Outsourcing Debate: Could G4S Really Save Police £1 Billion?
When G4S won a £200m contract to provide back-room staff to Lincolnshire Police in 2012, many were alarmed. Politicians, police and members of the public wondered: was this the beginning police privatisation? Supporters of outsourcing police roles responded by saying only back-room roles would be affected.
While the outsourcing debate continues, three years on and G4S claims to be saving Lincolnshire Police £6m a year.
John Shaw, from G4S, stated that if other police forces followed Lincolnshire Police’s lead, savings could amount to £1bn nationwide. In an era of continuing austerity, even saving half that amount would be impressive.
In response to Shaw’s figures, the Police Federation of England and Wales said any privatisation of police-related roles should “not compromise public safety”.
In addition, the federation’s chairman Steve White said savings should be invested back into policing.
G4S staff fill a number of roles for Lincolnshire Police, including in custody suites, control rooms – as well as in financial, HR and IT positions.
The role G4S played in the Olympics has not ingratiated them with the police; the firm was unable to provide security for the 2012 Games, prompting the army to be drafted in. Moreover, current police managers would in effect have to agree to someone else to taking their positions.
Should Public Services Outsource Some of their Roles?
Some are ill-at-ease with the idea of private companies being involved with public organisations. This concernis largely based on profit being sought before the provision of quality services. But the truth is that a wide variety of public services have been outsourcing their non-core roles for many years.
Monthind Clean, for example, has been providing window cleaning and general cleaning services to schools and hospitals for years. It also delivers a range of specialistcleaning services such as for IT and high tech environments, and in the areas of pest control, clinical waste disposal and deep cleaning.
Supporting Police with Cleaning and Biohazard Services
Police authorities also use Monthind Clean’s services –ranging from window cleaning to external building cleaning. But perhaps the most specialist service provided to police is Monthind Clean’s biohazard cleaning service – which is called upon to deal with both minor and major biohazard scenarios.
A minor task could be to hygienically clean a cell in which a person has defecated. At the more severe end of the spectrum, Monthind’s biohazard team could be called upon to deal with a traffic accident or a suicide. The firm’s experience, skill and sensitivity in these matters have made its biohazard team a valuable asset to the police and other emergency services.
Police, fire brigade and ambulance crews simply do not have the time or resources to carry out effective, hygienic biohazard clean-up operations.
Providing Expert Services while Reducing Costs
While the complex outsourcingdebate continues, Monthind Cleancontinues to demonstrate that outside firms can help to deliver better public services. This is primarily because Monthind possesses expertise, equipment and resources that are simply not available in manyorganisations.
The firm also delivers efficiency-based cost savings that in the current age of austerity, cannot be ignored.