Process Improvement in the Public Sector

In this interview we talk to representatives from a large police force about how Deming’s work and the PMI approach and philosophies can be applied to policing and the wider public sector. They discuss how police forces can adopt a systems thinking approach to deliver excellent performance and results


Working with PMI

The department I work in had a previous head who was very interested in working with Dr. W Edwards Deming’s theories, and he had used this operationally, whilst he was an operations manager on one of our command units, quiet successfully. He was convinced of its application to Policing. And at the time it was very new, as far as I am aware we were the first police force to embrace Deming’s work. […] Because of [PMI’s] close association with the Deming Forum, as it was then [the head of the department] sent me on a Black Belt course with [PMI]. We rolled out some training to the force, we didn’t start that until October 2007 and we did that with the help of PMI. Both in terms of the PowerPoint slides that we were using, the books which we used the Process Manager which we used as the essential ready for the course, and the design of the course which we did in close association with somebody from PMI, so that was very helpful.

Process Improvement in the Public Sector

Essentially we operate a production line in the same way that a car does, except what we put together is information. So we will have a contact with a member of the public, by telephone, by them popping into a Police Station, or by talking to a Police Officer. And that is our first information about something that has happened, it might be a crime, it might be an incident, it might be a road traffic collision or a missing person, or variety of things. What we then do with that information and how we develop that information, hopefully by the end of our production line we have got a crystal clear picture of what has happened. Very often it isn’t crystal clear, in fact in most cases it isn’t. But what we have found is that going through that process is very similar to a production line producing a car, unless you build quality into every stage of the process, you don’t have a crystal clear picture at the end of it. Trying to the message therefore across to staff that, that’s essentially our business, building information and intelligence in that sort of way, that has really been a gain.

Click on the play icon to hear Part One of the interview.

In the second part of the interview they talk about how to use process improvement theory to give structure when looking at the priorities that need working on. They also discuss approaches on how to get the best thoughts and ideas from staff and improvement teams.

Click on the play icon to hear Part Two of the interview.

The Police Force