Taking a further look at outsourcing

Cambridgeshire Police Authority on Thursday (June 28) agreed to commission further work to examine the option of outsourcing the delivery of support services across Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

Outsourcing of support services such as Human Resources, Finance and ICT is being considered as part of continuing efforts to tackle the £73 million shortfall in police funding for the three counties.

Cambridgeshire Authority members also asked Chief Constable Simon Parr to take forward a second option, in consultation with them, in the best interests of policing in Cambridgeshire.

For the proposal to move forward as recommended by the three Chief Constables, it needed the agreement of each police authority. Hertfordshire Police Authority agreed to commission the work at their meeting earlier this week (Monday, June 25).

Bedfordshire Police Authority met earlier on Thursday and also agreed the recommendation.

In addition, members asked Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock to take forward a second option, in consultation with them, in the best interests of Bedfordshire.

The move comes as part of the on-going collaboration between Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary which have, along with the three police authorities, established a Strategic Policing Alliance designed to improve resilience, make the best use of the finances available to us and maintain frontline policing resources.

The business case will examine in detail the outsourcing of these services through the existing Lincolnshire Police contract, which has G4S as the supplier. Based on the analysis undertaken to date, it has been considered that this model delivers the highest level of efficiencies. Should that full business case be approved in due course by all three police authorities or the Police and Crime Commissioners (who are due to be elected in November), the earliest that outsourced services could be in place would be April 2013.

Ruth Rogers, Chair of Cambridgeshire Police Authority, commented: “There is still a lot of work to be undertaken but I am confident the recommendation the Police Authority approved today will enable a full assessment of this potential outsourcing approach and an alternative option to be conducted. It is our duty to ensure that neighbourhood policing is maintained and that when the public need the police in an emergency they are available.” Chief Constable Simon Parr said: “Organisational Support services currently employ more than 1,100 people across the three forces and cost a total of £77m per year. We consider that significant efficiencies could be made through this outsourcing model and have therefore agreed to commission a full business case to examine this framework in greater detail.

“It was always the case that even when the full business case was completed it may not be accepted or offer the savings and service necessary to maintain frontline policing in Cambridgeshire. In asking me to offer an alternative proposal, the Police Authority is simply recognising that if outsourcing is not the best solution there will still need to be a plan to balance the budget in 2013/14 and beyond.”