Botched creation of National Policing Improvement Agency led to staff walkouts

The number of staff leaving the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) since its creation is proof the merger of policing bodies was “botched”, according to the organisation’s main union. exclusively revealed last week that an average of more than three permanent employees a week have walked out of the new body, which was formed with the merger of the Police IT Organisation and training body Centrex in April.

Figures released after a Freedom of Information request showed that 80 permanent staff quit the 2,000-strong agency in the 22-week period between 1 April and 31 August.

Ian Lawrence, national officer at the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) at the NPIA, told Personnel Today: “[The number of employees leaving] shows how botched the whole merger has been. It’s not one of the best examples of creating a new public body that I’ve seen.”

Lawrence stressed that the PCS agreed with the agency’s intention to support and improve policing, but said its creation was “hastily contrived” and should have been better thought through.

However, Stephen Moir, vice-president of the Public Sector People Managers’ Association, and director of people and policy at Cambridgeshire County Council, was more upbeat.

“While the number of people leaving may sound bad, this is a brand new organisation going through major change. You’ve got to look at numbers leaving in context,” he said.

The NPIA denied staff turnover was high.

A spokeswoman said: “Resignations are at reasonable, acceptable levels. During a period of large-scale organisational change, it is not out of the ordinary for some people to reassess their personal and professional futures.”

But Rebecca George, partner in the public sector practice at consultancy Deloitte, said that, in general, when senior management did not properly plan during mergers, morale and confidence among the workforce dropped.

“[Workers need] answers they believe, trust and feel comfortable with. If they don’t, they tend to leave,” George added.

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