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Treasury gives thumbs up to Southwest One police support project

Southwest One (SW1), the police administration...

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Southwest One (SW1), the police administration joint venture 75% owned by IBM, has received a qualified thumbs-up from the Treasury and the National Audit Office.

SW1 is a public-private joint venture between the constabulary, Somerset County Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council and IBM. It aims to provide better support services for front-line policing, better staff management, and cheaper procurement.

Over the next 10 years the partners expect SW1 to cut running costs by about £1.7m a year by year 10, and save at least £15m on procurement.

The report said early risks associated with setting up SW1 have been largely overcome. The Treasury named it as a good practice example of increased collaboration in local government, and the National Audit Office described as "robust" its procurement and governance arrangements

Despite this, the report said it was too early to say whether the project would deliver the promised savings.

"The targets for savings... are ambitious but critical to the authority's future financial viability," it said.

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