Performance

Managing Resources

Financial Context

Financial planning sits at the heart of good public financial management and the ability to look strategically beyond the current budget period is a crucial process to support resilience and long-term financial sustainability.

The Medium-Term Financial Strategy is one of the key planning tools that helps identify available resources and options for delivery of my Police and Crime Plan and the National Strategic Policing Requirements.

One of my key responsibilities is setting the annual budget in consultation with the Chief Constable, and this in turn determines the annual precept, which is what residents pay via their council tax contributions to fund local policing activity.

The 2022/23 revenue budget was approved in February 2022, totalling £279.1m. I delegated £275.9m of this to the Chief Constable to enable him to discharge his operational responsibilities. This budget represented an increase of £17.4m on the previous year, funded by a combination of increased government grant, council tax and reserves. 

Financial Headlines 2022/23

During the course of the year, I receive regular updates on the performance against the annual budget to ensure that Surrey Police expenditure remains on target. At the end of 2022/23, we had a total underspend of £8.7m which represented 3% of the overall budget. This was mainly due to staffing costs being lower than the budget and additional income.

With an increasingly competitive recruitment market and rising salary expectations, it has been difficult for Surrey Police to recruit suitably qualified staff. This saw police staff vacancies rise to 11% at year end and the resulting salary underspend.

Income was also higher than anticipated due to Police officer participation in a number of national events and rising interest rates.

Outlook for 2023/24

Over the last few years there has been an expectation from Government that local taxpayers will contribute more to local policing. Surrey is in the unenviable position of having the lowest proportion of costs funded by government grant – at just 45% – and subsequently the highest from council tax.

Looking forward the financial challenges do not look to be getting any easier with savings of at least £15.7m required in the four years to 2026/27. This is in additional to the £83m of savings already delivered over the last ten years. The need to continually make savings to balance the budget has driven a relentless drive to deliver greater value for money and efficiencies.

Examples of initiatives being undertaken during the year ahead are as follows:

  • A continued roll out of equipment in the form of laptops and phones will enable remote working for officers and staff. This enables officers to do a lot of their reporting without the need to return to the office, reducing the need for office space and associated costs.
  • Telematics are being fitted to vehicles so that journeys can be tracked and the resulting data used to ensure most the efficient utilisation of the fleet.
  • ICT improvements are underway to upgrade legacy software, enabling more efficient working and improvements to the service provided to residents.
  • A project is in place to reduce energy use in buildings and officers are being encouraged to used bunkered rather than commercial fuel.
  • Work is continuing on development of the new Surrey Police headquarters, which should realise significant savings in operating costs and reduced emissions and improve efficiency.
  • People Services is being restructured to realise efficiencies in processes and staffing.
  • Centralising procurement is in place to ensure that all expenditure is adequately scrutinised and considered within the context of wider organisational priorities.
  • A stock control system has been introduced for uniforms so as to reduce waste and holding costs
  • Better support is being provided to new recruits to reduce the number of individuals who leave during training and shortly after deployment.
  • We are working with other forces through Blue Light commercial to leverage better prices in areas such as temporary staff, vehicles and ICT.

See more information about Surrey Police finances.

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