Feeds

Scottish police IT sorely lacking, audit finds

Heads shaken over shonky SPSA support

Boost IT visibility and business value

Audit Scotland has said that the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) 'is not yet able to meet all its customers' ICT needs'.

In a report published on 28 October, the official auditor says that the SPSA, which was established in 2007 to provide a range of support services to Scotland's police forces, needs to "engage more effectively with customers", particularly in relation to IT services.

It adds that the authority also needs to speed up plans to improve its financial management systems "so that the board and staff have relevant and accurate cost information to enable them to prioritise service delivery".

"The transfer of ICT staff in April 2008 proved even more problematic. It was difficult to get agreement on which ICT services would transfer. ACPOS was involved in lengthy discussions with forces to agree which services should transfer to SPSA. Despite this, some inconsistencies remained," explains the report.

"For example, it was agreed that Grampian Police would retain responsibility for its own web development work and Strathclyde Police negotiated directly with the Scottish Executive to continue to employ staff to develop the forces' use of the Airwave radio system."

Further highlighting the disjointed delivery of technology services, the reports says that Strathclyde Policre refused to accept the seven ICT service level agreements developed by the SPSA for all Scottish forces. Instead, the force is seeking to have one agreement for all the services provided by SPSA, including ICT, training and forensics.

"The wide variability in how individual police forces managed their forensic and ICT services and the need to harmonise staff terms and conditions further complicated the transfer of staff," concludes the auditor.

"In the case of ICT, there were 350 staff with around 200 different job titles, 750 contracts and 190 suppliers, and each force had different ways of identifying and recording their assets and license agreements."

It recommends that the SPSA consolidates and rationalises these ICT contracts to make additional savings, but identifies the difference in VAT status between the authority and police forces as a "significant barrier" to achieving these IT savings.

Despite the criticisms, the auditor also acknowledges that the authority has reached its efficiency targets and made £5.3m of savings in the three years since it was set up. But it stresses that there is potential for further savings if "the SPSA and its customers work together to realise these".

Of the findings, auditor general for Scotland Robert Black, said: "SPSA had a difficult beginning, and lessons can be learned from this experience when developing shared services in the future. SPSA has made improvements in some areas, but it faces significant challenges if it is to deliver high quality services with less money. It needs to act quickly to address these challenges."

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.