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Organisational support and processes

How chief constables can help supervisors to access effective and appropriate advice and support. 

First published
Written by College of Policing
Effective supervision

Chief constables should ensure that supervisors are provided with, and are able to easily access, effective and appropriate advice and support in relation to supervising staff.

This includes:

  • the provision of policies, guidance and advice
  • access to professional internal and external support
  • access to support and advice from peers and more experienced supervisors

Evidence Summary

There is moderate research evidence on the importance of organisations supporting supervisors by developing clear policies relating to employees. Support and information on human resources processes, on using systems in a supervisory capacity and on carrying out performance development reviews was also identified as being a necessary requirement.

Practitioner evidence identified a strong perception that supervisors needed much greater and more easily accessible support and advice to carry out their day-to-day supervisory role. Practitioners considered there to be inconsistent provision of welfare, occupational and support services in forces. There were frequent requests from practitioners for access to practical tools and information.

Practitioner evidence also identified a desire for more personal support and advice from peers and previous post holders. Evidence from police research studies suggested that there may be positive links between coaching, mentoring and shadowing opportunities for current and developing supervisors, and supervisors’ subsequent behaviours and attitudes (see Capability).

Empirical evidence
Practitioner evidence

Chief constable responsibilities

Chief constables are responsible for developing processes within their force to ensure effective decision making and appropriate action at all levels of the organisation. This should include processes to provide effective support and advice to supervisors.

Chief constables should ensure that supervisors are able to easily access effective support from appropriate professional occupational health, wellbeing, human resources, and learning and development services when it is needed. This can be provided by internal staff or by external support services.

Support and advice should also be provided through a range of other readily accessible means.

The following sources of support were suggested through the practitioner evidence.

  • Detailed self-service step-by-step.
  • ‘How to’ guides.
  • Templates and checklists.
  • Online and interactive tools.
  • Mentoring, coaching and other one-to-one support.
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