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Police staff jobs at risk as force reduces cost of outsourcing contract

Force says changing financial climate means workforce numbers need to be reduced
Published - 04/02/2016 By - Helena Hickey - Police Oracle

A number of police staff jobs are at risk after a force decided to adjust its outsourcing contract to cope with the challenging financial climate.  

Cleveland Police entered into a £183.3 million deal with outsourcing giant Sopra Steria in 2010 to provide services including ICT, the control room and finance in the hope of saving £70.9 million over ten years.

However, due to the changing demand on policing since the partnership was formed, the force says it now needs to reduce the annual contract cost by around £2.9 million per year in order to achieve a balanced budget in years to come. 

As a result, it has been anticipated that Sopra Steria will need to reduce workforce numbers by around 73 full time posts – with an additional 20 staff transferring back to Cleveland Police.

Temporary Chief Constable Iain Spitall said: “A great deal of work has already taken place to ensure we deliver the best possible service in line with our budget constraints.

“The unfortunate consequence of this reduction means that there will be job losses and we understand how difficult this will be for local people and their families. I know that the team at Sopra Steria will do what they can to ensure that compulsory redundancies are kept to a minimum and will provide support to those affected.”

A voluntary redundancy scheme will be re-opened in order to reduce the number of compulsory job losses.

A spokesman for the force was unable to give further details on where the job losses might come from but six front desks posts are among those at risk, following a decision to close nine front desks across the area.

The force states research carried out between August and October 2015 found that some front desks averaged less than one visitor per day, including receiving deliveries and people handing in lost property.

The police stations themselves will remain open, with officers continuing to patrol from the buildings and appointments still being held there with members of the public.

Video phones, which are already in use at other stations across the force, will be placed at the front of each building so there is a direct link to the police control room if needed.

“This change does not mean that we are withdrawing from our communities, it is about a common sense approach to ensure that we provide the best and most cost effective service to local people,” said T/CC Spittal.

“We are becoming a much more technological society and as the needs of the public change, we must adapt and use our budgets wisely.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said the decision to adjust the contract “was not taken lightly”.

“When the contract was signed in 2010, there was more money and resources available for Cleveland Police. The 2013 Comprehensive Spending Review had a huge impact on the police service and the way that police forces operate,” he said.

“As the work of the force has changed over time, I appreciate that the requirements of the contract must change now that we are six years on.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have agreed to the recommendations and I understand the impact of the changes and the effects they have on local people. I have been given assurances that support is being made available for those affected.”

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