Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset and Avon and Somerset Constabulary

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1 Avon and Somerset Constabulary Traffic Accidents Internal Audit Report (10.12/13) 12 February 2013 Overall Opinion: Amber/Green

2 CONTENTS Section Page Executive Summary 1 Action Plan 5 Findings and Recommendations 8 Debrief meeting 16 January 2013 Auditors David Taylor, Partner Draft report issued 5 February 2013 Helen Cargill, Director Ryan Richards, Manager Responses received 12 February 2013 Hannah Dennis, Auditor Final report issued 12 February 2013 Client Lead Mark Simmonds, Treasurer Business Lead Distribution Sue Dauncey, Head of Legal Services Mark Simmonds - Treasurer Dan Howitt - Policy Officer - Performance, Governance and Protective Services Jane Walmsley - Audit and Inspection Coordinator This review has been performed using RSM Tenon s bespoke internal audit methodology, i-ris. The matters raised in this report are only those which came to our attention during our internal audit work and are not necessarily a comprehensive statement of all the weaknesses that exist, or of all the improvements that may be required. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the information provided in this report is as accurate as possible, based on the information provided and documentation reviewed, no complete guarantee or warranty can be given with regard to the advice and information contained herein. Our work does not provide absolute assurance that material errors, loss or fraud do not exist. This report is prepared solely for the use of Board and senior management of Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset and. Details may be made available to specified external agencies, including external auditors, but otherwise the report should not be quoted or referred to in whole or in part without prior consent. No responsibility to any third party is accepted as the report has not been prepared, and is not intended for any other purpose RSM Tenon Limited The term "partner" is a title for senior employees, none of whom provide any services on their own behalf. RSM Tenon Limited is a subsidiary of RSM Tenon Group PLC. RSM Tenon Group PLC is an independent member of the RSM International network. The RSM International network is a network of independent accounting and consulting firms each of which practices in its own right. RSM International is the brand used by the network which is not itself a separate legal entity in any jurisdiction. RSM Tenon Limited (No ) is registered in England and Wales. Registered Office 66 Chiltern Street, London W1U 4GB. England

3 1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY INTRODUCTION An audit of Claims, focussing on Police Road Traffic Accidents, was undertaken as part of the approved internal audit periodic plan for 2012/13. The Legal Services department of deals with all claim management for all civil and police accident (POLAC) claims in house on behalf of the Chief Constable and with the authority of its insurer. Motor vehicle insurance is provided by Chartis through a policy which has a 100,000 excess liability. The Constabulary maintains its own insurance fund which is paid into by the PCC (formerly by the Police Authority) annually. This fund is also to cover claims relating to public and employer's liability insurance and must be managed under the same regulations as funds managed by insurance providers. The Legal Services department uses TFB, an electronic case management system, to maintain electronic files for all claims, supported with hard copy files for all cases also. TFB has been in use since On a monthly basis the Practice Manager prepares management information for the Legal Services department. This is based on data extracted from TFB and compiled into a directorate report. The directorate report contains: total cases opened per annum and to date since 1 July 2012, further divided into type of case; high risk cases currently open (high cost or reputational risk); and analysis of closed cases considering reserve allocated, claim settlement and actual cost incurred to manage the claim. Since the implementation of TFB in 2007, POLAC claims have cost Avon and Somerset Police a total of 481, in claim settlements and handling fees. Based on information recorded within TFB by the Case Worker handling each case we have analysed the cost per each district per year, further supported by information obtained from HR Admin and Transport to provide context regarding costs, as follows: Dept/ Total Officers Total Total % District and Staff vehicles B , % F , % G , % J , % E , % D , % Other depts 104, % Unknown 62, % 481, % The addition of the staffing and transport data highlights that although B district (Bristol) has the highest number of staff and Police Officers and the most vehicles this is only approximately three times more than that of F district (South Gloucestershire) but B district has incurred cost of over six times more than F district. We can consider the geography of each district, noting that Bristol is a suburban, built-up area with a higher concentration of population and vehicles in a smaller space. There may be, however, some further investigation required into this by the Constabulary to determine whether it is only these geographical differences that have resulted in B district incurring over 60% of costs related to POLACs since We have also noted that almost 13% of the total cost of claims has not been assigned to specific districts and departments. This information is dependent on the individual opening the file on TFB recording this information on the front sheet on the system, therefore the department should ensure this is completed for all claims to improve the usefulness of management information available.

