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Decisions of the PCC - December 2019

On this page, any decisions made by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland will be published. The table below outlines each decision supported by the Decision Form used by the Commissioner to justify the decision.

Note: Where a link to the decision document is unavailable, this will be updated as soon as practicable. 

Decisions of the PCC - December 2019
Decision Reference Number Decision Title  Decision Summary Date Authorised
 2019-187631 End formal collaboration of Police Dog support

The decision follows changes to the operating model that were implemented in 2018, and takes into account the proven efficiency and effectiveness of the revised arrangements.

The Dog Support Unit has delivered benefits and has maintained a level of operational resilience in respect of police dog assets shared across the three police forces. This has weathered the financial pressures faced by each of the forces.

The recommendation of the Chief Constables is that the collaboration has delivered a level of benefits but that these benefits can be maintained without formal collaboration. The maintenance of formal collaboration across the Evolve geographical area is considered by the Chief Constable to hinder or impact on future benefits.

The dog support unit has operated under revised arrangements since its operating model was varied in 2018, by a formal agreement between the three Commissioners and the Chief Constables. The recommendation of the Chief Constables is that following the successful operation of the varied arrangements, the revised operating model should be reintegrated into the individual forces permanently.

The rationale for the Chief Constables’ recommendation is set out below:-

1. Different financial and overall efficiency outcomes have been achieved in each force area.

2. Line management efficiencies have been difficult to sustain for all parties to the collaboration.

3. A number of legal challenges have arisen, connected directly and indirectly with dogs support, during the period of the formal collaboration. In the judgement of the Chief Constables these have impacted on the cohesion and alignment of the joint unit and in turn impacted on the ability of the unit to deliver the full benefits anticipated at its inception.

4. The geographical span of the formally-collaborated Unit has generated a disproportionate wellbeing impact on staff who are required to deploy across three force areas.

5. There has been an impact on the resilience and capability of the Dog Support Unit, in light of some of the above factors, which has meant that the ability to deploy with maximum effectiveness has been adversely affected and this is considered to have resulted in calls for service being difficult to meet.

The Commissioners recognise that the collaboration has provided benefits in improving the design, implementation and planning for collaborative units in order to realise maximum benefits. The unit has delivered a joint governance structure which has demonstrated the benefits of close collaboration and the journey to alignment of culture within collaboration teams, has highlighted the need to support teams entering into a collaborative arrangement throughout the change process and post-implementation.

As a matter of law, Commissioners are required to keep collaborations under review to ensure that collaborations continue to deliver specific benefits and sustain those benefits.

The Commissioners are also required to consider the recommendations of their Chief Constables on matters which relate to the Chief Constables’ operational independence. The delivery of the Dog Support function falls within the operational independence of the Chief Constable and as such recommendations of this kind made by the Chief Constables must be considered carefully by the Commissioners.

In accordance with the Evolve Collaboration Agreement a formal Exit Protocol will be agreed, regulating the transition period and ensuring that the formal collaboration ends on terms which are efficient and effective and which build upon the benefits delivered by the formal collaboration. The Exit Protocol will be published. The Exit Protocol is intended to come into effect on 31 December 2019 (the date for ending the formal collaboration) and to remain in effect until 31 December 2020. 

The Commissioners recognise the commitment and the valuable professional service provided to the communities of Cleveland, Durham and North Yorkshire by the Dog Support Units and are assured by the Chief Constables that no reduction in Police Dog support will result from their recommendation.

Mutual aid arrangements will continue to operate across the three Force areas, to meet particular operational demand.

2019-188054 Proposal to purchase a property

In September 2018 the PCC made the decision not to extend, beyond its 10 year term, the contract to provide services to Cleveland Police by SopraSteria.

Upon the return of these services in October 2020 there will be a need to accommodate circa 100 staff, who do not currently work from a building that is owned by the PCC. The current estate does not however have sufficient capacity to accommodate these staff and therefore work has been on-going over the last year to look at various options, with appraisals done on a number of potential purchases.

In addition to the space needed to accommodate these staff there is also a likely increase in space that will result from increases in staff to support the expected Uplift in Police Officers – that have been announced at a national level. It would be expected that the proportional increase in Police Officers locally will also see a proportional increase in Police staff – initial indications are that these posts could total 60-80 FTEs for Cleveland Police and are expected to be funded in line with the additional funding for additional Police Officers.

A market search and subsequent assessment identified that St Marks House had the potential to not only provide the space to accommodate the return of SopraSteria staff but also provide much needed flexibility of space to meet future growth and/or provide higher quality accommodation for existing operational teams.

The market for a property of the size required, for the known and expected needs of the organisation, is however limited and some of the properties that were looked at and considered weren’t openly marketed as being for sale.

Around 10 properties were considered throughout the search, they were considered in terms of whether they met the needs of the organisation in terms of floor space, location, parking, amenities for staff and whether the purchase and running costs would be affordable to the PCC and provide value for money.

The proposal to purchase St Marks House has the following benefits:

  • The scope to accommodate around 180 desks across the 1st and 2nd floors of this building.
  • Scope to use the ground floor of the building for a number of potential options, depending on the future estates strategy of the organisation.
  • The building is located only a very short distance (around 200yds) from the building that the SopraSteria staff currently work from and therefore it will have no additional costs for all parties to travel to work.
  • There is parking on site but also available in the surrounding areas where many of the transferring staff will already park.

In terms of Value for money, the agreed purchase price for the building will be £800k excluding VAT, given that the building is around 16,000 square feet this equates to £50 per square foot. In assessing whether this delivers value for money it has been compared against the other buildings that were looked at as part of this process and also compared against 7 known sales that have taken place over the last few years within the area, of similar sized buildings. These 7 sales were used by a professional valuer for comparison purposes in valuing all of the buildings owned by the PCC as at the 31st March 2019. At £50 the purchase of this building, on a per-square foot basis, represents better value than all of these other similar properties. 

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