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The cuts explained

Where are we now when it comes to the cuts?

With the December announcement that our financial settlement is £1m less than the current year we are still facing cuts, but they are by no means as big as we were expecting in the early Autumn.

The halting of the funding formula review may well be a good result for us for now, it is by not over. The review of the way funding is awarded to individual forces will be back on the table in the New Year and I will continue to lobby on Lancashire’s behalf. I and some other Commissioners have asked for the review to be undertaken independent of the Home Office and to involve Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables instead of ignoring the wealth of knowledge we have on police demand.

Please be assured that I will continue to campaign and will keep you updated as we hear more

In the meantime I have embarked on a consultation with Lancashire residents on the council tax precept seeking the opinions of residents before deciding whether I should increase by 2%, 5% or freezing the payment in the next financial year. For more information see here.

Timeline

December 2015:

Following the Government’s announcement that the funding formula process would be put on hold a Committee of MPs announced its own investigation into what caused the problems. This investigation took written and oral evidence including a written statement from myself and the Chief Constable, the Chief Constable was also invited to give oral evidence to the Committee.

On the 11 December the Committee published its damning findings into the entire funding formula process. The Chair of the Committee said,

“Senior officials did not communicate with those who would be affected by the review, or seemingly with each other, and did not understand the significance of the errors which were made.”

The Committee found that the process was a ‘shambles’, ‘rushed’ and ‘misguided’. It further acknowledged that Ministers and Officials did not have a proper appreciation of the scale of their mistakes and the impact this would have on Forces like Lancashire. The Committee recommended an independent body take over this process as “the reputation of the Home Office has been damaged with its principal stakeholders”  – the Police.  I had already written to the Policing Minister, Mike Penning (see a copy of the letter) to make the case for appointing a body independent from the Home Office to decide on the funding formula but one that includes PCCs and Chief Constables to provide the policing perspective. The Committee’s full report is available to read here.

On Tuesday 15 December PCCs received a copy of the letter from the Home Office’s top civil servant to the Committee. In it he once again apologised for the errors but clearly stated that analysts and policy makers had insufficient knowledge and understanding of the data and issues they were dealing with but gave no indication of who was taking ultimate responsibility for these errors. We await the Government’s formal response but have been told that the new process by which the funding formula will be reviewed and set will be outlined in the New year.

November 2015:

Consequently with the deadline to the consultation looming on November 6 we forwarded our response to the consultation to the Home Office and included the independent work we had commissioned too. Police funding formula extended consultation response and Academic Analysis by Dr Les Humphreys

It was at this point that we received notification from Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner’s office that the Home Office had acknowledged their concerns around the funding formula calculations. Their office too had been seeking clarification on the figures and Tony Hogg received confirmation that the calculations the Home Office had made used the wrong indicator and consequently the proposed new funding formula for all 43 force areas was wrong.

On Monday, November 9, the Policing Minister Mike Penning was however called to address an urgent question in the House of Commons relating to the funding formula review and announced that the funding review was being put on hold.

I immediately called for an independent body to carry out any review in future, I have lost confidence in the Home Office’s ability to carry out this review effectively and also the complete lack of engagement with many Police and Crime Commissioners on the issue. Together with 11 other PCCs I have issued a letter to the Policing Minister calling for the independent review.

It wasn’t until November 16 that my office and other Commissioners received formal notification from the Home Office that the funding review had been delayed and an apology for the mistakes made.

October 2015:

My concerns about the consultation and what it meant for Lancashire were particularly heightened by analysis we received that suggested Lancashire could be the biggest loser in terms of its share of the national policing budget and I immediately contacted the Home Office and the Policing Minister asking for a meeting.

I also contacted Lancashire’s 16 MPs asking them to meet me to discuss my concerns.
Meeting request to Lancashire MPs

On October 8 we got the confirmation we feared with the publication of more detail by the Home Office on what their proposal would mean for individual forces
Policing Minister’s exemplification regarding funding review.

