Northamptonshire and Cheshire police forces are linking their back office systems, despite being miles apart, after identifying one another as being at similar points in their IT development.
The partnership, known as the Multi-Force Shared Service, has already set up finance and purchasing shared services and upgrade technology to support finance and purchasing, as well as estates and logistics transactions.
In the autumn the partnership will move to the next phase and introduce a human resources shared service and implement technology to support HR and duty management.
IT services firm Capgemini is providing the computing technology through its t-Police systems and services, which it already provides to Cheshire Police as part of a deal signed last year. This uses the Oracle e-Business Suite and Crown Duty Management.
Hosting services are provided by Capgemini through Skyscape, a supplier to HM Government's CloudStore.
Cheshire Police Authority signed a framework agreement with Capgemini for IT services to support back-office policing activities in February last year. The framework includes technology to enable shared services.
It covers payroll systems, duty management, finance, procurement, performance management, logistics, asset management and fleet management systems. The Multi-Force Shared Service will be based in Cheshire Constabulary’s headquarters in Winsford.
Despite Capgemini’s role, the forces stress it is not outsourcing, because ownership and accountability remain with Cheshire and Northamptonshire Police, with the two forces acting as equal partners.
The two police forces are jointly funding the service. They decided to partner because they are in a similar position in their change programmes and both share a vision of how to achieve the required savings and enhance service to the frontline.
Cheshire and Northamptonshire police say other forces in closer proximity to them are either not yet ready to make this change, or are doing it differently.
Cheshire Police Authority chairman Margaret Ollerenshaw said the Multi-Force Shared Service is part of the forces strategy to achieve the savings required by the government.
“Importantly we have taken this decision, as we have other decisions regarding our internal structures and regional collaboration, knowing that this is the right thing to do in running an efficient and effective Force which delivers value for money to local people,” said Ollerenshaw.
She said further opportunities will be considered in the future and other forces may join the Multi-Force Shared Service.
Deirdre Newham, chairman of Northamptonshire Police Authority, said: “This is a true partnership between two forces whose shared values have enabled us to overcome distance and to deliver against a goal of providing services to our front-line colleagues in an innovative way.
“The Multi-Force Shared Service is a huge opportunity and it will continue to grow to support both Cheshire and Northamptonshire further and hopefully other forces too.”