Without doubt ‘Promotion’ is the single biggest issue of concern for our members and as a consequence we believe that wherever possible and appropriate we should seek to be as involved in formulating future MPS promotion processes.

We achieve this primarily through our participation with the other Federated rank representatives on the Police Promotion Systems Steering Group but also by raising them directly with HR and the Promotions & Selection Team, and indeed the Director of HR himself, any abusive trends or practices that we believe are detrimental to a fair and open process.

In 2007 as a result of a number of discredited promotion processes we called upon the MPS to formulate a stakeholder group which could make suggestions for improving the methods employed by the organisation. We readily took part in that review and some significant improvements were forthcoming as a result of it.

Our aim is to help the MPS to achieve a promotion system that is fully compatible with the Equality and Diversity policies, in which all candidates can be confident that they are going to be afforded a fair and equal opportunity to demonstrate their competence for promotion.

To help develop this confidence the Met IBB have undertaken to provide Inspectors Fed reps to act as independent observers on each and every decision making panel in the promotion processes that take place that effect our members. This is a huge logistical undertaking of us and our reps, but we believe it is time well spent to assuage any suspicions or perceptions of bias that might exist amongst prospective candidates.

Since 2008, Inspectors Fed reps have been present at 99% of the panels that have been held and indeed several challenges to practices and processes of these panels have needed to be made. For each promotion process that involves officers from the Inspecting ranks.

After our experiences in 2008 we produced a report entitled ‘Better but not perfect’ which made several suggestions as to how, in our opinion the processes could be improved. This was submitted to both the MPS and the MPA. Pleasingly many of the suggestions made in that document have been incorporated in subsequent processes and it is our intention to continue to work with the MPS on this issue. We continue to feedback our observations and suggestions after each process as we understand the mutual benefits that accrue from the relationship.

However we do not intend to lose sight of the fact that our role is to challenge any example of unequal practice, nepotism or bias. Each and every candidate within the process must be confident that an objective and reasoned judgement has been made in their case.

Achieving promotion to Inspector and particularly Chief Inspector rank within the MPS has become a highly competitive process. Candidates are expected to invest a great deal of personal time and effort into proving their worth without any guarantee of success. It is, we accept, only natural that unsuccessful candidates should feel disgruntled and disenchanted through their experiences. However our plea to all those beginning the promotion journey is to be realistic and as good as you and perhaps your line managers think you are, most other candidates in the process have been given a similar endorsement. The task of the respective promotion selection panels is to decipher your evidence and those recommendations in an attempt to identify those who best meet the published criteria. It is not an exact science. Various checks and balances including the presence of an Occupational Psychologist at every stage are built in to add objectivity but it remains a predominantly subjective assessment.

We do not expect unsuccessful candidates to agree with the assessment made of them and where practical and appropriate we will support those officers in an attempt to obtain for them a meaningful explanation of where they are considered to have failed to meet the required standard. This we believe is fundamental if candidates are to be able to develop as individuals and perhaps achieve success in the future.

What we cannot and will not do is support frivolous discrimination or abuse of process claims. Unless there is clear evidence that a candidate has been unsuccessful and hence disadvantaged because of their gender, race, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation then authority will not be given for Federation funds to be used in pursuing such a case.

Similarly we do not support appeals that lack substance and appear to be predicated on an ‘I’ve got nothing to lose’ approach. This increasingly common practice does little to enhance the credibility of an admittedly less than perfect system and perhaps more importantly results in many hours of wasted time and effort.