Forensic Science Service Ltd was a major supplier of forensic science services to the criminal justice sector in the UK. In December 2010 it became subject to a closure and sale programme, following an announcement by the Minister of State for the Home Department.
At that time FSS was contracted to the seven Police Authorities of the North East of England to provide forensic science services.
In order to provide continuity of service for the North Eastern Police Authorities, FSS agreed to appoint a subcontractor for such services for the remainder of the term of the Service Level Agreement.
The services are now provided by LGC Ltd and are delivered from both the West Yorkshire Police Authority laboratories in Wakefield and from within the LGC estate. The current SLA will expire on 31 March 2013.
A competitive tender process commenced in August 2012 in order to identify a future supplier(s) of these business critical services. This collaborative tender process has now been concluded and approval is now required from each of the seven NE forces to proceed to contract with the successful bidder.
The evaluation panel included professionals in the fields of Forensics, Procurement and Business Continuity. All 7 North East Police Forces were represented.
The evaluation panel conducted a fair, consistent and thorough tender evaluation process to reach the decisions/recommendations outlined in the report.
In conclusion, the evaluation panel agreed that LGC’s tender was the strongest bid received.
When assessed against the evaluation criteria which were set out, LGC’s tender scored the highest in lots 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
The evaluation panel recommended that LGC are awarded the 5 year contract (plus 2 year extension) for the delivery of Forensic services (lots 1 – 5 inclusive) to the 7 North East Police forces.
Providing that this recommendation is accepted, the 7 Police Forces stand to benefit from annual savings of between £70,860 and £636,177.50. This is the range of financial savings which is based upon a discount factor of between 5% and 10%.
It is recommended that the forces within the North East proceed to contract award with LGC for a period of 5 years, (with optional 2 year extension) the following reasons and considerations have been factored into this recommendation.
The procurement process has been open and transparent and has been an excellent example of true collaborative working between the forces involved. Robust due diligence has been carried out to ensure that the proposed service provider has both capacity and capability to deliver such a core business critical service.
The current service is fit for purpose and well established; officers and staff across the North East are now familiar with the LGC working practices and processes. There is potential to continue to utilise the wealth of management information currently available from LGC to further improve the service and rationalise processes.
The seven forces have a unique opportunity to collaborate in this way and manage the service delivery locally. There is an ability to establish a longer term strategic partnership with an on-site provider and continue to negotiate towards mutually beneficial savings.
Use of the national framework has often led to increased costs, typically between 7 - 10%, notwithstanding the additional process costs incurred with the mandatory use of multiple suppliers who do not necessarily offer the most economically advantageous offering.
Costs of change will be avoided and resources can instead concentrate on and process improvements.