4 2 1.2 CONCLUSION Overall Opinion: Amber/Green Taking account of the issues identified, the Board can take substantial assurance that the controls upon which the organisation relies to manage this area are suitably designed, consistently applied and effective. The above conclusions feeding into the overall assurance level are based on the evidence obtained during the review. The key findings from this review are as follows: of control framework Overall we have determined that the control of the design framework is robust and adequately designed. The Legal Services department has defined its procedure for managing POLAC claims in its departmental procedure for Road Traffic Accidents. This procedure was prepared in June 2012 and was therefore up to date of the time of the audit. A review schedule should be defined within this document to ensure regular review of the procedure is undertaken. The Legal Services department utilises the TFB case management system to maintain electronic case files recording key case information including reserves placed on claims and case notes. Hard copy documentation including letters from claimants are retained in a paper case file. We have suggested that the department investigate moving to use of electronic case management only through TFB with all hard copy documentation scanned and retained on TFB, although this remains a suggestion as we have noted that the current process is fit for the purposes of the department. There is a Learning the Lessons Force Forum in operation which seeks to identify lessons learned and share these across the Force s districts and departments. Having reviewed the attendees at the April 2012 meeting of the Learning the Lessons Force Forum we have observed that the Chair is currently not the Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Protective Services and the attendees exceeded those on the membership list with two attendees each from Legal Services and Operations and a Police and Crime Commissioner representative in attendance. No date has been set for review of the Terms of Reference and it is unclear when these were last reviewed. The Terms of Reference should also be reviewed to explicitly indicate when items for further discussion have been received from other groups and committees as there is a risk of duplication between groups, committees and forums within the force if clarity is not provided on this level. We also suggest a summary of the Learning the Lessons Force Forum s activities is prepared at least annually and submitted to the relevant force committee/group so that the benefits delivered by the forum are clearly set out and communicated. Observations on activities could also then feed into the following year s work programme and any further refresh of the Terms of Reference. As part of our work we have reviewed the work of the Learning the Lessons Committee against its Terms of Reference and noted that these are not dated and are not sufficiently detailed to clearly define the role of this Committee alongside the Learning the Lessons Force Forum. The Committee meets monthly, and maintains an actions and risk log, however we have noted that it is unclear how this Committee is doing anything different from the Forcewide Forum, and what benefit there is for the two groups operating as they currently do. The Learning the Lessons Committee Terms of Reference should be reviewed to ensure that the Committee is still necessary given the Force-wide Forum already in place. The Terms of Reference should be updated to include additional detail on the role of the Committee and its reporting lines.

5 3 Application of and compliance with control framework Our testing found that overall, compliance with the control framework was adequate with only some minor inconsistencies noted as follows: All paper case files tested included a completed POLAC report to support the opening of the case file and pursuing of the claim; 8/10 paper case files included a completed file opening form however 2/10 did not. Case Workers must ensure a file opening form is completed to evidence completion of a risk assessment and authorisation by the Head of Legal Services or Head of Practice to open the file; All cases had a reserve identified on TFB which was not less than the final cost of the case upon closing; All cases included an assessment of liability with discussion with relevant witnesses and other departments documented; Of the 10 cases tested 3 were closed due to no further contact being received from the claimant however the remaining 7 case files held evidence of negotiation and agreement of final settlement. Although we did not specifically undertake testing of destruction of files when selecting a sample of case files for testing we were advised that two files closed in 2012 had been destroyed prior to our audit. As the Legal Services department has a six year retention period for all case files the department should ensure that files are retained for a minimum of six years from the date of the file closing to ensure access to all case documentation is possible if required. 1.3 SCOPE OF THE REVIEW The objective of the audit was to evaluate the adequacy of controls in place to manage risks associated with the claim process, specifically in relation to third party claimants, and the extent to which controls have been applied, with a view to providing an opinion. Control activities are put in place to ensure that risks to the achievement of the organisation s objectives are managed effectively. When planning the audit, the following controls for review and limitations were agreed: Control activities relied upon: Departmental procedure for Road Traffic Accidents Terms of Reference for Learning the Lessons forum Limitations to the scope of the audit: We will not undertake testing on any claims relating to public or employers liability, nor will we review any procedure relating to these types of claims. Damage value and accountability is overseen by Transport and has been excluded from the scope of this audit. We will not comment on the compliance of the Constabulary with the terms and conditions of its insurer in relation to claims handling as compliance with these is audited on an annual basis by the insurer. We will not comment on the circumstances of any claim reviewed and will seek to evaluate the compliance of the Legal Services team with its defined procedures with regard to the completeness of case files only. We have not undertaken specific testing of destruction of files within agreed periods. Testing is undertaken on a sample basis only. Our work does not provide an absolute assurance that fraud, loss or error does not exist. The approach taken for this audit was a System-Based Audit.

