July 2011 | Adam Leach
single organisation will handle the purchase of all IT for the police in
England and Wales from spring 2012.
secretary Theresa May announced the reform in a speech to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) this week.
the plans, the ‘company’, which will be funded by the Home Office,
will take over technology buying for the 43 police forces in England and Wales.
the £1.2 billion per year spent on purchasing IT by the police, she described
the current procurement processes as “confused, fragmented and expensive”. May
highlighted the case of one supplier who had more than 1,500 contracts across
individual forces - an issue that would “simply never happen in the commercial
new company must exploit the purchasing power of the service as a whole. It can
do this by aggregating the requirements of as many forces possible, preferably
all 43 forces,” May said.
the plans are still at an early stage, and the company still without a name,
May listed a number of guiding principles for the project. “Police-led,
professionally staffed, innovative and high performing, aggregating purchasing
power and driving down costs, these must be the principles of reform,” she
police will be in charge of the organisation as they are “best placed” to
identify what systems are required to fight crime. But the group will employ
“world class” procurement professionals to negotiate and manage contracts and
IT professionals to implement systems.
reference to the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), which currently handles
some procurement but is being phased out in 2012, May said she did not want the
new organisation to be an “NPIA mark two, with all the same mistakes and the same
old problems repeated”.
Wasserman, the government adviser on policing and criminal justice, will be
charged with setting up the company, chairing an interim board which will be
made up of Ailsa Beaton, CIO of the Metropolitan Police and the head of IT at ACPO, who
will be the senior representative from the IT profession.