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REFORMS ANNOUNCED TO CUT PAPERWORK BURDENS ON POLICE

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New plans to sweep away unnecessary form filling and red tape for ...
New plans to sweep away unnecessary form filling and red tape for

police, saving time and money for police forces in England and Wales,

were unveiled by the government today.

'Making a Difference: Reducing Police Paperwork', is the first report

by the cabinet office's public sector team, set up to investigate and

provide ways of reducing the burden of bureaucracy in the public

sector.

The report examines the impact of paperwork on front-line police

officers, identifying forms that are a burden to the police. It sets

out practical solutions that will lead to a significant reduction in

the amount of time police have to spend on paperwork by simplifying

or removing forms from the system.

Cabinet office minister Mo Mowlam said:

'Front-line staff working in the public sector should be able to

carry out their jobs in the most efficient and effective way

possible. One common complaint is that they are prevented from doing

so by the amount of bureaucracy and red tape they have to deal with.

'The public sector team has been created to come up with solutions

that will make a difference to front-line service deliverers such as

the police, extending the good work being carried out by the

regulatory impact unit in the private sector.

'The work of the public sector team will contribute to reducing red

tape so that public sector workers can spend more time on what they

are good at: serving the public and delivering quality services, not

filling out forms.'

Key recommendations made in the report include:

- removing the need for police officers to fill out Prisoner Escort

Records (which must be completed every time a prisoner enters police

custody) - in 80% of cases. The team established that only 20% of

prisoners are moved from one location to another. This will mean

that from 31 August 2000, one million fewer forms will need to be

filled in, bringing estimated savings in police time of 166,000 hours

which is equivalent to 90 police officers' standard working hours a

year. Employing that many additional officers would cost around£4.9m;

- simplifying procedures used in the preparation and processing of

case files. Six forms will be removed altogether from the Manual of

Guidance;

- reviewing Joint Performance Management Forms - TQ1 (used by the

Crown Prosecution Service and the police to monitor file quality and

timeliness), to see if there are possibilities for reducing the

administrative burdens the forms generate.

Charles Clarke, home office minister said:

'Police face particular burdens with form filling and red tape -

ensuring they follow correct procedure at all times. I welcome the

work that the public sector team has done with the police and home

office officials to look at the problem in this area, and the report

will help to reduce that burden.

'We are committed to improving the efficiency of police forces across

the country, helping police officers to spend more time on the

front-line, fighting crime rather than filling in forms. We have

worked closely with the public sector team in developing the action

to be taken to relieve the burden on the police. We will be

considering all the recommendations in the report seriously and

implementing them where ever possible.'

The report was produced following a six week study of police

paperwork and is the first stage of the public sector team's work in

this area. The team talked to front-line officers about the forms

they use as part of their day to day work. The team also conducted a

telephone survey of all 43 police forces in England and Wales and

consulted with key stakeholders including the Association of Chief

Police Officers, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office.

Forthcoming reports by the team will look at how to reduce the burden

of paperwork on GPs, schools and local government.

NOTES

1. Copies of the 'Making a Difference: Reducing Police

Paperwork' report are available from the public

sector team by calling 020 7238 2362.

2. The public sector team was established in November 1999, in

response to the government's concern about the increased burden of

red tape on the public sector. The team is based within the

regulatory impact unit in the cabinet office. The team's remit is to:

- identify the major bureaucratic and regulatory burdens on the

public sector

- distinguish those burdens imposed by central government from those

imposed for other reasons eg as part of internal management systems

- recommend ways in which the regulatory burden might sensibly be

reduced

3. The terms of reference of the 'Making a Difference: Reducing

Police Paperwork' report were to:

- identify paperwork and forms that are considered a burden to the

police

- rigorously challenge why such forms are being used

- assess the implications of their removal or amendment

- identify a process to reduce the burden

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