North Wales Police
Following the restructuring of the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service (NWFRS) in the late 1990s, all property issues and the tasking of maintenance assistants were centralised within the Estates Department.
This was done without any increase in resources and staff within the Estates Department found it difficult to meet the heavy workload. As a result, the service was having to pay for consultancy advice on a range of professional services (e.g. architects, building services engineers, building surveyors). A number of other property-related areas were also identified which could be improved and developed given appropriate resources, such as environmental and energy management.
NWFRS considered a number of options including:
The opportunity was identified for NWFRS to utilise the skills that were already established within the North Wales Police (NWP) Facilities Management Department.
A feasibility study was subsequently carried out to establish whether both the NWP and NWFRS estates could be wholly managed by one department which would be funded by both organisations. A number of questions were considered as part of the feasibility study including:
A service level agreement (SLA) was scoped in which a dedicated Facilities Management Department would manage both fire and police estates on a fully collaborative basis using primarily in-house skills for a combined estate of 140 premises across North Wales with a gross internal area of 76,000sq metres.
It was agreed that existing NWFRS staff would remain as employees of the Fire Authority and existing NWP staff would remain as employees of North Wales Police. Any new staff joining the department following the merger would become employees of North Wales Police for a duration concurrent with the length of the SLA.
Service Level Agreement (SLA)
The SLA commenced on 1 June 2006 for a period of five years and provides the following estates management services to NWFRS:
The benefits of this arrangement for NWFRS are:
The benefits of this arrangement for NWP are:
The benefits of this arrangement for both NWFRS and NWP are:
In addition to the managerial benefits arising from the merger there are now more opportunities for collaboration on capital projects as both NWFRS and NWP capital programmes are managed by the Facilities Management Department. Opportunities for sharing accommodation in existing premises are also easier to assess.
The forming of one department to manage the estates of North Wales Police and North Wales Fire and Rescue Service meets the criteria of 'Making the Connections: Delivering Better Services for Wales'.
The merger has resulted in benefits for both organisations, including more awareness and potential to identify opportunities for joint capital projects and sharing of premises.
Although the financial efficiencies are not significant, the operational benefits have been of tremendous value since the SLA commenced.