What is the role of the Police and Crime Panel ('The Panel')?
The Panel has the role of scrutinising the performance of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). The Panel will challenge and support the PCC's activities over a range of policy areas, including the delivery of the Police and Crime Plan. The Panel will also have a role in the handling of complaints against the PCC and the confirmation of key staff posts within the Office of the PCC. The Home Office has emphasised that the PCP is not a replacement Police Authority; it has an important but narrow function to support and challenge the PCC.
What is the relationship between the Police and Crime Panel, the PCC and the Chief Constable?
The Home Office has produced a national protocol to define the relationship between the PCC, the Panel and the Chief Constable. In brief, the protocol says that:
- the PCC will have responsibility for setting the 'strategic direction and objectives of the force', and monitoring performance including against the priorities in the police and crime plan
- the PCC will be responsible for holding the chief constable to account (but not fettering the Chief Constable's operational independence, or that of the force)
- the PCC will provide the 'local link' between the police and the public, working to 'translate the legitimate desires and aspirations of the public into action
- the PCC must comply with all formal requests from the Panel to attend their meetings
- the PCC must prepare and issue an annual report to the Panel on delivery against the objectives in the police and crime plan
- the PCC has wider responsibilities as well - making crime and disorder reduction grants, delivery of community safety, enhancement of the delivery of criminal justice in the area and bringing together Community Safety Partnerships at force level, and, importantly, the 'ability to enter into collaboration agreements between other PCCs and force'.
What powers will the Panel have?
The Panel can require the PCC or a member of their staff to attend a meeting to answer questions; appoint an acting PCC if required; veto the precept or appointment of a Chief Constable (by two thirds majority); and request sight of papers held by the PCC. The Panel can request but not require the Chief Constable to attend a meeting alongside the PCC. The accountability of the Chief Constable remains firmly to the PCC and not to the Panel.
In what other ways will Local Authorities influence priorities of the PCC?
Partners will discuss policing and community safety priorities outside of the Panel within the wider partnership arena.
There may also need to be links with local authorities' health scrutiny powers under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, given that joint or co-commissioning between the PCC and directors of public health may prove important both in reducing re-offending, and with early intervention on various matters relating to criminal justice and community safety.
Such areas will provide further opportunities for the Panel to work together with Local Authority scrutiny functions.
Panels may also need to consider how they work with other Police and Crime Panels in relation to joint working and collaboration already existing between forces.
How else will Local Authorities be involved in Community Safety?
Local Authorities will continue to have a duty to scrutinise Community Safety Partnerships (CSP) under the Police and Justice Act 2006.
The community safety duty for Local Authorities under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 remains.
Good links with CSP scrutiny committees of Local Authorities will help the Panel advise the PCC accordingly.
Who chairs the Panel?
The Chairperson for the Panel is elected by the Panel Members.
The current Chairman is Councillor Patricia O'Brien
The current Vice Chairman is the Reverend Canon Paul Daltry
How many members are there?
In Suffolk there are 13 members of the Panel. Legislation says there must be 12 and we have to get permission from the Secretary of State for the Home Office, and the agreement of the Panel itself to appoint more than this.
Who are the members?
They include 11 councillors who are appointed so that they represent the proportion of councillors in Suffolk for each political group.
There must also be 2 independent co-opted members who cannot be councillors.
The current members of the Panel are shown on the Committee section of this website.
How were the independent co-opted members selected?
The shortlisting process was done in accordance with standard practice within the Council to consider each applicant's submission in relation to the role profile and the person specification.
A Panel of 3 officers, including the council's monitoring officer selected the highest scoring applicants to be shortlisted for interview.
The interviews were conducted by a member of the county council, a member of one of the district councils, the monitoring officers from Suffolk County Council and from Waveney District Council as part of a process agreed by Suffolk Leaders and reported to Council on 24 May 2012.
These people who formed the interview Panel make a recommendation to the Suffolk Police and Crime Panel who consider and appoint the 2 independent co-opted panel members.
How was the political representation chosen?
We looked to see how many councillors there were across the county, district and borough councils in Suffolk and how they were affiliated to each political group.