6 4 1.4 RECOMMENDATIONS SUMMARY The following tables highlight the number and categories of recommendations made. The Action Plan at Section 2 details the specific recommendations made as well as agreed management actions to implement them. Recommendations made during this audit: Our recommendations address the design and application of the control framework as follows: Priority High Medium Low of control framework Application of control framework Total The recommendations address the risks within the scope of the audit as set out below: Priority Area High Medium Low Management of Police Road Traffic Accident (POLAC) claims Lessons learned and continuous improvement Hire and repair costs Total ADDITIONAL FEEDBACK We have also made suggestions where we have identified innovation or good practice at other organisations that Avon and Somerset Police Authority may wish to consider: Suggestions Made During the Audit The Constabulary should undertake some analysis of cost per district to determine whether cost of POLAC claims could be reduced. The Head of Legal Services should investigate the possibility of moving to electronic filing only for POLACs to improve efficiency of the department by reducing duplication of information and by reducing the space required for physical storage of files, supported with daily back up of the TFB system by the Constabulary. The Head of Legal Services should prepare an analysis of all cases closed within a defined period for which the Constabulary admitted liability and for which it paid credit hire costs and repair costs as part of the settlement. Once a clear analysis of actual costs is available this could then be compared to costs for similar hire or repairs with the Constabulary's preferred provider of hire cars to determine potential savings. If this analysis indicates worthwhile savings the Constabulary should then follow the proper procedures to enter into an agreement for hire and repair services. We are unable to provide benchmarking for this review due to the Constabulary managing its legal services in-house whilst the majority of Police Forces outsource this service, and therefore we have undertaken no other similar reviews at other Forces.

7 2 ACTION PLAN The priority of the recommendations made is as follows: 5 Priority High Medium Low Suggestion Description Recommendations are prioritised to reflect our assessment of risk associated with the control weaknesses. These are not formal recommendations that impact our overall opinion, but used to highlight a suggestion or idea that management may want to consider. Ref Recommendation Categorisation Accepted (Y/N) Management Comment Implementation Date Manager Responsible Exec Sum mary The Constabulary should undertake some analysis of cost per district to determine whether cost of POLAC claims could be reduced. Suggestion Y Quarterly reports to CCCFO and PCCCFO for discussion and further dissemination as appropriate. 30 th April Sue Dauncey Head of Legal Services Exec Sum mary The Legal Services department should ensure that the front sheet on TFB is completed with information identifying the district or department in which the POLAC occurred to improve the reliability of data available for analysis. Medium Y LSD have updated the front sheet to capture district/department information to enable analysis and quarterly reports. Immediate Sue Dauncey Head of Legal Services 1.1 The Legal Services department should define a review schedule for the departmental procedure for Road Traffic Accidents. Low Y Reviews every two years built into process review schedule. Immediate Sue Dauncey Head of Legal Services 1.2 The Head of Legal Services should Suggestion Y LSD are currently investigating Ongoing Sue Dauncey

