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Information for Policing

A variety of briefings and other documents are available to policing representatives to download from the Knowledge Hub.

You will need to register for a free account using a police email address if you do not already have one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need to change?

  • Whilst there is a great deal of excellent work currently undertaken at a regional / local level such as driving social value, there are activities that, if undertaken at a national level, would add real value to forces.
  • BlueLight Commercial will support and enhance local delivery whilst providing this national collaborative coordination.
  • Policing is not adopting best commercial practises and our approach is fragmented -
  • We need to shift from ‘doing deals’ to value add in market and contract management.
  • Unlike other businesses and public services (such as NHS) we don’t have dedicated category experts - with a national focus to develop and procure the best solutions, and markets are not being actively managed - no one is responsible for taking a long-term view of the solutions required nationally in critical spend areas.
  • We are not strategically managing key suppliers and we need to improve resilience to provide a policing-wide response to critical commercial issues.

Will BlueLight Commercial simply lead to bigger contracts by leveraging all demand?

  • It will be for the relevant category procurement strategy to determine the best approach for supporting the overall operational strategy. This will take account of both short and long-term objectives and therefore consideration will be given to the impact on the market of leveraging.
  • From work to date it is not the expectation that "bigger is better", but for a few categories (it may be sensible to aggregate demand if that gets the best outcomes.

What is BlueLight Commercial’s Shared Services offering?

  • The Shared Services support will enable more forces to deliver their shared services plans more successfully, and accelerate convergence towards the vision, by:
    • providing access to specialist insight and skills;
    • creating common standards and processes to drive a consistent approach;
    • supporting Forces to converge towards a small number of services and systems.
  • In parallel, it will work with forces to assess and develop a roadmap towards a more radical transformation of shared services.

How do you ensure we don't just end up duplicating work already being done at the local level?

The model ensures that those activities that directly support the local agenda will be undertaken by dedicated regional and local teams close to the end user. The activities will include all relevant local procurement activity, contract management and demand management. Only those commercial activities where there is a case for addressing them nationally will be tackled on a national basis. The aim is to preserve the best of the local delivery and provide central coordination and expertise - through dedicated category management resource - where necessary.

Will forces still be able to contract manage their own force contracts?

Yes, forces will be able to manage their own contracts and lead on aspects such as understanding business needs and demand management. BlueLight Commercial will support the management of strategic suppliers to help avoid/tackle problems and drive improvement as part of helping to utilise overall policing buyer power. The approach is for local commercial teams to be able to use BlueLight Commercial outputs and support to help meet the needs of their force.

What are the plans for bringing on other non-police partners?

We are working closely with colleagues and partners, particularly in Fire, who are also interested in being involved in BlueLight Commercial. The intention is to explore whether there might be a joint approach for at least some categories, with the opportunity to converge more fully over time. BlueLight Commercial is designed to be scale-able so that other partners can easily join.

Will there be any costs to forces in the future?

BlueLight Commercial is funded by the Home Office for the first three years. At the end of the second year there will be a strategic review to determine what has been delivered and how successful it has been. As a part of that review we will be looking at future funding options for BlueLight Commercial.

In relation to IT collaborative procurements, who would do the procurement, BlueLight Commercial or PICTCO (or local forces)?

On IT collaborative procurements, the Police ICT Company will undertake that activity.

How do you get Forces to properly sign up to this?

We have all 43 PCCs signed up as members of the company and Chiefs are on board, with the initiative being fully supported by NPCC. The Regional Commercial Directors will work with key stakeholders at force and regional levels to ensure that BlueLight Commercial meets their needs and the BlueLight Commercial team will be largely based locally and regionally with forces to ensure that the organisation doesn't become divorced from the needs of forces. Longer term support will be dependent on BlueLight Commercial delivering benefits for forces. This includes demonstrating how as one entity, BlueLight Commercial will provide one voice to the market, policing will be able to get better deals and improve its management of national suppliers and also how policing will be better able to mitigate the effects of potential supplier failures and provide support in areas such as commercial Brexit planning, Covid19 and dispute resolution.

How will BlueLight Commercial impact on procurement staff in all the individual Forces?

It is envisaged that most of the procurement and commercial staff in policing will be unaffected. That said, it is expected that forces will want to take advantage of the central capabilities that are being provided and as such will be able to reconfigure their local teams over time to undertake other critical activities across the whole commercial lifecycle, which are currently under-resourced, such as contract management, and focus their resources on local priorities. Once BlueLight Commercial is embedded, over time that could potentially involve reducing the size of their procurement teams or redeploying resources, yet that would be a local decision.

How do we avoid the loss of small companies if we collaborate widely?

In developing category strategies there will be a wide range of factors to consider to identify the best approach including security of supply, performance and contracting. The supply chain, including local delivery, will be a key element of any strategy, as will supporting social value objectives.

How are you able to support the social value aspect for local forces when you are National?

BlueLight Commercial will link to and share best practice from across the public sector, supporting local forces to help ensure that commissioning and Social Value objectives are met. Services will include: standards (terms and conditions, overall policy and procedures); contracting design principles; information on typical approaches, KPIs and case studies; etc.


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