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Thames Valley pulls out of HR system collaboration with two forces

Three forces were developing ERP system to improve HR, finance and learning and development

Thames Valley Police is to develop a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system after pulling out of a collaboration project with two other forces that has been running since 2016.

It has also so far written off £5.37million in its accounts this year although the total cost of the system to date for Thames Valley stands at £14.2million.   

Chief Finance Officer Ian Thompson confirmed in the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner’s statement of accounts for 2020/21 that the force had decided to pull out of any further development of the system.

The system developed by Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valey in collaboration with KPMG was designed to improve efficiency HR, finance and learning and development once it was finished.

In 2016 the three police forces took a decision to work collaboratively to jointly develop a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to improve the way they do business help improve efficiency.

The ERP system replaced various legacy office systems used across all three forces in order to reduce the need for duplication of information.

Following a competitive tender process, the forces have been working under contract with KPMG on the programme since that date.

In December 2020 the Chief Constables agreed that the ERP product developed by KPMG should be transferred to the three forces to "mitigate against future financial risk."

Following a recommendation by the three force Chief Constables approval was granted by the three PCCs. The forces then worked closely with KPMG to achieve the transfer of the ERP Software, Documentation and Licenced assets.

However last year PCC Anthony Stansfeld said he was unsatisfied with Equip's progress. He stood down ahead of May's election and was replaced by fellow Conservative and his former deputy Matthew Barber.

In Thames Valley the Chief Constable and PCC considered options for the replacement of Equip through its Next Steps programme, and appropriate funding was included in the Medium Term Financial Plan (2021/22 to 2024/25) to finance new activities, But the plan is to discontinue any further development of the Equip system.

Prior to 2020/21 Thames Valley had spent £8.281m on the Equip programme and this was held on the balance sheet as an "intangible asset." After depreciation this figure has been reduced to £5.37m and the sum has been written-off in the 2020/21 accounts.

During 2020/21 Thames Valley spent a further £6.130m on the Equip programme.

Mr Thompson confirmed that “no further sums will be spent on the Equip programme in 2021/22 or later years.”

Sussex Police and Surrey Police have bought the software and could still make use of it but Thames Valley Police has pulled out of the partnership.

Thames Valley Police's Chief Constable John Campbell and PCC Mr Barber are looking at the development or use of another enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

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