Spending review announces 'statutory duty' on emergency services to collaborate on procurement

26 November 2015

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Police forces with “strong proposals to support efficiency and reform” will be eligible for additional funding from the government, according to the spending review and autumn statement.

But the review also included the announcement that legislation will be brought to introduce a “statutory requirement” on forces to collaborate on procurement.

The chancellor announced yesterday that overall police spending in real terms will be protected over five years, an increase of £900 million in cash terms by 2019-2020.

A Home Office (HO) spokesman told SM that details of funding amounts and what kind of proposals would make forces eligible for extra money would come “further down the line”, but he confirmed that the funding would come from the HO’s settlement from the spending review.

This settlement includes £500 million increased funding for the counter-terrorism budget, more than £1.3 billion of capital investment to 2019-2020 and £1 billion towards the overall emergency services network.

In addition, the department’s administration budget will be cut by 30 per cent compared to last year, as part of the settlement. These savings are expected to come from procurement, among other functions.

“The government will support police forces to adopt a more collaborative approach to purchasing common items on a regional or national level, such as police uniforms and vehicles, to secure a better deal through economies of scale forecast to save £350 million over the Parliament,” the spending review report said.

The report, in connection with an announcement by prime minister David Cameron in September, also said the government would “introduce a new statutory duty for the emergency services to collaborate by early 2017, subject to parliamentary approval, on areas such as procurement, new stations and vehicle maintenance”.

HO figures released in September showed that police in England and Wales spend around £1.6 billion each year on goods and services, and since 2010-2011 £200 million has been saved through better procurement.

At the time Lee Tribe, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on procurement, said the data highlighted areas of procurement where price differences were being addressed, adding that a new approach to the procurement of vehicles had been adopted following a review by police forces in 2012.

“Contracts for a new national uniform service will be available to forces in 2016, ensuring forces pay the same price for the same item,” he added. “These changes will deliver millions of pounds of savings.”

Regarding education procurement, the spending review said: “In 2016 the government will publish a set of specific actions to support school leaders target over £1 billion a year in procurement savings by the end of the Parliament through benchmarking, guidance and improved framework contracts.”

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