Select Committee on Public Accounts Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Home Office


  A number of organisations have set out to define how the process of benefits management should be approached and in defining the Airwave business benefit approach, such information has been taken into account.

  References include the Cabinet Office publication, "Successful IT: Modernising Government in Action", the IBIS "Benefits Management Policy", the IBIS operational guide, "Framework for the Realisation of Whole System Benefits" and the Programme Management publication, "Managing Successful Programmes".

  Work on benefits realisation completed by certain forces in addition to the preliminary work carried out by the earlier PSRCP Business Benefits Sub-group has also informed the Airwave business benefit approach. Potential benefits have been identified from:

    —  PSRCP Business Benefits Analysis.

  A Working Group was established in August 1997 to investigate and report on the potential benefits of the PSRC Service identified in the original Strategy and Business Case. The Group was asked to identify real and potential benefits and risks arising from the functionality on offer. The following benefits were included in the report:

    —  Multimedia communications device (telephony);

    —  Point to point radio contact;

    —  Mobile data (PNC access);

    —  Mobile data (other database access);

    —  Activity based costings (AVLS, MDT);

    —  Remote briefing;

    —  Officer safety;

    —  Encryption;

    —  Status update;

    —  Flexibility;

    —  Future technology;

    —  Information availability;

    —  Interoperability;

    —  Short text messaging;

    —  PSRCP Business Benefit Analysis (2).

  Further analysis was completed in 1998. In contrast to the initial work, a phased, stepping stone approach to higher level, more strategic issues was adopted. The report made assumptions about what might be achievable in the immediate future, in the medium term, and then in the longer term. Three case studies were used as the vehicles to study and explain the issues raised.

  The first of the papers concentrated on time spent by operational officers in police stations. Data was collected in Thames Valley Police, and analysed to show what proportion of an officer's time was currently spent in police stations. The data was sub-divided to show which of the tasks undertaken in police stations would be impacted upon by PSRCP, and those tasks which would not.

  Paper two discussed the issue of joint or shared control rooms or communication centres. TETRA technology would enable sharing of control functions far more easily than the current technology. This functionality, coupled with CAD (computer aided despatch) systems, and integration of radio and telephony, means that organisations can go as far down this route as they wish, whether that be merely sharing the same accommodation, or full integration of roles. The important point is that all options will be available, and can be considered.

  Paper three discussed vehicle procedures. The report divided vehicle procedures into three areas, automatic cameras, vehicle-related criminal intelligence and the transmission of vehicle and driver details via mobile data. This paper took the most futuristic approach, and speculated on how police and other agencies' actions might be different in the future, with a national communications infrastructure, and common systems designed under the National Strategy for Police Information Systems (NSPIS). It was acknowledged in the paper that PSRCP would not necessarily bring about the changes. It would require strong management and vision to reap the full benefits that were presented.

  The paper concludes ". . . perhaps the two most important attractions of PSRCS are that it provides a level of flexibility to do things that may not otherwise be possible, and to do significantly more of the things that police forces do now, and are of proven value."

    —  Benefits documentation provided by police forces including: Cumbria, Derbyshire, Essex, Suffolk, Thames Valley, West Mercia and the Metropolitan Police.

  The Cleveland, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Constabularies have each established a project to look at the sharing of control room and despatch services with the Fire and Ambulance Services. Whilst these projects have not been brought about as a direct result of Airwave, where relevant they will be considered as part of the Airwave business benefits work programme.

  Project information is also being shared with organisations which have a common interest, such as the Home Office task force headed by Sir David O'Dowd which is examining measures that will increase the time spent on patrol by the police.

  The Steering Group overseeing PITO's benefits work represents the various national stakeholders ie the Treasury, Home Office, Association of Police Authorities (APA), Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS), Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC), the National Audit Office (NAO), the Superintendents Association, Unison and PITO. The Steering Group has responsibility for project direction and strategy and is responsible for final sign-off of project deliverables.

  There are two working groups consisting of representatives from a cross section of police forces:

    —  Business Benefits Group which has agreed a set of high level or strategic business objectives derived from Ministerial, ACPO and force objectives and has identified potential benefits from Airwave technology enablers.

    —  Operational Guidance Group which is developing interim guidance on operational procedures which will be subject to review by the Police User Group (PUG) prior to final sign-off.

  Two Business Benefit consultants, one from Cranfield University and one with experience in other government departments have confirmed that the project approach is sound and have not recommended any additional measures.

  The project has considered the whole range of benefits available to users from localised benefits achievable within a specific, dedicated area such as the force control room; through to national benefits achievable across force boundaries and through working with other emergency services.

  It has examined the technology enablers to determine what benefits are achievable from the core service and from the various Airwave applications, either individually or jointly. At the same time, the business drivers and organisational objectives have been considered in order to determine how these might best be achieved with the available technology.

  Finally, since Airwave is primarily a carrier for other systems and services and has the potential to maximise benefits through the provision of remote access to other applications, the project has considered those benefits that might be accrued through the delivery of remote access to "linked systems".

  It will not be possible to measure benefits in every force, therefore forces have been invited to participate and 11-15 will be selected as a representative sample. The Superintendents Association has offered assistance in selecting forces as they are currently engaged in work of a similar nature. Baseline values and measurement methodologies will be recorded to ensure that future measurements compare like with like. Target levels will be set and agreed with the force in order to reflect anticipated achievement. Progress made in realising benefits can then be compared to the original target as well as the baseline. Results will also be used to support forces in bringing about change by sharing information and experience and will hopefully improve the future performance of Airwave. Where possible, metrics for the measurement of benefits will be based on existing national and local Best Value, Key Performance Indicators and other force statistics including:

    —  BVPIs, as captured by HMI;

    —  Data recorded on HR system;

    —  Data recorded on force Command & Control system; and

    —  Telephone call logging systems;

    —  Project representatives will capture data from a representative cross section of users via activity analysis, user satisfaction surveys and interviews;

    —  The level of improvement of benefits in different forces will be compared to identify trends and recommend where practices could be adapted to take increased advantage of Airwave.

  The Airwave team will visit participating forces both before and after Airwave implementation to carry out a detailed assessment of their working practices and procedures. The team will examine how the recommended business changes might affect operations and performance and report conclusions, making further recommendations to maximise benefits. Once recommended changes have been successfully piloted, the Best Practice guidance will be updated and will be published.

  The Business Benefits database has been created to capture the data on benefits and to track and generate reports on measurement and achievement. A record will be maintained for every benefit identified, providing profile details such as the areas of business affected, the actions and operational changes required to achieve them, the person or organisation responsible for making the benefit happen and external factors likely to impact the achievement of benefits. Data from the representative sample of forces will be inserted. The database may be used as a tool to affect benefit realisation in the remaining forces.

  The process of Airwave Benefits Realisation project will be reviewed and evaluated. Lessons can be learned that provide useful information for the management of future projects and the integration of benefits realisation into other programme or project management processes.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 28 November 2002