Apparently it will be a single organisation, staffed by “hard-headed” ICT Professionals, able to “..take on some of the world’s biggest companies on their own terms”.
Oh dear. Here we go again. Let’s get combative, kick the ICT industry, moan about the ICT staff currently in place and centralise everything. Doesn’t sound much like an old-fashioned Tory policy to me (apart from the moaning about the staff).
My snap reaction is that I don’t like this, and I don’t like it for the following reasons:
1. It rather flies in the face of rewarding local staff for dealing with local operational issues. The Met have one set of issues to deal with, whereas my local and beloved Gloucestershire Constabulary have a similar but nonetheless different set. Where the lovely Venn diagram of ICT stuff meets in the middle, is where a bit of centralised procurement / systems deployment might be of benefit. It seems that the current plan risks just centralising everything around the big forces (again)?
2. Surely, surely, surely we’ve done this. To death. Agreements. frameworks. SI contracts. Pan-force agreements. Oh please make it stop.
3. Does this not just add another layer of bureaucracy? Police Force decides it needs stuff, and specifies stuff. New Police ICT Buyer buys stuff. Deploys to Local Force. It gets run by Local Force and paid for by Local Force. Umm. Where’s the difference?
4. I can’t see this aiding the SME agenda. If a centralised ICT body puts out a tender for en masse procurement, only bodies of a certain size can realistically tender without risk… which puts us right back to square one.
The ONLY place I can see this making a difference is to security. A national organisation with the ability to inflict (and I mean inflict) national policies, procedures and deployments may have a chance of getting it right. The only problem with this is that it didn’t work in the NHS, so why would it work for the police?
I’m canvassing opinion on this. If you have a view (and I can’t believe you don’t), let me know. I’ll write up the best later this week.