As expected this was devastating news for Lancashire and under the proposals as they stood at the time we were due to receive 13.5% less funding from Government than we did this year – this was equivalent to a reduction of £24.5m.

Despite this news, at this stage my requests for meetings with some, but not all of our area’s MPs, were receiving a luke warm reception and I received no indication from the Home Office that either Mike Penning or Theresa May were prepared to meet me to discuss my very obvious concerns.

I felt that the Ministers and some MPs were not fully aware of the issues and needed to really make them stand up and take notice. I also felt the public needed to be made aware of the proposals and what they would mean for Lancashire so they could let Government know what they felt about them too.

So with this in mind the Chief Constable and I decided to hold a press conference to make the media and public aware of the issues we were facing and the size of the cuts. Remember it isn’t just this review of the way funding is allocated that is going to hit us, on November 25 the Government will announce how much money it will cut from the overall national police funding pot in the Comprehensive Spending Review. The Government has said that most department budgets will face a 25 to 40% reduction – so this would be on top of the funding review.
View the press conference

Lancashire featured on news channels and in the press raising concerns about the funding formula review. My requests for meetings with our MPs received more positive replies and on October 12, I met with majority of the Lancashire MPs in Westminster.

I was accompanied by the Chief Constable and together we were able to raise our considerable concerns about the proposed funding formula and what it meant for Lancashire. The outcome of the meeting was that the MPs agreed to write a letter outlining our concerns to the Policing Minister and seek a meeting with him. Lancashire MPs joint letter to the Policing Minister

On October 21 the MPs were granted a meeting with Mike Penning to discuss our concerns and raised the issues with the formula and the concerns about why it appeared so detrimental to Lancashire – especially when considering that forces similar to ours in terms of the kind of area they covered were not impacted quite so badly.
Press release following cross party delegation to Home Office

On October 28 the Government issued a technical note detailing how they had reached their current proposals to enhance the note we had received on October 8. This was partly as a result of the representations made by Lancashire MPs but also due to requests made from other areas such as Devon and Cornwall.
Technical note from the Home Office on the police funding formula proposals

From then on it became clear to me and the Constabulary that something had gone wrong in the calculation process. We had struggled to understand why a formula could bring such amazingly different results in terms of funding allocation to forces that shared similar demographics and rural/urban profiles. If you are using indicators that take these factors into consideration then you would expect similar results for similar sized forces with similar area profiles.

We had already commissioned an independent report to look into the statistical data that was being used to determine the new formula, but nevertheless we were still concerned the results did not seem correct and the sums didn’t add up.

I also began discussing concerns with other Commissioners and the London Mayor’s office. We all felt that the Home Office had handled the consultation process so badly, and had failed to make technical detail available to us in time for an appropriate response to be sent to the consultation that we should consider taking legal action to halt the process of reviewing the funding formula. I joined together with five other PCCs and the Deputy Mayor of London to write to the Home Office asking for a delay in the review.
Letter to Mike Penning from PCCs and Deputy Mayor of London

Despite requests for clarification neither my office nor Lancashire Constabulary received an update from the Home Office on the figures or an explanation as to why our appraisal of the figures didn’t match up with theirs.

September 2015:

The formal closing date for the Home Office consultation date was on September 15, 2015. Although our request for further and more detailed technical information had not been acknowledged or responded to, we still had to submit a formal response.
Formal response to first stage consultation from Lancashire PCC and Constabulary

July 2015:

The Home Office had announced it was due to consult on the review of the funding formula. Concerned about what this may mean and in order to engage Lancashire MPs I wrote to them about the impending consultation document ahead of the summer recess of parliament.
Letter to MPs about impending funding formula review

Shortly after this the Home Office issued its first consultation document on the proposal funding formula review which can be found here:
Initial consultation document published July 2015

I immediately wrote to Lancashire’s MPs and asked for their support in supporting Lancashire’s case
Letter to MPs asking them to support Lancashire

Lancashire Constabulary and my office along with many other areas felt the initial consultation document lacked enough detail for us to fully understand what was being proposed and more importantly by not providing the data or technical detail we weren’t able to determine what the implications were for our force so we wrote asking for further information in August.
Letter requesting more information from the Home Office.

