Could outsourcing damage the Police's ability to police?

Back office outsourcing removes important link between frontline police  services and back office, says union.

Yet more controversy in public sector when it comes to outsourcing. This time it’s the police and union Unison that is criticising police authority plans to outsource back office jobs, including IT, in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to G4S.

See the BBC’s coverage of the story.

It is an interesting one because the union is highlighting the important link between frontline police and the people in the back-office.

The BBC reports that Unison’s regional representative, Lorraine Kalaher, said back office staff supported frontline officers with a “team ethos” and without either party the work “could not be undertaken as successfully as it is.”

Does she make a good point?

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This is a valid concern. In part the problem stems from the notion of the 'front and back office'. Implied within this is a separation, but in fact no separation exists.

Michael Porter had it right. 'Support' services, or processes, support the 'core' services, or processes. They need to be viewed and treated as an overall system, not as loosely connected parts.

This does not mean that some services/processes might not be better performed by an external supplier, but the basis of such decisions would be considerably sounder.

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