The role of an Independent Advisory Group (IAG) is to help the police to build insight into the needs, wants and concerns of the groups who are under-represented in normal decision making processes. This insight is used to shape service delivery for the benefit of all our communities and engender trust and confidence. In performing this function the IAG acts as a ‘critical friend’ to the Police, challenging conventional thinking and providing an independent perspective on issues, working as a genuine partner with the Police to inform and promote improvements.
The role of IAG members is not to provide ‘specialist advice’ on policing issues. Rather, their function is to provide advice on how policing activities may be, or are perceived by communities and to contribute to thinking around the development of policies and practices, thereby assisting the Force in its process of continuous improvement and development as an effective and efficient organisation working on behalf of the community it serves.
Community input into the activities of the Police enables policing at both a strategic and tactical level to be more effective, focusing on community engagement and therefore responding to community needs. However, it is important to note that the IAG is not the voice of the community. It is a network of individuals independent of the Police drawn from across the county who offer a diversity of background, perceptions, ideas, knowledge and skills which form one part of the jigsaw of wider community consultation and engagement.
What is meant by independent?
Underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding which can be viewed on the IAG website, the IAG is convened by Lincolnshire Police in partnership with communities and is supported and funded by the Force rather than existing as an external, self-sustaining entity. The term “independent” refers to the nature of the advisors and the advice provided, rather than the relationship with the Police. As such, it cannot be seen as being wholly independent from the police since it is sponsored, co-sustained and coorganised by both the police and IAG members.
However, members of the IAG network do offer independence of thought to their contribution to policing across the county. Moreover, they are not there simply to agree with the Police but are encouraged to constructively challenge in the interests of benefiting service delivery from a community perspective.
What is advice?
In this context, independent advice is defined as opinion, guidance or constructive feedback given by someone who is not part of the Force, reflecting a perspective from the point of view of a member of a community in its widest sense. Such a perspective may have its origin in a residential, business, or service provider context.
Advisors, although partners in a beneficial and positive relationship with the police service, are not answerable to the police and neither are the police responsible for IAG members’ actions. IAG members represent themselves and not necessarily the view of any particular group within the community, although this may be the case on occasions. They do not bear responsibility for the consequences of decisions based upon their advice. The autonomy of police decision-making is not affected and the Force may or may not choose to follow advice that is offered as a result of consultation with any member or group within the IAG.
The Lincolnshire Police IAG’s mission is to be a positive influence in promoting the effectiveness of Lincolnshire Police by contributing insight and challenge through an enduring partnership between the Force and the community it serves.
How to join
For the IAG to be effective it is important that it includes a diverse membership which is both broadly representative of the population of Lincolnshire and which is capable of fulfilling the full range of activities it is established to undertake.
To achieve this we will periodically run specific recruitment campaigns. However, expressions of interest are welcome at any time from people who believe they can contribute effectively to the work of the IAG. We are especially interested in receiving applications from individuals who are able to represent the views of minority and underrepresented groups.