Yet Toye sees this as only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is possible. “We have lots of offices and a hierarchical structure, which means many of our senior officers and managers are assigned spaces that they are not occupying a lot of the time,” she explains. “So our space utilisation is poor and we know that we are not getting the best value from our estate.”
To solve this issue, the organisation will be adopting agile and activity-based working environments that feature a range of different workspaces and encourage employees to move around depending on their individual needs at any given moment.
Toye says that through reducing the footprint as well as the running costs of the estate, the programme will generate ongoing savings that will help meet future budget challenges and enhance its ability to invest in staff.
Since 2010, public sector cuts have led to 19,000 fewer police officers nationally. The Police Federation of England and Wales has described the austerity measures imposed on the police as unacceptable, with staff now “stretched to dangerous degrees.” In Surrey, the established policing numbers have not dropped during this period but rather reductions in the workforce have been in police staff as the force has sought new ways to deliver the service.
Toye says that Surrey Police changed its policing model last year to try and use its front line resources more effectively in response to demand. Other changes have seen the restructure of back office functions as well as collaboration with neighbouring forces to drive efficiencies and create economies of scale.
“Our vision is to make Surrey the safest county it can be,” Toye explains. “We do that by pursuing offenders, protecting vulnerable people and preventing crime and disorder.” The implementation of agile working is about embedding a culture that empowers staff to be the very best they can be in support of this vision.
All critical public services must, however, maintain a delicate balance between keeping the public safe and keeping the taxpayer happy. Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Munro, has said that “making every pound count” is one of the 6 key priorities in his Police and Crime Plan.