8 6 Ref Recommendation Categorisation Accepted (Y/N) Management Comment Implementation Date Manager Responsible investigate the possibility of moving to electronic filing only for POLACs to improve efficiency of the department by reducing duplication of information and by reducing the space required for physical storage of files, supported with daily back up of the TFB system by the Constabulary. the potential for and resourcing a paperless system. Head of Legal Services 1.3 In line with its defined process and to ensure that it documents the completion of a conflict check and risk assessment the Legal Services department should ensure all files created include a completed file opening form. 1.6 The Legal Services department should review its process for destruction of hard copy case files to ensure that files are not destroyed before their defined destruction date. 2.1 The Force Learning the Lessons Forum should refresh their Terms of Reference and prepare an annual report for the year ending March 2013 to provide clear evidence of the benefits of the forum and a summary of the learning the lessons forum s activities for the year. 2.2 The Learning the Lessons Committee terms of reference should be reviewed to ensure that the committee is still necessary given the force wide forum Low Y Admin will now double check all files to ensure existence and completion of file opening forms. Medium Y We have communicated the importance of retaining files for the agreed period of six years to all department staff. Medium Y A review of the TOR and Annual Report is currently being undertaken, to outline the benefits of the forum and learning activities for the year. Medium Y A review of the TOR of Learning the lessons is currently being undertaken, as well as a review of the relevance of the force Completed Sue Dauncey Head of Legal Services Complete. Sue Dauncey Head of Legal Services 31 st August 2013 Ian Wylie - PSD 30 th June 2013 Ian Wylie - PSD

9 7 Ref Recommendation Categorisation Accepted (Y/N) Management Comment Implementation Date Manager Responsible already in place. The Terms of Reference should provide specific detail on the membership of the group and the differences between the Committee and the Force-wide Forum given the risk of duplication of effort in this area and the necessity of the two groups continuing to operate as they do currently. wide and local committee Learning the Lessons Meetings outlining the benefits and any possible duplication. 3.1 The Head of Legal Services should prepare an analysis of all cases closed within a defined period for which the Constabulary admitted liability and for which it paid credit hire costs and repair costs as part of the settlement. Once a clear analysis of actual costs is available this could then be compared to costs for similar hire or repairs with the Constabulary's preferred provider of hire cars to determine potential savings. If this analysis indicates worthwhile savings the Constabulary should then follow the proper procedures to enter into an agreement for hire and repair services. Suggestion Y The specific data will be captured by TFB to obtain an analysis for a year. 1 April March 2014 Sue Dauncey Head of Legal Services

10 8 3 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Area 1: Management of Police Road Traffic Accident (POLAC) claims 1.1 The Legal Services department has a procedure in place which defines the process to be followed for managing police road traffic accidents (POLACs). The procedure was prepared by the department to assist in local management of the process and to ensure continuity of records kept. Yes We obtained a copy of the Legal Services departmental procedure for Road Traffic Accidents for review. We noted that the procedure was prepared recently as a result of the department recognising it needed to document its required process to enforce consistency of approach to case management and file completion. We noted although version control has been included as a table in the departmental procedure a review schedule has not yet been defined. The Legal Services department should define a review schedule for the departmental procedure for Road Traffic Accidents. As this is a procedure which is rarely subject to change a biannual review of the document would be appropriate, although amendments can be made outside of scheduled reviews if needed. The Legal Services department should define a review schedule for the departmental procedure for Road Traffic Accidents. Low 1.2 The Legal Services department use the case management system, TFB, for maintaining an electronic file for all POLAC cases managed by the team. The entire file is stored within TFB and a supporting hard copy file is also maintained which includes all documentation pertinent to the Yes We discussed the use of TFB and hard copy files with the Head of Legal Services who confirmed that TFB has been in use since 2007 and has always been supported by the department maintaining a paper file for every case. The department has continued to maintain paper files due to historic problems with its previous case management system which resulted in loss of data on multiple occasions, although since the implementation of The Head of Legal Services should investigate the possibility of moving to electronic filing only for POLACs to improve efficiency of the department by reducing duplication of information and by reducing the Suggestion

