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Conference 2015 | PFEW review: Home Office are slowing up the change process

THE HOME Office has the speed of a tractor, not a racing car, when it comes to helping the Police Federation of England and Wales to reform itself, the Fed's General Secretary has said.

The organisaton is in the process of implementing the 36 recommendations for change as made in the Normington Review - published last year. But the Police Federation annual conference heard that - with changes in legislation needed - the Home Office is slowing up the reform process.

The Federation is around 40% of its way through the programme, the conference heard on Thursday (21 May), and work is "in progress" on 23 remaining recommendations.

In a session on reform, Andy Fittes, General Secretary of the Federation, said: "The Home Office are not a racing car - they are a tractor. It may be a dependable tractor that doesn't break down very often but it sure wasn't built for speed.

"So we will hold our end of the bargain on this. We will get the work that they need to do to them. We need to get this work done and to get this work to the Home Office so that they can deliver their end of the bargain. The Home Secretary said she will stand up to that. But it won't be our fault if anyone slips.

We will hold our end of the bargain."

Delegates heard 80 per cent of the PFEW reforms are expected to be completed by 2016 with all completed by 2018.

One of the first changes to be made took place in June last year when the core purpose for the organisation was accepted.

The recommendation said: "The starting point should be a revised statutory purpose for the Federation which sets a new tone and commitment, recognises the reality of its accountability to its members and the public and incorporates a commitment to new standards of conduct and transparency."

Mr Fittes said: "That really sets us off on the right foot - it demonstrates a willingness to change and it puts accountability and transparency at the heart of the organisation. And for an organisation that doesn't do a lot of change, it's the first time we did something like that since 1919. The Home Secretary [in her speech to conference] said she intends to put that core purpose into legislation. But at the end of the day it matters not because it lies at the heart of what we do."

The separate rank structures were removed in April and a joint fund was set up so members' subscriptions - 70% of which go to Leatherhead - go into a joint fund. And a "financial transparency clause" has also been accepted which requires the Federation to publish details of its accounts.

Mr Fittes said: "That doesn't hold any fear. We say it often enough that we don't have anything to hide. We are police officers. We do not have anything to hide over our accounts. That clause is not a problem for us."

This week an "openness commitment" was signed by Federation Chairman Steve White and Chairmen of all the joint branch boards around the country to confirm they will make all committee papers and minutes available to members.

"It's another way of putting transparency at the heart of the federation," Mr Fittes added.


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