The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire (OPCC) has received a prestigious national award for openness and transparency.
The ‘Open and Transparent Quality Mark’ has been awarded by CoPaCC, an independent organisation which monitors police governance by comparing Police and Crime Commissioners and the work of their offices.
The award recognises the efforts made by the PCC and his office to provide the public with key information in accessible format on their website, including information about projects and activities, how finances are managed, what the key priorities are for the PCC and the progress made against them, as well as information around policies and procedures.
To date, the Transparency Quality Mark has been granted to only 28 of the 41 PCC’s offices across the country, with this year being the fifth in succession that Warwickshire has been awarded the prestigious accolade.
This year, CoPaCC added a further criteria for assessment – ‘ease of use’, i.e. how easy is it for a member of the public to find information which is required by statute to be published. This means that it is no longer sufficient to just make the information available; it should be easy to identify where the information can be found and simple to navigate with the minimum number of steps. A higher pass threshold was also introduced.
OPCCs were assessed during November and December 2019 with CoPaCCs researcher acting as a ‘mystery shopper’ looking for the required information on the website of each OPCC.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “Like any public office, it’s really important to be open and transparent in everything that we do on the public’s behalf, providing the public the information they need to hold me to account and also be fully involved in my work.
“The criteria for the Quality Mark has been tightened this year, so I am pleased that we have again retained our national recognition. It’s really down to the hard work of all of the team in my office, who deserve the full credit for this achievement.”
CoPaCC chief executive Bernard Rix added: “The successful these OPCCs have all demonstrated that they are transparent in what they do, meeting relevant legal requirements. They present key information in an accessible format on their websites. I congratulate them all on their award-winning work, and I look forward to what I trust will be continued excellent work by each and every one of them in this area.”
Grant Thornton, the leading police assurance provider, sponsor CoPaCC’s Transparency Quality Mark analysis and the associated awards. Paul Grady, Head of Police for Grant Thornton, commented that: “Transparency is an essential part of the democratic process. For the public to be able gauge how successful their PCC is in delivering their electoral mandate, they need access to information that is accessible, easy to understand and fit for purpose. Grant Thornton is proud to once again be supporting these Transparency Awards and we congratulate all those who have been successful in meeting the standards required.”
A formal presentation to OPCCs of the CoPaCC ‘Open and Transparent Quality Mark’ will take place at a forthcoming Police Governance Summit in the Autumn.