11 9 case. A hard copy file is maintained both to ensure a backup of case documentation is available should electronic information be lost, and for use in court should the case reach court. TFB is also used for all administrative functions of the department. TFB this has not been an issue. Although paper files are required to take to court cases only reach court if the Constabulary refuses to admit liability, a circumstance which is not common as where the Police Officer is at fault in a case the Legal Services department works to admit this and settle the claim at the lowest cost possible. Within our sample of 10 cases tested all 10 had complete paper files and a case file held on TFB however only 1 case went to court. space required for physical storage of files, supported with daily back up of the TFB system by the Constabulary. The Legal Services department is currently duplicating the time taken to maintain files by preparing these both electronically and on paper, therefore maintaining electronic files only could improve the efficiency of the department with paper files only being. However, as TFB is not considered a core system for the Constabulary, the system is not backed up as regularly as the department requires to be assured that risk of data loss is managed sufficiently to maintain a single electronic filing system. The Head of Legal Services should investigate the possibility of moving to electronic filing only for POLACs to improve efficiency of the department by reducing duplication of information and by reducing the space required for physical storage of files. Paper files could then be produced only for cases which go to court. This should be supported with daily back up of the TFB system by the Constabulary. 1.3 When an accident occurs involving a Constabulary vehicle a POLAC report is completed by Yes We selected a sample of 10 cases closed since 1 April 2012 and reviewed the files for each of these to determine whether each was supported by an In line with its defined process and to ensure that it documents the Low

12 10 the Sergeant on duty. This must be sent to the Transport Services department. It is a Force requirement that the Sergeant on duty attends the scene of any POLAC. They will then be sufficiently informed to complete the POLAC report. On receipt of the POLAC report the Legal Services team will open a file and hold the POLAC report until correspondence is received from the claimant, their insurer or someone acting on their behalf. On opening the file a file opening form must be completed and kept within the file which notes: - description of claim (claimant name and claim reference); - work type (nature of claim e.g. civil litigation or POLAC); - fee earner; - supervisor; - conflict check; - risk assessment (any circumstances which may cause the claim to be of high risk to the Constabulary are recorded here); and - acceptance of instructions (agreement of opening of file) or refusal of instructions with initial POLAC report and that a file opening form had been completed in full and retained on the file. Our initial sample of 10 cases selected for testing was amended as 2/10 files had been destroyed since their closing. We therefore selected an additional two cases for review. Our testing found: - 10/10 files included a POLAC report all of which were the standard format required; - 8/10 files had a fully completed file opening form; however - 2/10 files did not have a file opening form. In line with its defined process and to ensure that it documents the completion of a conflict check and risk assessment the Legal Services department should ensure all files created include a completed file opening form. completion of a conflict check and risk assessment the Legal Services department should ensure all files created include a completed file opening form.

13 11 justification. All new claims must be subject to a conflict check to identify any other claims already being managed relating to the same incident. All new claims must also be risk assessed to determine whether they are high, medium or low risk based on the circumstances of the claim, the reserve value to be placed on the claim and any other known factors which would present nonfinancial risk. 1.4 Once the file has been opened it will be held until correspondence is received to confirm that the claim is being pursued by the claimant. Following receipt of correspondence the lawyer or caseworker assigned to the case will assess the case to determine liability. This will include review of the initial POLAC report and could require information recorded in Officer notebooks, witness statements and in the Accident Report Book if injury was sustained by any party involved. Based on this assessment the Yes For our sample of 10 cases we tested to ensure that a reserve had been identified and recorded on TFB for each case and to evaluate whether the reserves identified were in line with actual costs incurred to handle the case. Our testing confirmed that in all cases there was a reserve recorded within TFB which was in every case moderately higher than the cost incurred to manage the case. We are satisfied that reserves are identified for every case and that these reserves are aligned to the actual costs incurred in cases. We also tested to ensure that each case file included evidence of assessment of liability following receipt of correspondence from the other party or their insurer. For all 10 cases tested we confirmed this element of the process had been followed and evidence was on file to support the None.

14 12 lawyer or caseworker will then identify a reserve for the claim which is the total and highest expected cost to the Constabulary to settle the claim based on costs and on compensation expected to be paid. For claims where the liability does not lie with the Constabulary the reserve will be low, whilst for claims for which the Constabulary is liable and which involve significant repair and hire vehicle cost the reserve will be greater. If the Constabulary is the claimant the Legal Services team will send correspondence to the defendant to commence negotiation. progression of the claim. We are satisfied that the Legal Services department is progressing handling of claims in line with the departmental procedure. 1.5 The Legal Services team will liaise with the claimant/defendant (or those acting on behalf of the claimant/defendant) to negotiate a settlement. The Legal Services team act on the instruction of Transport Services on whether to settle a claim or whether to maintain denied liability. If the Constabulary denies liability it must disclose evidence to support its denial. This will include the Accident Report Book entry Yes We reviewed the case files for the sample of 10 selected cases to ensure that evidence of instruction and negotiation of a final settlement was retained on file. We noted that 3 cases were closed due to no further contact being received from the claimant for an extended period of time and despite chasing by the Case Worker. We confirmed that for the remaining 7 cases all files included instruction from Transport Services on progression of the case and evidence of the agreement of a final settlement. We are satisfied that evidence of instruction and settlement is retained on file by the Legal Services department. None.

