Demonstrating Promotion Competence: The Competency Matrix - bselectedpolice

Demonstrating Promotion Competence: The Competency Matrix

Many police officers across the UK have experienced a notable change in the format of their Force promotion processes over recent years. This follows introduction of the College of Policing National Police Promotion Framework (NPPF), which has replaced the Policing Professional Framework (PPF) Personal Qualities, and new Competency and Values Framework (CVF).

Despite this move towards national consistency, many promotion candidates remain confused with how to demonstrate relevant competence and implement their new Force framework.

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)

Many Forces, now including the MPS, use the College of Policing CVF for their internal promotion processes, with others following the essence of this framework but developing a local variation.

Any police officer preparing for promotion should understand how to demonstrate relevant competence combined with relevant values (that is, assessment relevant).

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, competency terminology is not how most officers speak or articulate themselves on a daily basis, creating misinterpretation and a disconnect with reality. The well-intentioned but often conflicting and uninformed advice on how to pass the process from colleagues adds to the confusion.

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.

The College of Policing 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)

To help illustrate this and enable promotion candidates to better understand the concept of demonstrating leadership behaviour, bselectedpolice has created the Police Promotion Competency Matrix.

Figure 1

We will demonstrate the Police Promotion Competency Matrix through the example of a Constable preparing for promotion to the rank of Sergeant using the College of Policing CVF, but the concept is relevant to promotion at all ranks using any competency framework.

At the assessment centre or board a Constable is expected (or assumed) to be already operationally competent in their current rank and role – 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 (and invariably where most focus their preparation).

A promotion candidate should be thinking about how they can demonstrate their competence to the next rank with appropriate behaviour, demonstrated in Figure 1 above by filling the grey box marked c to the green line marked d, in that they are ready for immediate promotion.

The y-axis on the Police Promotion 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 meeting point g passes the process just the same as a candidate reaching point f. This tends to lead to much to frustration and is a common theme in feedback – “although a good example, the candidate didn’t meet the required standard”.

So, what evidence and behaviour does a Constable need in order to show that the are promotion ready? What is it that differentiates the ranks? The focus here of course must be on leadership and interaction with people, defined by the competency framework you are being assessed on. These leadership competencies define certain behaviours that individuals must have to perform effectively at work and need be demonstrated in the various assessment exercises of the promotion process.

This is illustrated in Figure 2, by focusing on the central part of the Police Promotion Competency Matrix – the leadership responsibilities of the next rank: supporting and inspiring individuals and teams, taking ownership, demonstrating high levels of emotional awareness and a collaborative approach to problem solving etc.

Figure 2

Experience is merely a platform to demonstrate leadership competence, no matter what your job or role.

“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)

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 (for example NHS).

The College of Policing CVF defines values as a distinct range of measurable behaviours, which can be measured stand-alone (for example a values-based interview question) or more commonly cut across and underpin the assessment exercises.

Our values (what motivates us to do what we do) can be hard to understand and even harder to articulate, but are an important part of current promotion processes and candidates need to factor this into their preparation and delivery. You may be required to provide specific evidence of these behaviours.

Understanding how to incorporate this evidence to demonstrate relevant competence (Figure 2, box c) will help you achieve success (Figure 2, line d).

In summary, if your evidence concentrates on demonstrating role specific skill and knowledge you’ll likely struggle to demonstrate more than mere competence in your current rank – the danger zone! Demonstrate preparation for the rank and not just the promotion process by thinking about how you display or can develop these leadership behaviours at work.

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 assessment day. The theory is simple, but often 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!

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