Feeds

Scottish police IT sorely lacking, audit finds

Heads shaken over shonky SPSA support

High performance access to file storage

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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.