Police and Fire Services Collaboration

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and Police Scotland have agreed to jointly procure buildings maintenance and repair services to achieve significant savings and provide value for money for both organisations and the public.

The hard Facilities Management (FM) agreement involves the provision of planned and unplanned maintenance services for properties, including mechanical and electrical services, maintenance, repairs and minor works.

Through collaboration discussions, SFRS and Police Scotland identified that there was clear scope for both organisations to tender for a single national provider to maximise benefits.

At present there is a complex landscape of facilities management arrangements across both services with the new joint approach, as a result of moving to single services, representing an opportunity for consolidation and streamlining. Both services are focused on achieving financial and non-financial benefits which ensures we can maximise resources to keep more police officers, staff and fire-fighters in communities.

The estimated budget savings from the new approach are expected to be significant. Police Scotland’s estates department repairs, and maintenance budget is approximately £6 million.

Sarah O’Donnell, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Director of Finance and Contractual Services, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this collaborative approach to procuring hard FM  services with Police Scotland, which enables both organisations to work together to maximise benefits.

“It will allow us to provide a high quality, consistent and responsive service in order to enhance service delivery, statutory compliance and customer feedback.

“This approach will also generate significant savings for both organisations and provide a consistent national service across both organisations.”

She added: “In terms of the strategic benefits, this partnership provides further scope to enhance our capacity for working together and sharing best practice between the organisations.”

Susan Mitchell, Police Scotland’s Director of Corporate Services, said: “Working in collaboration with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service through shared arrangements for facilities management is a positive statement of our approach to more effective and efficient ways of delivering our services.

“The reform of policing and fire services has laid the groundwork for more collaboration of this kind, with benefits for both organisations and providing a sustainable operating and financial model for public sector organisations.”

Amongst the benefits from the partnership include the rationalisation of existing contractual arrangements, streamlining of processes and the collection of robust and consistent management information for future contract development.

It also highlights that both organisations are working hard to adopt a more efficient, compliant and auditable approach.

Vic Emery, Chair of the Scottish Police Authority said:  “The more efficiently we run the organisation of policing, the more of our resources we can direct to sustain frontline officers and staff working in our communities. The SPA has championed the need for further collaboration. We laid down a challenge to the service professionals to deliver tangible progress on this and I am delighted Police Scotland are launching this procurement initiative with their partners in SFRS.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Board chairman, Pat Watters, said: “In the current financial climate we as a board understand how crucial it is to make savings wherever possible. This innovative collaboration between Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland is an excellent example of pro-active partnership working which in turn provides an opportunity to secure best value and savings for both organisations. This piece of work represents another key benefit of fire and police service reform.”

Colin Proctor, Asset Management Director at the Scottish Futures Trust, stated:  “It has been a pleasure to work with SFRS and Police Scotland on this initiative, supporting two organisations committed through this work to implementing best practice approaches. Both have a commitment to improving service delivery whilst also meeting budget challenges, and never before has the argument been so compelling to seek new ways to make finances stretch further. We applaud the work of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland to come together to seek common ground and achieve efficiencies.”