Welcoming today’s (Tuesday) announcement that there will be a Government review of the funding formula that determines policing grants, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said that he was pleased to see that his appeals to the Home Office had not gone unheard.
“All forces should receive a fair funding deal,” he said, “It should not be a case of some being more equal than others.”
He pointed out that Nottinghamshire Police had been disadvantaged by the current funding formula, which had never been properly implemented, but any change was likely to see ‘winners and losers’, adding that he hoped to see any imbalance in Nottinghamshire addressed by the review.
“It’s been tough for Nottinghamshire, and it’s still tough,” he stressed.
After the announcement he said: “The last funding formula was never properly implemented which resulted in our force’s budget being reduced by in excess of £10m. This was a big blow, and as a result we now face bigger financial difficulties than we might have done, so I welcome this decision to examine the way grants are allocated.”
The current funding formula was introduced in 2006/07 following a review of the 2005 model. “This was a considerable change, and despite some adjustments to make it fairer, these weren’t fully implemented. This affected Nottinghamshire to a painful degree,” he explained.
Although the funding formula was reviewed again three times - in 2007, 20010 and 2012 – and on each occasion Nottinghamshire’s element of what it should receive increased, these increases were never realised.
Commenting on Home Office and Ministry of Justice Minister Mike Penning’s announcement of the review of the funding formula, Mr Tipping said: “It’s time that the Government looks again at this funding structure and the huge pressures it imposes on our police service.
However, it won’t be an easy process as different forces have different perspectives and different policing demands within their communities.”
Although a review will be held, he is concerned that the review timetable is “extremely tight.” The time period includes weeks over the summer period with decisions made by the end of the year and implementation by April 16. “This a complicated matter that warrants much thought and discussion, and I feel there simply isn’t enough time to do that,” he said.
Any changes made to the funding formula will take place against a backdrop of the new Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). Details of this are yet to be announced, but the expectation is further grant reductions. When taken together with the consequences of the funding review, some forces, particularly those who lose out, may face issues of sustainability.
“Initial conversations in relation to the current review indicate that the suggested formula will be simpler in that it will primarily be population-based with a couple of additional factors,” Mr Tipping said.
“However, it is anticipated that the new formula could have as much as a 20% more or 20% less impact on some individual force areas. This would be on top of the 20% cut in total funding available, which could destabilise those force areas.
“On this basis, I question whether making the formula population-based with a couple of additional factors is too simple.”
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Posted on Tuesday 21st July 2015