Private security company G4S has taken over the running of more than 400 vehicles at Lincolnshire Police as part of a £200 million outsourcing contract.
The 10-year deal, which took effect this month, aims to help the force achieve savings of more than £20 million over the next four years, imposed by the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.
G4S will be contractually responsible for the provision of fleet management services to meet the requirements of Lincolnshire Police Authority. This will include the delivery of the fleet strategy in agreement with the authority.
Gail Bradshaw, facilities and asset relationship manager at Lincolnshire Police, told Fleet News that performance criteria had been included in the contract, which will be assessed on a monthly basis.
She added: “The advantage of the contract with G4S is that it will assist Lincolnshire Police in achieving the budget reductions imposed by the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.
"Key service improvements in relation to fleet management include a new fleet workshop in the south of the county to enable all services to be provided in-house and remove the delivery of maintenance through a third party provider; savings on the day-to-day revenue budgets linked to the operation and running costs of the fleet; and improved achievement of NAPFM benchmark targets.”
All staff previously employed by Lincolnshire Police have been transferred to G4S.
Richard Flint, chairman of the NAPFM and head of transport at North Yorkshire Police, said: “Fleet managers are not against outsourcing. We already outsource bodyshop repairs and breakdown services where it is cost-effective to do that.
“However, I would not advise the bundling of all operations and I would advise my own force to make sure any such move is based on a sound and robust business case.
“We need to make sure that we strike the right balance between balancing costs and service levels.”
The process to identify a potential partner in Lincolnshire began in March 2011 with 160 expressions of interest, from which five bidders were shortlisted.
Two – G4S and Steria with Reliance – were chosen to take part in the final stage and in late December, the police authority named G4S as its preferred bidder.
Kim Challis, group managing director at G4S Government and Outsourcing Services, said: “This project will mean many of the services provided by the police will now be delivered by specialists who can deliver greater savings and improve efficiency.”
Ten other authorities have indicated interest in the Lincolnshire initiative by signing a framework agreement. They are Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Gwent, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire.
Focus switches to Surrey and West Midlands forces
West Midlands and Surrey forces have invited bids from G4S and other major security companies to take over the delivery of a wide range of services, including fleet management.
The contract has a potential value of £1.5 billion over seven years, increasing to a possible £3.5 billion if other forces become involved.
West Midlands Chief Constable Chris Sims, who is spearheading the joint contract, said: “We are committed to finding a long-term transformational solution that is more cost effective and improves the service we deliver.”
Since early 2011, West Midlands Police has been working with Surrey Police and the Home Office to identify the potential for greater involvement of the private sector in the delivery of policing.
That resulted in a “bidders’ conference” last month, involving delegates from about 60 private security companies.
The contract is being offered in two lots, one covering custody services and the second all other services, including fleet management. It envisages that only one company will be awarded the main contract, although a second may run custody services separately. Successful bidder(s) will be announced by the end of 2012.
The programme has the potential to become the main vehicle for outsourcing police services in England and Wales, with strong backing from the Home Office.