The Policing Authority says in its seventh report that there is still no settled view on the shape of the expanded Garda Síochána, or on its recruitment, training and organisation.
Pockets of An Garda Síochána demonstrate a real appetite for change, the report says, but the absence of a strategic vision in key areas has bedevilled the implementation of reform.
Policing Authority chair Josephine Feehily wants more focus on key enablers of change — HR, ICT, accommodation, training and finance.
The report praises “significant levels of personal commitment” in some areas, and notes the establishment of a risk management office and the embedding of a risk-management process across the organisation.
The report urges that any evaluation of progress should move beyond monitoring project milestones to assessing outputs.
It notes positive change for victims in Protective Services Units and the Victims’ Services Offices.
It believes that ICT initiatives this year, such as the investigation management system, will speed change.
The report is critical of how third-party recommendations are accepted quickly by the Garda Síochána, with little assessment as to the feasibility of their achievement.
“This has led to the Garda Síochána repeatedly over-promising and under delivering,” it says.
And change efforts to date have failed to acknowledge the current state of readiness and ability of the organisation to reform.
Planning and governance have been siloed, with an inability to assess overall resource demand, identify inter-dependencies and prioritise, the report complains.
It calls for a costed annual policing plan to express organisational priorities.
Change has not ‘landed’ at the front line, the report adds, with a culture audit showing scepticism toward the reform programme.
“The frontline feels disconnected from this work and, despite efforts by the centre to communicate the work being undertaken, in the absence of tangible outcomes for Garda members, staff and the reserve, this has not been effective,” the report concludes.