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Budget Process 2005-06 (Stage 2): Joint Report on the Draft Budget
Correspondence from the Minister for Justice about the review of police grant-aided expenditure
THE REVIEW OF POLICE GRANT AIDED EXPENDITURE
I am writing to you and to Annabel Goldie to let you know that I am arranging to publish the report of the Police Grant Aided Expenditure (GAE) working group report today and also to let you know the action I have decided to take on its recommendations. Publication will follow answers I will make to Parliamentary Questions on this matter which had been tabled separately by Richard Baker, Marilyn Livingstone and Richard Lochhead.
The working group was set up in 1999, with representatives from the Executive, the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland and COSLA, in response to a recommendation in a joint report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland and the Accounts Commission to develop a robust needs-based formula to inform police GAE allocations. The group produced an interim report in late 2002 but, though it had reached broad conclusions by then, it concluded that further work was needed on a number of aspects. That additional work was completed earlier this year and the report was submitted to me in June.
In summary, the working group has now recommended a new allocation methodology for police GAE which aims to ensure that the way we distribute this funding is linked much more directly to the cost of policing each force. The current methodology is loosely linked to population but the way it has been applied over the years has tended more to sustain police numbers in each force area rather than to adjust funding levels to meet changing circumstances. The new model is much more explicit and transparent and takes into account a range of factors including the p opulation in each area, deprivation and the demands on forces.
As I have indicated, the working group submitted an interim report in late 2002. The recommendations it made then indicated that the allocations at that time merited adjustment and additional resources. As a result, additional amounts were added to the GAE allocations for Grampian Police, Fife Constabulary, Central Scotland Police and Northern Constabulary. For 2005‑06, these total £4.5m. The Group’s final report now makes clear that further adjustment is needed and recommends this continues to be achieved by “levelling up” the funding allocations for Forces rather than by redistributing existing funding between Forces.
I have accepted this recommendation which means that no force will have its allocation cut as a result of the move towards the new model. Including the extra amounts we made available following the group’s interim report, the total extra amounts we will therefore put into police GAE for this purpose over the next three years are £5.5m in 2005‑06 rising to £8.5m in 2006-07 and £15.5m in 2007‑08. We intend to find the balance needed to complete levelling up by 2009-10. Once the levelling up process is complete, subsequent allocations will then be made using the new formula.
I attach a copy of the working group’s final report, copies of which are also being placed in SPICE.