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11 August 2016 – Freedom of information requests – Response to a range of accountancy questions

Request

  1. All receipts and invoices relating to mobile safety cameras, including money spent on equipment, maintenance, and income received from penalties to keep the initiative running.
  2. All receipts and invoices relating to Athena House in the last financial year.
  3. All receipts and invoices relating to the PCC’s use of external agencies, including advertising, public relations, and third-party surveys and research.
  4. All receipts and invoices relating to funding received from external organisations who have paid for extra policing at events, for example York City Football Club, Tour de Yorkshire, etc.
  5. All gifts and hospitality recorded by the OPCC

Response

Thank you for your request for information which I have taken as being made under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. A number of the questions you pose are not requests for inspection within the scope of this legislation, but we are providing a response which will I hope be helpful and which is in line with the positive approach of the Commissioner and the Chief Constable to transparency and openness.

The primary legislation affords a right of inspection of accounts and records relating to the period currently open for inspection, and all responses below cover 2015/16 only. Where we have accounting system records that amount to “books” that answer your question, we have provided this.

Your questions do not make it clear whether you are seeking information about the accounts of the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, or the separate accounts of the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire, or indeed the accounts of the group as a whole. In providing my answers, I have provided information from both sets of accounts, as relevant.

Your questions all ask to see “all receipts and invoices”. At this stage I haven’t included copies of all of these, because extraction will involve a significant amount of time and resources. Hopefully the responses given will provide the information you seek, but in the event that you still wish to examine the documents, please contact me to make an appointment to visit Newby Wiske, and I will arrange for those you wish to see to be extracted for you.

I hope this explains the way that I have approached answering your questions and is a helpful interpretation of the legislative provisions. Where it is impossible to treat a specific request as falling within the Local Audit and Accountability Act provisions, I have specifically included a statement to that effect.

  1. Money spent:

    Expenditure during 2015/16 on Safety Camera Vans includes setup costs, revenue costs and leasing costs:
    Setup costs were £178,568 as follows:
    figures

    Revenue costs of the Traffic Management Unit in total were £1,522,505 during 2015/16. However, the Traffic Management Unit provide expert assistance and advice in relation to traffic management and accidents to government departments (Department of Transport) , local authorities and councils, agencies, courts and communities as well as supporting safety camera operations. The team provide written reports, mandated by the Chief Constable, in relation to local authority proposals relating to road signage, limits and enforcement matters. In addition they provide support on-going process of the speed management protocol. Our finance system does not distinguish costs between these components and so the cost of ‘safety camera vans’ only makes up a proportion of the figures quoted here.

    figures-2

    Please note that these are the figures that have been specifically identified as relating to the Traffic Management Unit. Some of the costs may have formed part of normal police business and as such not been specifically identified within our finance system.

    In addition, leasing costs paid (capital and interest) during 2015/16 in respect of Safety Camera Van equipment were £24,178.

    Income:

    Police forces do not receive any income from speeding penalties – this all goes to the Treasury. However North Yorkshire Police does receive some income from Speed Awareness courses, where these are taken by the driver as an alternative to points and a fine. Please note that this includes income from all driver awareness courses, irrespective of whether related to an offence captured by a mobile safety camera or by a fixed camera (such as on the A1). In 2015/16 NYP received £1,831,091 from this source. Additionally NYP received £130,817 other income, most of which (£130,143) was funding from the Highways Agency to support our costs in relation to policing the A1 upgrade and the A64 bridge repair works.

    Net:

    Net income related to the whole of the Traffic Management unit during 2015/16 was therefore:

    figure3

    Any excess costs recovered via road safety initiatives, above and beyond the revenue costs of the department, are reinvested into road safety. An example would be the new Community Speed Watch scheme which is currently being rolled out in North Yorkshire, and is being funded via costs recovered from Driver Awareness Courses. Also, in March this year the Commissioner and Chief Constable published the first Annual Report covering Safety Camera Vans, and have committed to doing that for each financial year.
    You can download that report here

  2. I have taken this question to relate to costs associated with the purchase and refurbishment of Athena House, rather than the day to day running costs. The total costs included in the accounts in 2015/16 in relation to Athena House were £719,366. This figure includes capital additions and amounts charged to revenue:

    figure-4

  3. OPCC

    The 2015/16 accounts of the Police and Crime Commissioner include the following amounts in respect of expenditure by the Office of the PCC (OPCC):
    figures-5
    Please note that these are the figures that have been specifically identified as relating to the OPCC.

    Costs relating to advertising are as a result of recruitment or statutory responsibilities. Third party surveys and research is related to consultations such as the Police and Crime Plan, or research that is in the public interest:
    figures-6

    First Contact Experience for Non-Emergency Project

    Following regular feedback and concern from the public across North Yorkshire about the non-emergency 101 system, Julia Mulligan commissioned an independent report to review the current system. The report is in the public domain and the related action plan, intended to improve the 101 service, is under regular review. You can see the report here:
    https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/news/fewer-than-one-in-three-people-would-dial-101-to-call-the-police-for-non-emergencies-according-to-new-survey/

    The Commissioner publishes expenditure information on her website, including contracts over and under £10,000 and you can see the information here https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/taking-action/expenses-and-expenditure/.

  4. The accounts of the Chief Constable for 2015/16 include the following amounts in respect of Special Services Income, where North Yorkshire Police have provided services to police events over and above normal policing business.

    figures-7

  5. This information is published on the PCC website.

In line with our approach to transparency, this response will be published alongside the Freedom of Information disclosure log at https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/taking-action/freedom-of-information/foi-disclosure-log/ and https://northyorkshire.police.uk/access-to-information/foi-disclosure-log/.

Jane Palmer
Chief Constables Chief Finance Officer