If you could look, through a crystal ball perhaps, 3 months into the future you could tell a lot about PCC world, perhaps including how the new Commissioners were beginning to form their teams. But there is no need for any of you to transgress the admittedly-repealed Witchcraft Act, for Boris has done the job for you.
Take a peek at the Jobs section of the Mayor’s website and you will see that he and his Deputy for Policing Stephen Greenhalgh are busy advertising for Non-Executive Advisers and a Chief Operating Officer for the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.
The adverts are encouraging. The Advisers are 3-4 days per month positions, a welcome break from the idea in Local Government that important jobs are only ever handed down from heaven in 37-hour per week chunks, making them attractive to a wider range of people – women, retirees, people who spend too much time blogging, etc. They focus on Property, Procurement and Neighbourhoods, showing an early recognition for the importance of resolving issues in these areas.
The Chief Operating Officer on the other hand, is an up-to-£150K per year role that dwarves the salary of any PCC, and will be tempting to those of our readership in senior positions in Police Authorities. The supporting documents give details of the MOPAC Mission & Priorities, which have a reassuringly heavy emphasis on crime and not just policing, with a scattering of other clues on things like “shared services” that I will let others follow up.
A related issue that has come up a lot recently is around a basic question in how PCCs will form their teams.
Some candidates have been good enough to share their plans with me confidentially. There is a range from those who do not wish to appoint a Deputy PCC to those who want to appoint several. But recently I had some friendly advice from someone working at the Local Government Association (yes, really! Despite what I’ve said about the LGA more broadly, their staff can be quite good).
That point was questioning whether a PCC can really appoint more than one Deputy. Obviously the first thing I did was go back to s.18 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act. It provides (emphasis mine):-
18 Delegation of functions by police and crime commissioners
(1) The police and crime commissioner for a police area may—
(a) appoint a person as the deputy police and crime commissioner for that police area, and
(b) arrange for the deputy police and crime commissioner to exercise any function of the police and crime commissioner.
(2) A police and crime commissioner may arrange for any person (who is not the deputy police and crime commissioner) to exercise any function of the commissioner.
…and then there are various exceptions as to who can be appointed and what functions they can perform.
It’s that whole “the” Deputy PCC thing that is bothering me. Does the use of the definite article confine a PCC to one Deputy? Clearly the legislation allows other people also to be appointed and to do much of the same stuff, but the language does not seem to admit of more than one Deputy.
Then I read a little further – specifically to Schedule 1 of the Act which is also fairly heavy on the use of “the” with one exception (emphasis mine) –
9 (1) A police and crime commissioner must notify the relevant police and crime panel of each proposed appointment by the commissioner of—
(a) the commissioner’s chief executive,
(b) the commissioner’s chief finance officer, or
(c) a deputy police and crime commissioner.
My understanding of this difference is that a PCC must have a Chief Executive and Chief Finance Officer, but does not have to appoint a Deputy, so I don’t think this stretches the meaning.
Which then raises the issue of, if there can only be one Deputy, could the job be available on Job-Share, because that would require at least 2 people?
My contact suggested anyone wanting a number of Deputies could have them, but only one could be a Statutory Deputy. To me it is clearer, if you are going to do that, to appoint Assistant PCCs, and calling one of these Assistant Commissioner (a Chief-Constable-level rank in the Met) is so confusing and funny that it almost begs to be done.
And there are more puzzles around Deputies, but those are for another day.