Police and fire service “back-office” collaboration to go live in April
North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan has today announced plans for “back-office” staff to work as one team, under one roof, as part of a wider programme to improve efficiency and affordability across the police and fire services in North Yorkshire.
The Commissioner took on the responsibility for the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in November last year, with a pledge to increase collaboration and reduce costs.
This new plan will involve “back office” departments such as finance, HR and IT, as well as others, coming together as one team, under the name Enable North Yorkshire.
Enable North Yorkshire will go live from April this year, with a mission to provide high quality, efficient business support services for both North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and North Yorkshire Police.
Enable North Yorkshire will be based at Alverton Court in Northallerton. The building, which was recently refurbished to accommodate police head office functions as well as the town’s Police Station, will become the HQ for both North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and North Yorkshire Police, allowing both organisations to make financial savings. The current fire service HQ is located at Thurston Road, also in Northallerton, and is reaching the end of its lease.
Commenting on the decision to create Enable North Yorkshire, Julia Mulligan said:
“When I took on the governance of the fire service, I promised to increase collaboration across fire and police, and that is what Enable North Yorkshire will do. As I’ve said many times, the financial situation for both organisations is very challenging. We have to take every opportunity we can to improve efficiency in the “back-office”, so we can invest in the frontline services that keep people safe.
“I want to be absolutely clear that Enable North Yorkshire is a genuine public service collaboration. It is not a merger, it is not a take-over of one service by another, and it is not a separate company.
“North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have different jobs to do, they are separate organisations, and that will not change. The staff who currently work in the police will continue to be employed by the police, and the staff who work in the fire service will continue to be employed by the fire service. Any savings that are made from the policing budget will go back into policing, and any savings that are made from the fire budget will go back into the fire service.
“The difference is that people will be working side-by-side, in one location, sharing knowledge and practice and – in time – providing a joint service across both organisations. That won’t be achieved overnight, but it is right that we start that journey now. The people of North Yorkshire help to pay for these services through the precept, and I am absolutely committed to making sure that the public gets best value-for-money from that investment.”
Enable North Yorkshire will be headed up by a Managing Director, who will be accountable to both the Chief Constable and the Chief Fire Officer for providing the services needed to support their respective operations.
The creation of this post, plus a statutory Chief of Staff role for the Office of the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner, together with the dis-establishment of the current Chief Executive Officer functions in both Fire and Police services, represents the first step in a wider senior management review.
The Commissioner pledged to undertake this review as part of the Fire Service Local Business Case, and it is expected to deliver significant cost savings.
The positions of Managing Director for Enable North Yorkshire and the Chief of Staff for the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Office are now being advertised.
The creation of Enable North Yorkshire will not, in itself, result in any job losses. Separately to this, both Police and Fire services are engaged in a programme called Transform 2020 which is looking at achieving greater efficiency in both organisations. Transform 2020 plans are still in development and are not expected to be confirmed until later in the year.
Speaking about Enable North Yorkshire, Chief Constable Lisa Winward said:
“As a police service, our job is to keep people safe. And as operational officers and police staff will tell you, we can’t do that job effectively without a strong back-office team supporting us. We have some very talented and committed people working in our support functions. Bringing them closer together as Enable North Yorkshire will provide new opportunities to learn and develop, as well as helping us to be more efficient.”
Andrew Brodie, Chief Fire Officer for North Yorkshire Fire Service said:
“We agree what’s important – to provide the best possible service to the public, within the budget. We’ll do this best when we do it together. The Enable North Yorkshire structure allows us to collaborate on our Enabling Services where it’s sensible to do so. We’ll remain distinct and separate organisations for response, but will still work effectively together at incidents.”