"We provide services to external customers and need to be seen as, and be, a quality and efficient provider to paying customers - the ITDA and the helps us achieve this "
BBC's Declan Curry and NCC's Steve Markwell present Ann Holmes and Emma Carruthers of Lancashire Constabulary with their Accreditation Certificate
Accredited IT Department
Lancashire Constabulary have a reputation for excellence. Along with Surrey they are one of the top performing Forces in England and Wales. They are the 8th largest force in the country serving over 1.5 million citizens and employing approx 8,000 staff of which 4,500 are Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers.
The ICT Department which is 85 strong has achieved an Excellent grading in the last two HMIC assessments (one of three Forces in one, and one of two in the other). Headed up by Stuart Fillingham, the ICT department has a strong culture of excellence in supporting police officers via in-house developments. A team of 24 is dedicated to product development, and the Department generates over £1m in external revenue by selling products and services to other Forces such as Cumbria and Durham and even to suppliers such as Motorola. What’s more the Department received the European Public Sector Award for Innovation in 2008, and the Guardian Award for Innovation in 2007.
The big challenges for IT revolve around customer service, reducing cost, and delivering more for less whilst benchmarking their performance against best practice. Quality totally underpins the Department’s processes, especially as they provide products and services to external customers, they need to be seen as (and be) a quality and efficient provider to paying customers who expect the same or better standard of service as private sector suppliers. Alongside product development, the rest of the team are kept busy on service desk, network management, telephony and infrastructure support.
Stuart outlined his ambition for ICT, “We aim to be consistently the best ICT Department in the UK Police Force. We were attracted to the NCC’s IT Department Accreditation Scheme because we felt it would help us achieve our ambitions. Although we are accredited to ISO9001, we needed a broader arena for assessment and we need to keep our ambitions alive and under review and the ITDA helps us achieve both of these aims”.
He continued, “With the demise of the HMIC ICT assessment process, we lacked a reference to an independent and qualified source of assessment against best in class, especially in other business areas, and broader than the just the police environment – the ITDA now gives us the capability to do this, with an independent and objective persepctive.” Stuart was also attracted by the ITDA’s business improvement programme which provides a structured framework for continuous business improvement, “The ITDA’s Action Plan will help us focus on service improvement and the annual review will keep us on track. The process has also been very useful in helping us prepare for other accreditations and the Operational Support Reviews – we see ITDA as complimentary”.
Staff reaction has been really positive too – they found the ITDA process challenging but also rewarding. “The Assessor’s approach was just right, providing input and stimulation as well as assessment. We learned some things about ourselves too, and that’s extremely helpful in our drive for excellence” enthused Stuart.