15 13 regarding the accident, the POLAC report and extracts from Officer notebooks relating to the accident and circumstances surrounding this. On this instruction the Legal Services team will agree a settlement with the claimant/defendant. 1.6 Once a settlement has been agreed which requires Avon and Somerset Police to make a payment to the claimant the Caseworker will notify the Finance team that a cheque needs to be raised to the claimant. Yes Our testing of the selected sample of 10 cases confirmed that for six out of ten cases Avon and Somerset Police reached a settlement which required payment to a claimant and for all six of these cases the Caseworker had informed Finance of the need to raise a cheque and a copy of the cheque had been retained on file. The Legal Services department should review its process for destruction of hard copy case files to ensure that files are not destroyed before their defined destruction date. Medium Once a case has been settled and the hard copy file has been closed the file will be archived at Police HQ. Hard copy files are given a destruction date of six years following closure of the case by the Case Worker. Our audit did not specifically test the destruction of files, however when selecting our initial sample we identified an issue with destruction of files. We selected our sample for testing from a record of all files closed in 2012 however within our initially selected sample of 10 files two were not available for review as these had already been destroyed. As both cases were recorded as being closed in 2012 these should not have been destroyed until 2018 at the earliest. As the destruction of records was not within the scope of this review we selected a further two records for testing, however there is a risk that the Legal Services department is destroying files outside of its policy for destruction. All hard copy

16 14 files are supported by information retained in the electronic case management system, however not all documents received are scanned and saved within the case management system. Retention of documents for a minimum of two years should be ensured to support any requirement to produce original documentation. The Legal Services department should review its process for destruction of hard copy case files to ensure that files are not destroyed before their defined destruction date. Area 2: Lessons learned and continuous improvement 2.1 The Force has in place a Learning the Lessons Force Forum. The Terms of Reference state the objectives of the Forum are as follows: To identify high risk organisational learning and critical best practice arising from professional standards investigations, legal challenges and both statutory and force reviews. To include, but not restricted to; civil and employment claims, public complaints, major crime reviews, domestic homicide & serious case reviews, MAPPA reviews, formal inspections, Post Incident Management procedures and critical incident operational No We reviewed the minutes of the April 2012 Learning the Lessons Force Forum meeting and noted that activity appeared to be in line with the forum s terms of reference. Items discussed included: Review of previously identified learning & actions Lessons/Emerging issues identified by Professional Standard Department Lessons/Emerging issues identified by Legal Services Department Lessons/Emerging issues identified at Protected Services forum Lessons/Emerging issues identified by Criminal Justice Review of ODT Risk Register The associated risk and action log included The Force Learning the Lessons Forum should refresh their Terms of Reference and prepare an annual report for the year ending March 2013 to provide clear evidence of the benefits of the forum and a summary of the learning the lessons forum s activities for the year. Medium

17 15 debriefs. (To receive appropriate high risk referrals from the PSD Learning the Lessons Committee and Protective Services Forum) To assess the risk presented by identified learning & ensure appropriately recorded within the force risk register. To escalate high risk organisational learning to the regional forum where appropriate. To endorse methods of addressing learning, methods of monitoring & timescales for specific action as identified by the PSD Committee & Protective Services Forum. To embed high risk learning within relevant organisation plans and to ensure monitoring of action & assessment of resolution. The membership of the forum is as follows: Chair ACC Protective Services; Professional Standards lead; Legal Services lead Clad lead (Investigative reference to all items discussed and proposed to be added to the log, alongside a subjective risk assessment of the area under consideration. Having reviewed the attendees at the April 2012 meeting we have observed that the Chair is currently not the ACC Protective Services and the attendees exceeded those on the membership list with two attendees each from Legal Services and Ops and a Police Authority representative in attendance. No date has been set for review of the Terms of Reference and it is unclear when these were last reviewed. The terms of reference should also be reviewed to explicitly indicate when items for further discussion have been received from other groups and committees as there is a risk of duplication between groups, committees and forums within the force if clarity is not provided on this level. While we are satisfied that this group is operating broadly in line with its planned activity, a refresh of the terms of reference will ensure that this group remains adequately focused on its role as the forcewide learning the lessons forum. We would also suggest a summary of the group s activities is prepared at least annually and submitted to the relevant force committee/group so that the benefits delivered by the forum are clearly set out and communicated. Observations on activities could also then feed into the following year s work programme and any further refresh of the terms of

