Home Office confirms delay in creation of police ICT company

Department says that new company will now be established in ‘interim form’ from July

The government’s implementation of a new police ICT company is now expected to happen in July, and not spring as previously announced by the Home Office.

The new ICT company, known as ‘newco’, is intended to assume responsibility for a range of ICT-related functions currently performed by the soon to be abolished National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA).

Plans for the new company to be created by spring 2012 were announced by home secretary Theresa May in July last year. However this schedule appears to have slipped, and the company will now be created in “interim form” from July, the Home Office has confirmed.

A spokesman for the Home Office told Guardian Government Computing: “The design proposition for the new company is complete. The Home Office is now discussing the proposals with potential owners and customers.”

Paul Ridgewell, senior analyst at public sector market intelligence firm Kable, told Guardian Government Computing that the delay in the creation of the company was “awkward” for the Home Office given that it had placed great emphasis on having the organisation up and running by spring this year.

“This makes the government’s aim of reducing police ICT spending and improving efficiency all the harder. For suppliers it means a continuation of the uncertainty surrounding ICT procurement in this sector,” he said.

In December, the Association of Chief Police Officers revealed that they were keeping their options open on the possible creation of a police ICT company to take on the technology functions of the NPIA.

The new company will be responsible for the procurement, implementation and management of ICT solutions and associated business change.

The four aims of the company, according to the Home Office, are to:

• Improve the value for money that the police receive from their spending on ICT services.

• Enable greater innovation in police ICT so that officers have access to the best new technologies.

• Free-up chief officers from in-depth involvement with ICT management.

• Ensure services and products support forces and other customers in their drive for interoperability.

This article is published by Guardian Professional. For weekly updates on news, debate and best practice on public sector IT, join the Guardian Government Computing network here.

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