Post-Suppliers’ Summit blog: CEO Martin Wyke on translating rhetoric into action

01/02/2016

It was great to get so many people attending our first Supplier Summit last week. Every territorial police force but two were represented, with a mixture of PCCs, chief constables and CIOs (and sometimes all three!). A wide range of suppliers attended, from global giants to SMEs. And we heard thought-provoking, challenging speeches from the Home Secretary, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary and others. The theme that we heard again and again was that the police service has to change the way it acquires and uses ICT, for the sake of the public, its officers and staff and the taxpayer who ultimately pays for it all.

The feedback I got from many of those attending was that they were a lot clearer about how the Police ICT Company is planning to help the service. We will be pushing ahead with our plans to rationalise the management of product licences and contracts across the service, making savings where we can leverage scale. We will continue to take on some national contracts and improve their management, both commercially and operationally. And we will continue to work with individual forces and clusters, reviewing their use of ICT and helping them develop alliances and partnerships where there is a clear business case.

More important, in the long term, we will begin work on what I hope will be the transformation of police ICT. We will start work on a strategy for ICT which sets out a vision for where we need to be and a clear roadmap for getting there. We will continue to define standards which will deliver interoperability across the service – a basic capability which, as the Home Secretary made clear at the Summit, is still sorely missing from too many systems across the police.

However, as I and many others at the Summit made clear, the change the service needs will not be delivered by ICT. It is a change of mindset, of leadership behaviour, in which those at the top of 40+ separate organisations recognise that what unites them is more important than what divides them, and that they all stand to gain more from working together than from ploughing their own furrow alone or with a couple of partners.

I was pleased to hear many force leaders echoing this view at the Summit. The challenge now is to translate that rhetoric into concrete, determined action, across the rest of this year and into the future, and ensure the Summit was not a one-day wonder, but the start of a new chapter for police ICT.