London Assembly tells Met Police to “improve commercial expertise” before outsourcing
Thursday, October 01, 2015
The London Assembly has warned the Metropolitan Police that it faces huge risks if it continues down its current path of planned outsourcing, and that the force must better its “business nous” in order to find the right commercial partners and manage contracts effectively.
The recommendations were given off the back of the Budget & Performance Committee’s “To Protect and Save” report, which aims to identify some key lessons for the Met to consider at each stage of every contracting process. With the Met likely to pursue further deals with the private sector following its £216 million contract with SSCL – majority-owned by Sopra Steria – the Assembly is concerned that the public sector will become embroiled in another high profile outsourcing scandal.
The report cites Sopra Steria’s long term outsourcing relationship with Cleveland Police, criticising the firm’s use of zero-hour contracts and asking the Met to clarify whether it intends to use similar contracts. The report does, however, neglect to mention the overwhelming number of positives that have arisen from that particular public-private partnership: massively improved technological capabilities, 25+ per cent reduction in costs and far more officer on the front line. Cleveland Police has become one of the most technologically advanced police forces in the country and the Met will be hoping to emulate its success.
That said, commercial skills are of key importance during contract negotiations and are often found to be lacking in the public sector, which adds some weight to the Assembly’s advice.
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