Hampshire to explore back office collaboration

Hampshire Constabulary has approved plans to draw up a business case to share back office services with Hampshire’s county council and fire and rescue service to help reduce operating costs and protect frontline services.

Oct 27, 2011
By Paul Jacques

Hampshire Constabulary has approved plans to draw up a business case to share back office services with Hampshire’s county council and fire and rescue service to help reduce operating costs and protect frontline services.

Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire’s county council and fire and rescue service have approved initial proposals to share back office services in a bid to reduce operating costs and protect and improve frontline services.

The initial strategic case has been approved by the authorities and the organisations will now put together a detailed business case for joint working, which will be considered by each organisation in March 2012.

Amid unprecedented challenges in the face of reduced levels of government funding and additional operational pressures, all three organisations have begun programmes that will transform and develop new and innovative ways of working. They believe identifying opportunities for efficiencies and service improvements through greater joint working and sharing of resources is key to this.

Chief officers and service leads at all three authorities undertook “some initial scoping work” between January and May of this year to look at potential benefits of a shared services model.

The three organisations will now explore ways to work together more closely to share support services, which will include areas such as IT, human resources, finance, procurement, legal and property management.

They are also looking at using their combined purchasing power to get better deals from suppliers.

A detailed business case for joint working will be developed which will be considered by each organisation in March 2012.

According to the organisations’ blueprint, Joint Working in Hampshire – A Strategic Case (September 2011), combining functions that each currently manages separately at a cost of around £90 million could not only present opportunities to further reduce costs, but also improve services, increase the capacity and resilience of each organisation and support the delivery of joint priorities that would benefit all Hampshire residents.

The county council, police and fire and rescue have a strong track record of successful shared services arrangements and it is expected that by revisiting this approach it will allow them to explore further opportunities associated with their shared geographical locations, close strategic relationships and a shared vision for Hampshire.

Although the current proposals focus on the county council, fire and rescue and police, it is believed there may be the potential in the future to explore further opportunities for joint working with other key public sector partners in Hampshire.

The county council, Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service are the three largest public sector organisations in the county with a combined budget of £1 billion and 36,347 full-time equivalent staff, excluding schools.

Forensic services

A joint working model has already been developed between Hampshire County Council’s Scientific Services and Hampshire Constabulary’s Forensic Services with the creation of the UK’s first joint forensic service in Hampshire – hailed as a groundbreaking move by the Forensic Regulator and The Home Office.

The combined service is housed in a joint location in Portsmouth that will enable scientists to share and develop their combined knowledge and expertise, improve the quality of service provided to the public and reduce duplication on investigations. Running costs and administrative support will also be reduced.

Hampshire Constabulary Chief Constable Alex Marshall explained: “This is one of those rare opportunities where you spend less and raise your standards. Working with Hampshire County Council, using its laboratory and providing our scientific expertise, we’ve achieved an improved service at a lower cost to the public. We will solve more crime through the applied use o

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