Business Focus is a weekly column providing at-a-glance statistics and commentary on spending priorities and trends in particular sectors. This week we look at the police and fire services.
Spending on IT by police and fire services is well below the UK average. Smaller police and fire services organisations spend just £137 a year on IT staff per desktop, while the industry average for organisations of a similar size is £728.
Larger police and fire service bodies spend an average of £1,176 on IT hardware compared to the industry average of £1,611.
However, in the context of other public sector organisations, the spending gap is not so marked. The NHS, for example, spends £981 on IT per desktop in a year, and in education the figure is £434.
Data sharing is becoming the heart of police IT strategy and is driving spending. Earlier this year the Home Office announced a national nominal index, which allows all forces in England and Wales to access other police forces' systems to gain information on particular suspects.
Although this functionality falls short of a national police intelligence system, the deployment of which has been put back to 2010, the Home Office is determined to make better use of information in investigations.
Meanwhile, the fire service is attempting to improve its processes using IT investment. The government is pushing through a major overhaul of fire service control centres.
At the same time, local brigades are rolling out new systems, such as West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, which recently introduced a £500,000 HR system.
The analysis is based on Computer Weekly's database of more than 60,000 IT budget holders, twice yearly user IT expenditure surveys, CBI/Kew senior executive surveys, government surveys, government demographic data, HM Treasury economic forecasts and Cambridge Econometrics industry sector forecasts.
Further details: www.kewassociates.co.uk
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