Covid-19 has impacted upon every UK business and industry. Policing has been no exception.
But while the spotlight this summer has been on policing the pandemic, we continue to work behind the scenes on longer-term ambitions and transformation. Efforts to attract and train more of the promised 20,000 new officers have not stopped. Neither has the drive to deliver efficiency savings.
Two years ago, policing committed to delivering £100m of procurement savings, plus a further £20m of savings through shared services and ‘back office’ transactional functions. This work was taken forward using Police Transformation Funding, under the direction of the National Commercial Board.
As chair of that Board, I recently wrote to the Policing Minister to let him know we remain way ahead of schedule to meet that commitment by spring 2021. Some £81.2m of cashable procurement savings, plus more than £15m of shared services and back office cumulative savings, were delivered by spring 2020.
Moreover, policing has delivered a total of £437m in procurement savings since 2015, greatly exceeding the original five-year target of £350m.
Going forward, we will continue to challenge ourselves to deliver savings and service improvements, through the activities of both the Police ICT Company and the new commercial organisation BlueLight Commercial, which I chair. BlueLight Commercial will focus on increasing overall commercial capability within policing, maximising benefits to the frontline and ensuring that issues of duplication across procurement departments are addressed.
It will also provide a single voice to the supplier market in order to ensure forces receive the best quality products and services; complementing the existing work of the Police ICT Company in digital and technology. The greater the market knowledge policing develops, the greater our ability to influence negotiations and drive down prices.
The focus of BlueLight Commercial in our first year is on establishing and embedding the new organisation - taking forces on a ‘Journey to Commercial Excellence’ through a cultural transformation programme and developing category strategies, starting with ‘Vehicles and Air Support’ and ‘People and Professional services’.
In accordance with the Policing Vision 2025, we remain determined to provide support services in a more consistent manner; delivering efficiencies through economies of scale, and sharing procurement and best commercial practice. Doing so means we can make best use of taxpayers’ money and direct as much of it as possible to preventing and investigating crime.