18 16 Training & Operational Training) CID lead Operations lead PIO support to track actions & monitor progress. ODT Risk Register & Planning leads. The members of the forum meet quarterly. The Terms of Reference have no review date set. reference. 2.2 The Force has in place a Learning the Lessons Committee, which feeds into the Learning the Lessons Forum. This meeting is sponsored by Professional Standards Department and includes ODT and Legal Services among its members. The Terms of Reference highlight its key areas of activity. These are very brief and are not dated. No As part of our work we have reviewed the work of the Learning the Lessons Committee against its Terms of Reference. The Terms of Reference are not particularly detailed and are not dated. The Committee meets monthly, and maintains an actions and risk log. Our observations are that it is unclear how the Committee is doing anything different from the Force-wide Forum, and what benefit there is for the two groups operating as they currently do. We would therefore encourage a review of the Committee s Terms of Reference to ensure that these remain valid and appropriate to the The Learning the Lessons Committee terms of reference should be reviewed to ensure that the committee is still necessary given the force wide forum already in place. The Terms of Reference should provide specific detail on the membership of the group and the differences between the Committee and the Force-wide Forum given the risk of duplication of Medium

19 17 requirements of the Force, with particular consideration given to the need to maintain a Committee and a Forum for learning lessons. effort in this area and the necessity of the two groups continuing to operate as they do currently. Area 3: Hire and repair costs 3.1 The Constabulary is required to meet the costs of repair and of hire vehicles for claims which it admits liability for. Although claimants are required to incur only reasonable cost, through the hire of a minimum specification replacement vehicle or like-for-like vehicle if required, credit hire firms charge significant interest on cost of hire for delayed payment, as much as 40% of the initial cost three months following the date of hire, and due to delays in agreement of settlements with insurance companies high interest changes are often incurred. To keep costs to a minimum the Legal Services department contact claimants where it is clear the Constabulary is at fault as soon as possible following the POLAC to discuss repair without involvement of insurance Yes We discussed the current process for provision of hire vehicles and arrangement for repair with the Head of Legal Services who advised that the Constabulary has informal agreements with a garage and a hire vehicle provider and whose services are used wherever possible through making contact with potential claimants as early as possible. To further support this process the Head of Legal Services has considered the possibility of entering an agreement for hire and repair of vehicles but the Legal Services department has not done any work to analyse the potential savings to be made through this as yet. We suggest that the Head of Legal Services prepares an analysis of all cases closed within a defined period for which the Constabulary admitted liability and for which it paid credit hire costs and repair costs as part of the settlement. Once a clear analysis of actual costs is available this could then be compared to costs for similar hire or repairs with the Constabulary's preferred provider of hire cars to determine potential savings. If this analysis indicates worthwhile savings the Constabulary should then The Head of Legal Services should prepare an analysis of all cases closed within a defined period for which the Constabulary admitted liability and for which it paid credit hire costs and repair costs as part of the settlement. Once a clear analysis of actual costs is available this could then be compared to costs for similar hire or repairs with the Constabulary's preferred provider of hire cars to determine potential savings. If this analysis indicates worthwhile savings the Constabulary should then follow the proper procedures to enter into an agreement for hire and repair services. Suggestion

20 18 companies and to offer provision of a hire car by their chosen provider to control cost as far as possible. This ensures the Legal Services team can arrange for repairs to be done quickly, to reduce the time the hire vehicle is needed, and at a lesser cost than would be charged through an insurer. follow the proper procedures to enter into an agreement for hire and repair services.

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