Engagement on funding formula review and Comprehensive Spending Review

I have engaged in the funding formula review consultation as well as the comprehensive spending review consultation. If you would like to see the relating correspondence please use the links below, documents are listed in date order. Where letters to MPs are listed, just one sample letter has been made available below, however, all letters or emails to MPs listed were sent to all of the county’s MPs.

Government Consultation Documents and responses
21.07.2015 Home Office to all PCCs – Consultation on reform of police funding
07.2015      Police Fundig Consultation
08.10.2015 Rt Hon Mike Penning MP to all Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables – Police Funding Consultation
28.10.2015 Home Office to PCC for Lancashire – Police Funding Model
28.10.2015 Home Office to PCC for Lancashire – Refined Police Funding Model – Technical  Note
16.11.2015 Mary Calam to PCC – Apology for data error

PCC responses and requests for clarification
21.08.2015 Director of Resources at Lancashire Constabulary to Home Office Finance and Strategy Directorate
14.09.2015 PCC for Lancashire to Home Office Finance and Strategy Directorate
21.10.2015 PCC for Lancashire to Rt Hon Theresa May MP/ Rt Hon Mike Penning MP
22.10.2015 PCC for Lancashire to Rt Hon Mike Penning MP
27.10.2015 PCCs to Rt Hon Mike Penning MP – Taking legal advice with view to initiating judicial review
29.10.2015 PCC for Lancashire to Mary Calam, Director General, Crime and Policing
05.11.2015 PCC and Chief Constable Response to Reform of Police Funding Arrangements Consultation
11.2015      Dr Les Humphreys – Response to Reform of Police Funding Arrangements Consultation 
13.11.2015 PCCs to Rt Hon Mike Pennning MP

PCC to Lancashire MPs and Peers
17.07.2015 PCC for Lancashire to MPs regarding police grant
14.08.2015 PCC for Lancashire to MPs regarding Consultation on Reform of Police Funding Arrangements
22.09.2015 PCC for Lancashire to MPs regarding Comprehensive Spending Review
05.10.2015 PCC for Lancashire to MPs – meeting request
13.10.2015 PCC for Lancashire to MPs – funding formula consultation briefing pack
22.10.2015 PCC for Lancashire to Baroness Ruth Henig

Representations on behalf of Lancashire PCC and Constabulary
22.10.2015 Morecambe Town Council to Rt Hon Mike Penning MP
22.10.2015 Lancashire County Council CEO to Rt Hon Theresa May MP
23.10.2015 Lancashire MPs to Rt Hon Mike Penning MP
30.10.2015 Mike Penning MP to Lancashire MPs (Response to Lancashire MPs letter from 23.10.2015 – to be read with the technical note)
23.10.2015 Morecambe Town Council to Home Office and Rt Hon David Morris MP
29.10.2015 Neighbourhood Watch Executive to Prime Minister

Other Correspondence
10.09.2015 Association of Police and Crime Commissioners – Meeting Agenda
10.09.2015 National Police Chief’s Council to Home Office Finance and Strategy Directorate
10.09.2015 Lancashire Constabulary to RT Hon Keith Vaz MP
15.09.2015 Association of Police and Crime Commissioners to Home Secretary
15.09.2015 Police and Crime Commissioners Treasurers’ Society to Home Office Finance and Strategy Directorate
13.10.2015 PCC for Lancashire to Council Leaders – written submission to Home Affairs Select Committee

Related articles

03.11.2015 North West Police and Crime Commissioners threaten Home Office with legal challenge to cuts
22.10.2015 Comment from Clive Grunshaw following cross party conference
20.10.2015 Funding reviews, budget cuts and HMIC reports – Just what does it all mean?
13.10.2015 Lancashire Police put at risk with ‘catastrophic’ proposed cuts
13.10.2015 Commissioner outraged as community policing put at risk by proposed cuts

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