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.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
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.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.