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Keeping Scotland Safe and Strong: A Consultation on Reforming Police and Fire and Rescue Services in Scotland

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PART A - POLICE
4. FUNDING

Current Arrangements

4.1.Police funding stands at £1.4 billion in 2011-12, £235 million higher than in 2006-07: an increase of 16% in cash terms. Police forces are currently funded by the Scottish Government and local authorities. The requirement on local authorities to match central government funding to a formula was removed four years ago, though in practice most local authorities have continued to match central government funding in a ratio of 49 percent from local government to 51 percent from central government. Funding is also provided by the Scottish Government for national policing services provided by the SPSA and SCDEA and for other national resources, including police ICT, and national priorities, including counter terrorism.

4.2.Police funding is currently comprised of seven main elements:

Police Grant - Ministers set the level of police grant (and funding for police officer pensions) in the annual Police Grant Order.

Police Loan Charge funding - This additional grant is paid by the Scottish Government at the rate of 51 per cent of the loan charge costs for any loans taken out by police authorities and joint police boards prior to 1 April 2004. The Scottish Government pays 51 per cent of the actual costs incurred in each year.

Police Officer Pensions - Police officer pensions costs were removed from the Local Government Settlement from 2010-11 and are paid directly to the eight police authorities and joint boards. The Scottish Government pays actual police officer pension costs.

Local Authority contribution - The local authority share of police funding is included within the General Revenue Grant paid directly to the 32 local authorities. The local authorities within a joint police board (and the two unitary authorities, Fife and Dumfries and Galloway) decide whether to match Police Grant funding for the police authority/joint board on a 51%/49% ratio or to provide more or less than 49%.

Police Central Government ( PCG) Budget - This funds the SPSA, SCDEA, national police initiatives such as counter terrorism and Scottish contributions for UK wide ICT and telecoms systems such as Airwave Radio and the Police National Computer. It is administered directly by the Scottish Government.

Funding for 1000 additional police officers - This Scottish Government funding is paid directly from PCG to the eight police authorities and joint boards .

Capital funding - Capital funding is provided by local authorities from the general capital grant allocations within the overall local government settlement.

Scottish Government proposals

4.3.The Scottish Government proposes that all of the funding currently provided for policing through the variety of different routes set out above should be consolidated into a single funding stream which the Scottish Government will provide to the Scottish Police Authority. The following specific roles are proposed:

Scottish Parliament

4.4.The Scottish Parliament will:

  • agree funding for the Scottish Police Authority through the annual Budget Bill process;
  • receive and consider the audited accounts of the Scottish Police Authority; and
  • hold the Scottish Police Authority accountable for its own expenditure and the effective scrutiny of the Chief Constable's expenditure.

Scottish Ministers

  • Set the budget for the Scottish Police Authority through the annual Budget Bill process with Parliament.

Scottish Police Authority

  • allocate resources to the Chief Constable to support the delivery of the Scottish Policing Plan and Local Policing Plans;
  • scrutinise the use of funding by the Chief Constable by reviewing performance against plans; and
  • prepare annual accounts and submit them to Parliament.

Chief Constable

  • allocate resources for the delivery of the Scottish Policing Plan and Local Policing Plans;
  • be accountable to the Scottish Police Authority for the use of funding allocated by the Authority; and
  • be accountable for the proper management of public funds and for ensuring that these resources are used efficiently, effectively and economically and for securing Best Value.

Question 7: What are your views on the proposed new funding and financial accountability arrangements set out above?