Suffolk: Police paid £350,000 for advice on merging control room

Chief Constable Douglas Paxton Chief Constable Douglas Paxton

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
4:20 PM

Suffolk and Norfolk police paid a consultancy nearly £350,000 for advice on merging its control rooms and other administrative posts.

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David Ellesmere at police control room protest meetingDavid Ellesmere at police control room protest meeting

Details of the cost can be revealed as Suffolk’s police chiefs prepare for tonight’s first public meeting over the controversial proposal to relocate the county’s control room to Norfolk.

Residents who have taken part in various polls including in the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star have been overwhelmingly against such a relocation.

This evening Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore and Chief Constable Douglas Paxton will be at East Bergholt High School.

People will be able to give their views at the meeting which is due to start at 6.30pm.

Mr Paxton put forward the business case with Norfolk’s Chief Constable, Simon Bailey. A merger would save an estimated £1.84m a year.

However, Mr Passmore said he had yet to be convinced such a move would be in the interests of Suffolk and was seeking public opinion.

The constabularies recruited consultancy firm Capita to help compile a report for the proposed administrative changes at a cost of £348,884.90.

A total of £123,569 was spent on the control room work.

In addition to the merger proposal, the work also included looking at relocating other civilian staff posts from Norfolk into combined departments based in Suffolk.

Suffolk’s share of the whole bill was £151,764.93 with Norfolk’s portion coming to just over £197,000.

Simon Stevens, a spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “Since 2010, Norfolk and Suffolk have been working closely together to cut costs whilst transforming services.

“The Contact and Control Room (CCR) and the Shared Service Partnership (SSP) are just two work streams from a plan that has stretched right across both constabularies.

“Whilst our own staff have helped co-design the SSP and CCR business cases it was felt appropriate to engage professional advice to provide independent scrutiny.

“Following a procurement exercise an initial amount of £64.5k was spent on the first stage of the SSP.

“Following the conclusion of the first stage two further stages totalling £160.8k were procured to deliver a final business case.

“Capita developed the justification report for a single CCR concept. This was also presented to the Collaboration Panel and following feedback an in-house team was tasked with developing the final business case.

“The Collaboration Panel has been updated on the progress of both work areas regularly.”

Earlier this week it emerged Suffolk Constabulary was to demand a better deal after being charged nearly double the amount that Norfolk paid for use of the police helicopter.

The National Police Air Service allocated 600 hours of air support to Suffolk last year at a cost of £600,000. Despite Norfolk being the larger county it was only allocated 220 hours at a cost of £360,000. However, Suffolk did subsequently transfer a portion of its hours, valued at £39,000, to Norfolk.

The allocations were based on historic usage of air support rather than what the constabularies may have actually wanted.

The figures were revealed in replies to a Freedom of Information request.

Suffolk and Norfolk police need to find combined savings of £36.7m by March 2018, with Suffolk’s shortfall being £16.4m.

• For more on the proposed merger, click here
Have your say here

7 comments

  • To spend that sort of money is a crime call the police ,opps it was the police who spent it , call an MP they know how to cover up how money is spent,

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    pandy

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • The original Victor Meldrew..well said.

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    waspie

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • All because Norfolk bought a nice new HQ in Wyndham and can not afford it. I have no problem with a merged Police Service but as Suffolk has lost its fire Service, Ambulance Service and most important Hospital Services this new Police force must be completely based in Suffolk at Martlesham. No question, no doubt because we are always told shared services is the way to go, funny how it is always shared away from Ipswich.

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    The Ginge

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • If I didn't know anything different, I would say this was instigated by Tom Winsor who was appointed as Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. A solicitor and business man with no Police experience at all. Treat the Policing of the UK strictly as a business -slash running costs even if it means a less efficient service. I would have thought the top ranks of the Suffolk police would have remembered what it was like out on the streets when it goes pear shaped and an officer gets just one chance to call for help. Will someone sitting in Wymondham in Norfolk be able to hear- understand a Suffolk accent under stress? I just hope enough people attend these meetings and ask some very pointed questions. How much did our PCC know about this massive bill for consultations. Did the top ranks in Norfolk and Suffolk think it was never going to come out? Of course it was, when the chips are down, the whistle blowers will come out. Let's face it, they can only get sacked. They are facing redundancy anyhow.

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • Well say no more. Consultancy firms are nothing more than parasites. Any large organisation (mainly public sector it has to be said) can undertake most changes themselves, either by talking to their own staff, which is exactly what these consultants do) or by talking to other (public Sector) organisations who have undertaken similar changes. Getting rid of paying for external consultants is one of the biggest ways to save public money, in the Police, The NHS, Local Government etc. In almost every case, external consultants equals a total waste of money. I have yet to meet an external consultant that has ever provided value for money, or savings that could not easily have been identified in house by an organisation, simply talking to it's own staff or other organisations.

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    england1770

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • Absolutely agree with england1770, consultancy firms are a disgusting waste of taxpayers money. All this work could have been done inhouse as they basically come in and question existing staff then charge the organisation a fortune, they very rarely come up with any sound solutions themselves. These figures are mindblowing and should be questioned as this is taxpayers money that is being casually thrown around. Capita do not have a good track record its not called Crapita for nothing and they have managed to make a hash of most of the goverment contracts they have won. Whoever decided on Capita did not do their homework so basically they have employed an underperforming company and paid them a fortune who is accountable for this I wonder?.

    Report this comment

    royg

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • Incredible - the Chief Constables didn't have enough information about their own forces to make a decision? They're not fit to man school crossings.

    Report this comment

    Father Brian

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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