Damian Green, policing minister, has claimed that the emergency services should commit to more shared contracts in a bid to improve efficiency and reduce costs. To support this, Green has announced a GBP 20 million collaboration fund for this year as a precursor to the GBP 50 million-a-year Police Innovation Fund which is due for 2014.
Speaking at the Blue Light Innovation conference this week, Green said: “It doesn’t make sense for all the emergency services to have different premises, different back offices, different IT policies and different procurement policies, when their work is so closely related. Like all public services, there is a need to consider how future resources can be best used and how delivery can be improved for the public. I believe […] that this improvement is best delivered by deeper and more ambitious joint working between the blue light services.”
To support his argument Green used the example of the fire service, police force and council in Hampshire which have teamed up and are expecting to see savings of GBP 4 million annually as a result.
Green claimed that mobile communication is a significant area for collaborative working between the emergency services. The government has launched an Emergency Services Mobile Communications programme in a bid to cut costs of and improve communication services. According to Green, mobile services could also be improved if broadband is made a core service.
Green said: “I want to encourage you, as emergency services professionals, to challenge how your processes can change as a result of mobile technology, rather than to merely apply the technology to existing processes. This should be about re-engineering the whole systems that will deliver better benefits from mobile communications technology.”