Merseyside aim for more cost savings with Civica

Civica has been selected to provide an upgrade to the financial management suite Authority Financials for Merseyside after the force decided to enhance its procurement operation following two years of successfully operating Civica’s financial purchasing system.

Jun 2, 2006
By David Howell

Civica has been selected to provide an upgrade to the financial management suite Authority Financials for Merseyside after the force decided to enhance its procurement operation following two years of successfully operating Civica’s financial purchasing system.

“The new system will provide a much greater degree of integration and will help to drive out additional efficiency savings,” explained Phil Riley, head of exchequer services at Merseyside. “It will speed up the process of dealing with suppliers and will provide the management team with a more accurate picture of the financial side of the force.”

In addition to the procurement modules that the force has been using, Merseyside has decided to upgrade the core functionality for general ledger, creditors and debtors plus bank reconciliation and a sophisticated scanning module for processing creditor invoices.

Mr Riley deals with police payments to a vast range of large and small suppliers: over a three year period Merseyside Police deals with around 5,000 different suppliers for an array of services and goods involved in police work, from stationery to car repairs. Three hundred of the larger suppliers are handled electronically, covering the bulk of payments – and every invoice that can be captured electronically increases efficiency. “We pay 99 per cent of our invoices by BACS, and 75 per cent of our creditors are paid in 30 days,” said Mr Riley.

Authority Financials makes it easier to move suppliers away from paper, with features like intelligent imaging: “That’s a very nice mechanism for turning a paper invoice from the supplier into an electronic file,” he said. “It can be fed directly into the financial system and is a big saving on storage if you can image the document and dispose of it.”

Another benefit of the Civica system is that Merseyside Police can make better use of the staff available – with paperwork eliminated, less time is spent manually processing the invoices and the information can be easily presented to the management team, enabling them to make the necessary decisions more quickly.

Further up the scale, the area commander, for example, can see clearly what the level of spending is, including payroll and supply costs, enabling him to gauge the force’s financial health. Tailored for the public sector, the system also produces the reports that are demanded by public bodies such as the National Audit Office and any changes that are required in the future surrounding new regulations will be incorporated into the system.

Phil Benton, managing director for Civica Financial Systems said: “The Police are under increasing pressure to identify where efficiency gains can be made and to ensure already strained resources are directed to priority areas. As the Government considers plans to merge local police forces into fewer regional bodies, a good financial management system is crucial, in order to provide an overall, accurate financial picture of where the money is being spent and what benefits are being achieved from those investments.”

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