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Local Government Services: South West

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the terms of the agreement between Southwest One and Avon and Somerset police are; and if she will make a statement; (194157)

(2) what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the outsourcing of local services in the South West to a joint venture partnership; and if she will make a statement.

There has been no discussion between my right hon. Friends, the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the outsourcing of local services in the south west. The terms of any agreement between Avon and Somerset police authority and Southwest One are a matter for the authority.

It is important that police forces and authorities identify and implement ways to increase value for money. To assist them in this, we have recently agreed with the Association of Police Authorities and the Association of Chief Police Officers a new efficiency and productivity strategy for the police service. In pursuit of this strategy it is appropriate for forces and authorities to seek ways to improve the delivery of corporate service functions. This may include implementing internal improvements, exploring outsourcing, or collaborating with other forces and authorities, or with other organisations.