Continue making sure public money is well spent
In his 2016 election manifesto, the PCC highlighted how he had been prudent and accountable in the way he had spent public money throughout his first term of office. He also pledged to continue this approach during the current term – making sure public money is respected and spent wisely.
A number of robust arrangements are in place to oversee the monitoring and management of finances and resources.
Internally, the Resource Control Board oversees the arrangements for effectively managing resources, including land, property, finance, projects and people. This board meets monthly with attendance from the PCC, his Chief Executive and the Chief Finance Officer.
An Independent Audit Committee (IAC) serves the Alliance between Dorset Police and Devon And Cornwall Police and meets quarterly. The committee reviews and advises on areas such as financial strategies, budget planning and reserves. Internal audits are conducted by the South West Audit Partnership (SWAP) across the Alliance, providing independent opinion on the risk management and financial governance across both forces.
An annual audit plan is agreed, with progress and outcomes reported via the IAC. These audits help the PCC to ensure that his Office is adopting best practice – for example, the PCC’s Commissioning team has improved policies and procedures throughout this term to ensure that processes are delivered efficiently and effectively. In addition, external audit services are provided by Grant Thornton who are responsible for forming and expressing an opinion on the PCC’s, Chief Constable’s and group’s annual accounts and on the value for money arrangements that are in place.
Regionally, the PCC and the Chief Executive sit on the South West Police Collaboration Strategic Board, and have oversight of its subgroups. This is the decision making Board for regional funding and governance matters and is supported by a separate programme team that directly reports into Chief Constables and PCCs.
The Dorset Police & Crime Panel provides direct scrutiny of the PCC and his progress in delivering against his Police and Crime Panel objectives. This includes reviewing budget and precept setting arrangements, financial management and how the PCC commissions services to help achieve his strategic priorities.
A key element of the PCC’s annual precept and budget setting process is consultation with the public. As well as informing the public on the current financial situation affecting policing, this process also explains what the plans are for money generated by raising the precept – both in terms of providing resources for Dorset Police and for delivering against the agreed Police and Crime Plan priorities. The PCC takes pride in engaging with thousands of Dorset residents as part of this process.
Dorset Police is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime, as assessed by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS). They judged the Force to be good in its understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand; and its planning for future.
The views of IAC, SWAP, Grant Thornton and HMICFRS provide strong evidence that the PCC has once again ensured that public money has been spent wisely and respected.