This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Expenses & two offices: latest news regarding Mr Stansfeld

Following the meeting of the Thames Valley Police & Crime Panel, I sent the OPCC a series of questions under the Freedom of Information Act. They have replied speedily (indeed they always do). Here are my questions (in italics), and their answers (in bold):

1) Please can you confirm the precise contract on which you have appointed the Support Officer (PCC). Mr Stansfeld is saying that this person will be working 3 days per week but the job description on the TVP website ( states that it “is a full time role on annual hours basis (i.e. 37 x 52 = 1924 hours per year) including weekends (as necessary)”. Perhaps an easy way to clear this up (as I suspect some of the days the person is working may be quite long) is to confirm the number of hours on the contract. Is it 1924 as stated in the advert or 60% of this figure (1154) or indeed something else? 

The position was advertised as a full-time post.  The actual appointment was on a part-time basis, the precise terms of which are “Your contractual hours are 22.5 per week, which equates to 0.60 of a full-time equivalent” (i.e. equivalent to 1,170 hours per year). 

2) My attention was drawn this morning towards some guidance from the HMRC on chauffeur benefits in kind. (Here is the link, for your information: Please can you confirm that Mr Stansfeld has been appraised of this requirement by the Chief Executive (or other suitable officer)?

Mr Stansfeld has been appraised of the HMRC requirements by his Chief Executive and Chief Finance Officer (subject to the confirmation of their correct interpretation and application by the independent audit process to be undertaken as part of the related complaint investigation by the TV Police and Crime Panel Complaints Sub-Committee).

3) Yesterday, Mr Stansfeld stated that the reason that he needed the office in Hungerford police station was so that he could print off confidential material which he said he could not do at his home. (Although, please tell me if I misheard this.) Please can you confirm that the Mr Stansfeld leaves all such material in a secure cabinet in his office at Hungerford police station and never takes any confidential material outside the police station?

The statement issued by the Office of the PCC on his behalf (available on the PCC’s website) clarifies the operational reasons for the use of the office at Hungerford Police Station, i.e. to provide local access to secure Force systems, equipment (including a printer) and facilities and to reduce the amount of avoidable, non-productive, time he would otherwise spend travelling to Kidlington.  The PCC stated that he does not wish to access confidential work-related information from, or store such information within, his home (which is not an appropriate secure environment).  1 
The PCC attends meetings at which confidential material is considered at various locations (e.g. Kidlington, London, etc).  Accordingly, he must take confidential material between and outside both of his offices (i.e. Kidlington and Hungerford) to discharge his functions effectively.

4) Please can you also provide me with a copy of the OPCC’s policy on the handling of confidential material and other security matters.

The OPCC does not have a separate policy on the handling of confidential material and other security matters; it abides by the Thames Valley Police ‘Information Security Policy’ which, in turn, is compliant with the Government’s Security Policy Framework and ACPO’s Information Systems Community Security Policy. 

5) I also believe I heard that Mr Stansfeld said he is (will be?) engaged in work of a national nature for between 1 and 1.5 days per week. Did I hear that correctly? If so, please can you clarify the nature of these national responsibilities: what is he doing for whom about what etc? 

Mr Stansfeld stated that when not in Kidlington he may be visiting places and people elsewhere in the Thames Valley, or in London or someplace elsewhere on national issues. Mr Stansfeld is a member of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) Board of Directors, and is a representative of the APCC on the following national Boards:
National Police Air Service (NPAS)
Joint Counter Terrorism Board

6) What process will you be going through to appoint an independent auditor as agreed yesterday? How will the appointment be announced once you have selected someone to carry out this task? Will the announcement be concurrent with the appointment?

The Complaints Sub-Committee of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Panel has requested an independent audit.  Accordingly, the responsibility for determining the process to be followed rests with the Complaints Sub-Committee, after consultation with the PCC.

The OPCC has also replied to some of my earlier questions (sent on 4 May):

please... send me the business case for the investment of public money in the second office in Hungerford Police Station, the options appraisal (where you might have considered an office in the populated Reading for example) and projected cost to the taxpayer for this second office (including the estimated expenses incurred by the PCC without the second office and with it in place and the ongoing rent/equipment/utilities etc).

This information has been well documented in the last few days.

please... confirm that the PCC is not using any transport other than his own vehicle and trains to get to his appointments (if he is using other transportation, please detail with costs)


please... point me towards the web page which shows the transparent csv files listing the expenditure of the office of the PCC, including salaries, expenses, office, grants, purchases and any other costs

On the OPCC website under the Transparency heading. You will find a link to spending and the office of the OPCC

So some interesting answers there which deserve more commentary. But time has run out on me for now. But if you have any observations, do please post them below. Thanks.

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