3 Central procurement and the new
policing landscape |
13. The 2010 Spending Review will reduce police
forces' central funding by around £1.3 billion (£2 billion
in real terms) by 2014-15. The Agency estimates that total spending
on police Information Communication Technology (ICT) is around
£1.5 billion per year, some 10% of the total annual spending
on policing. Each of the 43 forces in England and Wales has developed
its own business processes and local IT systems. As a result,
there are nearly 2,000 different systems in use across the Police
Service. The Mobile Information Programme has added to this level
of diversity. The Department has an Information Systems Improvement
Strategy which aims to deliver police ICT in a more consistent
and affordable manner. The Strategy seeks to drive all forces
to use common systems to improve service quality and reduce costs.
14. The Agency set up central framework contracts
in order to achieve economies of scale and to achieve a convergence
of mobile devices and back office systems. However, the Agency
decided not to mandate the use of these contracts by all forces,
and only five forces chose to use them. The remaining forces
made their own decisions on which suppliers to use.
Those forces who used mobile technology to achieve business improvements
and cash savings told us that negotiating directly with suppliers
often resulted in greater flexibility and business benefits.
The Department told us that, through the Agency's current catalogue
of framework contracts, it mandates forces to procure certain
commodity items centrally, including body armour and off-the-shelf
software. The high performing forces also told us that they felt
the need for the Department to do more in defining a clear set
of business rules which enable forces to make robust value for
money procurement decisions.
15. The Department has decided to change the
way in which ICT is procured by forces. The Agency will be shut
down later in 2012 and in its place the Department intends to
create a public company currently called "NewCo". The
Department told us that this new company will provide forces and
Police and Crime Commissioners with the capacity to procure ICT
collectively based on voluntary cooperation. The Department expects
that this will maximise economies of scale while also responding
to local force requirements.
16. The Department told us that NewCo will not
be a centrally funded body but will be owned and run by those
police forces which voluntarily buy-in to the organisation. The
Department will also be an "owner" of the company (as
NewCo. will be responsible for certain national systems such as
the Police National Computer).
The Department told us that NewCo will probably start with a smaller
number of forces and build up over time. NewCo will rely on forces
and Commissioners agreeing to own and use the company in order
17. Experiences across government have shown
that there are value for money risks attached both to mandating
procurement centrally and to relying on collective voluntary procurement.
With NewCo there are particular risks arising from commercial
suppliers circumventing NewCo and dealing directly with individual
forces. The Department told us that it accepts these risks but
feels that its approach of providing a limited amount of start-up
funding aligned with the current constraints on police force budgets,
and NewCo's strong leadership and commercial capability, will
attract more and more forces and Police & Crime Commissioners
to join the organisation.
The Department told us that it intends to publish an overview
of how NewCo will work, which will include an estimate of the
value of contracts it expects to be managed and the return on
investment NewCo is expected to achieve.
33 C&AG's Report Para 1.2, 1.4, 3.15 Back
C&AG's Report Para 16, 3.2 Back
Q 12 Back
Q 3, 12 Back
Q 64 Back
Q 67, 74 Back
Q 69-74 Back
Q 127 Back
Q 66, 168 Back