Suffolk’s Contact and Control Room to stay in county

The uncertainty about the future of Suffolk’s Contact and Control Room is over.

Speaking after the meeting Tim Passmore said: “We will not be going ahead with the combined service with Norfolk. 

“It was without doubt the most significant decision that I have ever had to make, but I am absolutely sure that it is the right decision for Suffolk.

“Policing is not just about finance; I am responsible for the totality of policing in Suffolk. I was presented with business cases to support the recommendation that we combine the two control rooms and to create a shared service partnership. Whilst I appreciate the financial case may add up, I felt the risk was too great. We work very closely with Norfolk and I applaud the successful collaboration that already exists between our two counties. Significant savings have already been achieved. I remain committed to collaboration, existing and new, with Norfolk, other PCCs and partners. The outcomes of the debate about the control room and the shared service partnership should not undermine this valuable work.

“One of my key roles is to ensure an efficient and effective police force for Suffolk and a huge part of this is public confidence. If the public do not feel confident in the service they receive, no matter how efficient the Constabulary, our police force is not effective.

“Over the past few months I have thought long and hard about the future of the Contact and Control Room and the development of a Shared Service Partnership – it has rarely been out of my thoughts. I have met with many partners, staff, officers and members of the public to gauge opinion.

“In making my decision to keep the control room in Suffolk one of my main concerns related to the level of risk and the timing. My Chief Finance Officer (CFO) spoke for the CFOs for both Constabularies and the Norfolk PCC and he presented a compelling case against proceeding with the shared service partnership at this current time and their recommendation was to concentrate on delivering the benefits of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) over the next 18 months. The advice was that the risk was too great; it would be foolhardy for me to ignore such advice.

“Various major transformational ICT based projects are current being implemented, including ERP and STORM. ERP in particular will impact across human resources, payroll and financial services. It will present considerable opportunities to transform our business and is expected to make significant savings. We must ensure that we focus all efforts and resources into ensuring successful implementation and that we fully embed it. I am simply not convinced that the ICT capacity and capability would be able to deliver the magnitude of change that would be necessary for CCR and SSP on top of ERP and our other projects, and that has helped my decision making.

“I firmly and truly believe that we need to take stock and put all our energies into making our current transformation projects work. We need to ensure that ERP is bedded in and see exactly what savings can be delivered first. To be honest ERP is as high a risk that I am prepared to take at this point. I believe that we simply cannot dilute our capacity to deliver change programmes of such significant scale. And we still need to embed STORM which was implemented in the Suffolk Control Room in November 2013. The roll-out of Athena is also expected; it is vital that these are working effectively before we contemplate anything else.

“We obviously need to look at ways to help bridge the funding gap. I asked to see all the options and I want to be absolutely sure that no stone is left unturned. For me moving the CCR has got to be the last resort. Having reflected at length, I am not convinced that we are yet at that point. If we move the Control Room once it’s gone it’s gone.

“Going forward, I want a cast iron assurance that every penny we can save within our own Constabulary has been saved. We need to exhaust all possibilitiess before I consider the control room again.
Given that the introduction of ERP will impact across most of the Constabulary’s back office functions the same reservations extend to the shared service partnership. I need to see ERP fully embedded.

“Public confidence is paramount and I am not prepared to undermine this.”

I am under no illusion. There will be difficult decisions ahead and if we are to achieve the savings things will have to change. We have no choice – all areas of the police service in Suffolk will be affected but this is the price we will have to pay to retain the CCR.”

I am confident that Douglas and I can now work together to identify every possible saving and to continue to deliver the best levels of services for the people of Suffolk.”