Uphold prudent finances with adequate reserves
In his 2016 election manifesto the Police and Crime Commissioner highlighted how Dorset Police had adequate reserves and a balanced budget for 2016/17 (set during his first term of office) and stated his intention to continue to adopt this prudent approach to the Force budget.
A core function of the PCC is to set the annual policing budget, including the council tax precept element of police funding. Each year the PCC undertakes a public consultation on his budget and precept proposals before presenting them to the Dorset Police and Crime Panel for consideration and approval each February.
The PCC is proud that he and his team have continued the trend of increasing consultation responses each and every year of his term – with Dorset OPCC collecting one of the very highest rates of response for this exercise in England and Wales.
Reports and related information on these annual budget setting processes can be found within the Dorset Police and Crime Panel meeting papers. In addition, the annual accounts of the PCC and Dorset Police are published annually and are subject to external audit scrutiny. Information relating to the annual accounts can be found on the Commissioner’s website.
In terms of the audited PCC accounts for 2018/19, the independent auditors Grant Thornton stated that ‘we are satisfied that the Police and Crime Commissioner put in place proper arrangements for securing economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources for the year ended 31 March 2019’.
Regarding the 2019/20 budget and precept proposals, in his report to the Police and Crime Panel in February 2019 the Commissioner clearly set out the budget requirement, fully informed by the operational and organisational requirements of Dorset Police.
It also set out the Reserves Strategy, outlining measures to retain the existing minimum 3% and in time increase this to the target of 5%.