This information was used to work out how many members the authorities needed to nominate from each group.
The leaders of each of the councils agreed how the number of places would be allocated between them and then nominated a member from their authority.
We was then able to ensure that there was the necessary representation to achieve the 'political balance' which the law says we must have.
Each council considered who was the best person for the Panel based on their experience and knowledge.
Will the co-opted independent community members also be subject to the Code of Conduct and requirement to complete a register of interests?
Yes, they will have the same requirements as elected members in this respect.
How will the membership be reviewed?
The Panel will review its operation and report back to the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders. After each council election we will look at the number of seats for each group to make sure that the Panel still meetings the 'political balance'.
What is a Confirmation Hearing?
The panel must hold Confirmation Hearings when the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) proposes to make an appointment to the following roles:
- Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner
- Chief Constable
- Chief Executive
- Chief Finance Officer
The PCC must notify the Panel they wish to make one of the above appointments, and the Panel has three weeks to respond to the PCC with a recommendation as to whether the appointment should be confirmed. The Panel must invite the candidate to attend a Confirmation Hearing to answer questions relating to the appointment before making a recommendation.
The PCC may choose to accept or reject the Panel's recommendation and must notify the Panel of their decision. The appointment cannot be made until the end of the confirmation process.
Confirmation Hearings are held in public. The Panel may deliberate in private and will publish its recommendation.
How is the Police and Crime Panel financed?
For the 2015/16 financial year, the Home Office has approved an annual grant of up to £65,260 to Suffolk County Council as the Host Authority for the Police and Crime Panel. Half yearly claims are made to the Home Office.
For the period 1 April 2015 to 30 September 2015, the administration costs were £22,671. In addition, member expenses, including employer National Insurance and Pension fund contributions and member training, totalling £4,624 were paid. Claims received for the period are listed below:
- £2,568 Patricia O’Brien in respect of Chairman’s Special Responsibility Allowance; and
- £350 Paul Daltry Independent Community Member attendance allowances.
For the period 1 October 2015 to 31 March 2016, the administration costs were £26,682. In addition, member expenses, including employer National Insurance and Pension Fund contributions and member training, totalling £5,477 were paid. Claims received for the period are listed below:
- £2,568 Patricia O'Brien in respect of Chairman's Special Responsibility Allowance;
- £140 Manwar Ali Independent Community Member attendance allowance and
- £67 Manwar Ali Independent Community Member travel expenses
- £1,120 Paul Daltry Independent Community Member attendance allowances (included work on a task and finish panel) and
- £59 Paul Daltry Independent Community Member travel expenses
For the 2016/17 financial year, the Home Office has approved an annual grant of up to £65,260 to Suffolk County Council as the Host Authority for the Police and Crime Panel. Half yearly claims are made to the Home Office.
For the period 1 April 2016 to 30 September 2016, the administration costs were £22,332. In addition, member expenses, including employer National Insurance and Pension Fund contributions and member training, totalling £4,171 were paid. Claims for the period are listed below:
- £2,568 Patricia O'Brien in respect of Chairman's Special Responsibility Allowance
For the period 1 October 2016 to 31 March 2017 the administration costs were £27,869. In addition, member expenses, including employer National Insurance and Pension fund contributions and member training, totalling £3,883 were paid. Claims for the period are listed below:
- £2,568 Patricia O’Brien in respect of Chairman’s Special Responsibility Allowance
- £70 Manwar Ali Independent Community Member Attendance Allowance
- £280 Paul Daltry Independent Community Member Attendance Allowance
For the period 1 April 2017 to 30 September 2017 the administration costs were £29,769. In addition, member expenses, including employer National Insurance and Pension fund contributions and member training, totalling £3,215 were paid. Claims for the period are listed below:
- £2,568 Patricia O’Brien in respect of Chairman’s Special Responsibility Allowance
Suffolk County Council
Community and safety
Crime and public safety
Police and Crime Panel and the Police and Crime Commissioner
- Police and Crime Panel
- The Police and Crime Commissioner
- Complaints about the Police and Crime Commissioner
- Police and Crime Panel reports and recommendations to the PCC
- Police and Crime Panel frequently asked questions