Many police officers across the UK have experienced a notable change in the format of their Force promotion processes over the last few years. This follows introduction of the College of Policing National Police Promotion Framework (NPPF), which replaced the Policing Professional Framework (PPF) Personal Qualities, and the new Competency and Values Framework (CVF) or local equivalents.
Despite this desire for national consistency, many promotion candidates remain confused with how to demonstrate relevant competence and implement their new Force framework. They are, in a sense, not promotion fit.
The CVF was introduced following the College of Policing’s 2015 Leadership Review, which concluded that “values… should be embedded at all levels in all local and national selection processes, such as assessment centres and interviews.” Read more here
All Forces now use the College of Policing CVF for their internal promotion processes, with some developing a local variation (just to confuse everyone).
Any police officer preparing for promotion should understand how to demonstrate relevant competence combined with relevant values if they are to be successful at their board (note the word relevant is very important here – assessment relevant). You need to get promotion fit!
Like any sort of training programme, this understanding is required long before the assessment day itself, ideally at the point you decide to put yourself forward for the next process, to help focus your preparation. And let’s be honest, whatever competency framework you are assessed against, the terminology in the framework is not how most officers speak or articulate themselves on a daily basis, creating a disconnect with reality and misinterpretation. The well-intentioned, but often confusing and unqualified, advice on how to pass the process from colleagues also doesn’t help.
This is where the term “demonstrating more than mere competence in your current rank” can help, as this is exactly what you need to do to help you get promotion fit.
The CVF competencies demonstrate leadership behaviours… “divided into… three levels to reflect different levels of responsibility… [and] they are applicable across all jobs, unlike specialist or technical skills which may be job specific.” Read more here.
To help illustrate this and enable promotion candidates to better understand the concept of demonstrating leadership behaviour, bselectedpolice has created our Competency Matrix, which is relevant to any competency framework.
We will explain the bselectedpolice Competency Matrix through the example of a Constable preparing for promotion to the rank of Sergeant, but the concept is relevant to promotion at all ranks.
At the assessment centre or board, a Constable is expected (or assumed) to be already operationally competent in their current rank and role (i.e. they should meet the red line marked a in Figure 1 above). How this is measured in reality differs between assessment processes and Forces.
There are many different roles an individual Constable may be in and have experience of over the course of their career, demonstrated by the orange columns marked b.
The promotion process is not concerned with technical knowledge or skill a candidate has acquired relating to specific roles, but this is of course what most officers are more comfortable talking about (invariably and incorrectly where most focus their preparation). This is where many officers fall into Big Job Alert! territory and fail their board.
A promotion candidate should be thinking about how they can demonstrate their competence to the next rank, above by filling the grey box marked c (see above in Figure 1) with examples of appropriate behaviour to reach the green line marked d, in that they are ready for immediate promotion.
The y-axis on the Competency Matrix represents ‘competence’ (in assessment and selection terms), whilst the x-axis represents ‘experience’ – specific roles and functions each individual will be in, and may have past experience of, across the organisation.
Whilst a candidate with a broader breadth of experience may have better evidence, or at least be able to draw on evidence from a larger source of experience, this ‘experience’ is not enough on its own to meet the required standard.
As illustrated in Figure 1, a candidate following a path to point g passes the process just the same as a candidate following a path to reach point f. This tends to lead too much to frustration and is a common theme in feedback (if candidates are lucky enough to receive any) – “the candidate didn’t meet the required standard in their examples”.
So, what evidence and behaviour does a Constable fill in box c to show they meet the green line marked d – i.e., they are promotion ready? What is it that differentiates the ranks? The focus here of course must be on leadership and interaction with people – preparation for the rank, not just the process!
You must focus on demonstrating the CVF competencies relevant to each assessment exercise. This is illustrated below in Figure 2.
In summary, if you concentrate on your current or past roles to demonstrate skill and knowledge (Figure 1, columns b), you’ll likely struggle to demonstrate more than mere competence in your current rank (Figure 1, line a) – the red zone!
“The CVF differs from… other existing frameworks… [by defining] four measurable core values. Values are beliefs which are important to the individual and which guide and motivate particular behaviour and action.” Read More here
Measuring a candidate’s values has existed for some time in certain Forces and is likely to feature far more prominently in upcoming years considering the development of values-based assessment tools in other public sectors (such as the NHS).
The CVF defines values as a distinct range of measurable behaviours, which can be measured stand-alone (for example a values-based interview questions) or more commonly by cutting across the six main behavioural competencies.
Our values (what motivates us to do what we do) can be hard to understand and even harder to articulate, but this features as an important part of current promotion processes and candidates need to factor this into their preparation and delivery.
Understanding how to use this evidence to demonstrate relevant competence (Figure 2) will help you achieve success (Figure 2, line d).
This may seem obvious, but we know candidates like to make things complicated and this is certainly not how the majority focus their preparation or demonstrate themselves on the day. The theory is simple, but sometimes the implementation is not
Know what to expect, how to prepare and how to deliver – when it counts – and ‘b’ the best you can be!