NIAO says 2013/14 police plan targets weren’t reasonable


The Auditor General has qualified his opinion of the Policing Board’s (NIPB) performance plan for the PSNI for 2013-14 saying its targets aren’t clear enough and are therefore unreasonable.

The Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) on Tuesday (May 6) published his report on the ‘Continuous Improvement arrangements in policing,’ which focuses on requirements arising from the Police Northern Ireland Act 2000, which also rebranded the RUC as the PSNI and set up the Policing Board.

The NIAO reviewed the performance of the NIPB and the PSNI in 2012/13, reviewed the 2013/14 performance plan as well as the general operation of the improvement arrangements.

The Auditor General, Mr Donnelly, outlining his main finding, states: “I have qualified my opinion on the 2013-14 Performance Plan. The performance measures (targets) included in the Plan lack sufficient clarity as to the degree of performance improvement required and the timeframe in which it is to be achieved. On that basis, they are not reasonable.”

It’s the second year running the NIAO has taken the unusual step of qualifying his audit opinion of a Northern Ireland policing plan having done the same with regard to the 2012/13 plan last September.

According to the NIAO: “This was because the performance standards included in the Plan lacked sufficient clarity as to the degree of improvement required and the timeframe within which it was to be achieved and he therefore did not consider that those standards were reasonable.

“Given that only limited progress has been made in developing meaningful performance targets he has now qualified his audit opinion on the 2013-14 Policing Plan on the same basis.

“However, the C&AG welcomes the assurances from the Policing Board and PSNI that targets will be included in the 2014-15 Policing Plan which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based.”