been implemented ranging from mentoring for junior officers through to the very popular introduction of wellbeing dogs.