Agenda item


This report sets out the financial performance of the Surrey Police Group (i.e., OPCC and Force combined) as at the 30th November 2023 with a forecast to the 31st March 2024.




Lisa Townsend, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC)

Kelvin Menon, Chief Finance Officer, and Treasurer (OPCC)


Key points raised during the discussion:


  1. A Member asked if there had been any change to the assessed risk of Surrey issuing a section 114. The Chief Finance Officer explained that the risk was low for Surrey Police. The Force would have to make significant savings, which would be achievable when compared with the overall budget, but it might result in operational impacts.


  1. A Member asked where the majority of the £1.9 million overspend in overtime, which offset the projected underspend in staff salaries (£1.7 million), was occurring and if the OPCC was expecting this trend to continue in 2024/25. The Chief Finance Officer explained that it was a challenge for the Force. Overtime had risen both for police staff and police officers. For officers it was in areas such as specialist crime, firearms officers, and custody officers, who had supported Operation Safeguard. For Staff, the largest element of overtime was in contact services, due to vacancies. The overtime in contact was expected to reduce because the team was now over establishment. Police officer overtime was expected to continue as those officers had specialist skills and there were shortages in investigative officers and detectives. The Deputy Chief Constable chairs an overtime working group looking at ways to reduce overtime, taking into account the cost and wellbeing of officers.


  1. A member asked if answers could be provided to written questions submitted in the context of the Panel’s Finance Sub-group. Regarding revenue generation, the member asked what accounted for the largest element of unexpected income. The Chief Finance Officer explained it was Operation Safeguard, which involved prisoners being put in custody facilities after sentencing before being moved to a prison because of prison overcrowding. Operation safeguard had now ended. A further £0.7 million was income for seconding officers to regional units and around £0.5 million was income was to do with interest rates being higher than anticipated and the sale of vehicles.


Action iv: The Chief Finance Officer to provide answers to questions provided from a member of panel and finance sub-group.


  1. The Member asked for confirmation that while the headline underspend was £1.1 million, the actual underspend was £3.2 million because reserves that were expected to be used were not. The Chief Finance Officer explained that the Force had managed to deliver some of the efficiencies, that were to be due in 2024/25, earlier. This meant the Force had not needed to use all the cost of change reserve as originally anticipated. This reduction in use of the reserves was a one-off benefit as the money would be put be used for further transformation and cost of change activities to drive savings for future years. The Member asked how much of the income received was budgeted for and if any provision was made for mutual aid. The Chief Finance Officer explained that there was provision £19m in the budget for grants and income.


  1. A member asked if the overachievement in the Force’s savings target for 2023/24 was the early results of the transformation and change programme.The Chief Finance Officer explained that some of the savings were to do with the change programme, such as the restructure of people services and changes to shift patterns. Some of the savings had come through the renegotiation of contracts, such as software licenses and Operation Polar Bear, which was to do with reducing energy in facilities. Therefore, there were several initiatives that drove the underspend, and those savings would be carried forward into 2024/25.


  1. A Member asked about the requirement for capital to fund productivity improvements and net zero in the future, and if it would be done through external borrowing. The Chief Finance Officer explained that the government did not provide any capital funding to Forces. There was a campaign by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) to address this. The Force would try to fund some capital costs out of revenue.  Where there was a clear business case for investing to save (e.g. through solar) the Force could potentially borrow to finance it. However, the amount of funding the Force would need to meet the net zero target, for example through introducing electric vehicles, would be substantial and so this would need to be addressed by government at a national level.




The committee noted the report.


Supporting documents: