In the PCC report to the Police and Crime Panel concerning the appointment of Richard Lewis as Chief Constable of Cleveland Police reference is made to the external stakeholder panel used during the recruitment process. Amongst those listed is Joanne Hodgkinson as chief executive of safe in tees valley. However, the PCC website lists an individual of the same name as the assistant chief executive within the PCC’s office.
My request via FOI is as follows.
On what date did the external panel sit regarding this recruitment process?
On this date was Joanne hodgkinson the pcc’s assistant chief executive (or hold any paid office within the PCC’s office) And, If so, was this disclosed to other panel members or the police and crime panel?
I can confirm that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland does hold this information.
The external stakeholder panel sat on Tuesday 26th March 2019 and was made up of representatives from local and regional partners and stakeholders.
This date was also the final working day of Joanne Hodgkinson, former Assistant Chief Executive of the OPCC, before she took up her new role as Chief Executive of Safe in Tees Valley.
Safe in Tees Valley are a local charitable organisation and an important stakeholder for the OPCC as the provider of a number of services in connection with community safety, citizenship and support for victims across Cleveland and also in County Durham and Darlington.
On balance it was decided that Mrs Hodgkinson would sit on the stakeholder panel and assess the candidates in her capacity as the incoming Chief Executive of Safe in Tees Valley. She introduced herself to the other members of the panel as such.
It was considered ethically more appropriate for Mrs Hodgkinson to announce herself as the Chief Executive of Safe in Tees Valley rather than her OPCC role, as she would be relinquishing her position that very day.
Should the converse judgement have been made, the presence of an OPCC officer at such a panel is not a matter of concern – the OPCC has been represented at previous Chief Constable recruitment stakeholder panels. This approach has been scrutinised and approved by the Police and Crime Panel in previous years.
The questions Mrs Hodgkinson put to the candidates asked how they planned to work with local voluntary sector organisations – a question within her remit as an incoming senior leader in this field.
At the confirmation hearing of Chief Constable Richard Lewis on Tuesday 9th April 2019, the Police and Crime Panel were presented with a report which went into significant detail about the recruitment and assessment process.
Mrs Hodgkinson was listed among those who sat on the external stakeholder panel in her role as the Chief Executive at Safe in Tees Valley, her agreed role on the day of the interviews.
You can read this report here on the Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council website.
Chief Constable recruitment is a decision for the PCC, who takes account of all advice, whether from stakeholder panels, his own statutory officers or other members of the interview panel. He puts this decision forward for scrutiny by the Police and Crime Panel (via the report at the link above) and all those involved were satisfied that Mr Lewis was the appropriate choice for appointment.
Date responded: 24 May 2019