Best in Class Finance Functions For Police Forces

Background

Police funding has risen by £4.8 billion and 77 per cent (39 per cent in real terms) since 1997. However the days where forces have enjoyed such levels of funding are over.

Chief Constables and senior management recognize that the annual cycle of looking for efficiencies year-on-year is not sustainable, and will not address the cash shortfall in years to come.
Facing slower funding growth and real cash deficits in their budgets, the Police Service must adopt innovative strategies which generate the productivity and efficiency gains needed to deliver high quality policing to the public.

The step-change in performance required to meet this challenge will only be achieved if the police service fully embraces effective resource management and makes efficient and productive use of its technology, partnerships and people.

The finance function has an essential role to play in addressing these challenges and supporting Forces’ objectives economically and efficiently.

Challenge

Police Forces tend to nurture a divisional and departmental culture rather than a corporate one, with individual procurement activities that do not exploit economies of scale. This is in part the result of over a decade of devolving functions from the center to the.divisions.

In order to reduce costs, improve efficiency and mitigate against the threat of “top down” mandatory, centrally-driven initiatives, Police Forces need to set up a corporate back office and induce behavioral change. This change must involve compliance with a corporate culture rather than a series of silos running through the organization.

Developing a Best in Class Finance Function

Traditionally finance functions within Police Forces have focused on transactional processing with only limited support for management information and business decision support. With a renewed focus on efficiencies, there is now a pressing need for finance departments to transform in order to add greater value to the force but with minimal costs.

1) Aligning to Force Strategy

As Police Forces need finance to function, it is imperative that finance and operations are closely aligned. This collaboration can be very powerful and help deliver significant improvements to a Force, but in order to achieve this model, there are many barriers to overcome. Finance Directors must look at whether their Force is ready for this collaboration, but more importantly, they must consider whether the Force itself can survive without it.

Finance requires a clear vision that centers around its role as a balanced business partner. However to achieve this vision a huge effort is required from the bottom up to understand the significant complexity in underlying systems and processes and to devise a way forward that can work for that particular organization.

The success of any change management program is dependent on its execution. Change is difficult and costly to execute correctly, and often, Police Forces lack the relevant experience to achieve such change. Although finance directors are required to hold appropriate professional qualifications (as opposed to being former police officers as was the case a few years ago) many have progressed within the Public Sector with limited opportunities for learning from and interaction with best in class methodologies. In addition cultural issues around self-preservation can present barriers to change.

Whilst it is relatively easy to get the message of finance transformation across, securing commitment to embark on bold change can be tough. Business cases often lack the quality required to drive through change and even where they are of exceptional quality senior police officers often lack the commercial awareness to trust them.

2) Supporting Force Decisions

Many Finance Directors are keen to develop their finance functions. The challenge they face is convincing the rest of the Force that the finance function can add value – by devoting more time and effort to financial analysis and providing senior management with the tools to understand the financial implications of major strategic decisions.

Maintaining Financial Controls and Managing Risk

Sarbanes Oxley, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), Basel II and Individual Capital Assessments (ICA) have all put financial controls and reporting under the spotlight in the private sector. This in turn is increasing the spotlight on financial controls in the public sector.

A ‘Best in Class’ Police Force finance function will not just have the minimum controls to meet the regulatory requirements but will evaluate how the legislation and regulations that the finance function are required to comply with, can be leveraged to provide value to the organization. Providing strategic information that will enable the force to meet its objectives is a key task for a leading finance function.

3) Value to the Force

The drive for development over the last decade or so, has moved decision making to the Divisions and has led to an increase in costs in the finance function. Through utilizing a number of initiatives in a program of transformation, a Force can leverage up to 40% of savings on the cost of finance together with improving the responsiveness of finance teams and the quality of financial information. These initiatives include:

Centralization

By centralizing the finance function, a Police Force can create centers of excellence where industry best practice can be developed and shared. This will not only re-empower the department, creating greater independence and objectivity in assessing projects and performance, but also lead to more consistent management information and a higher degree of control. A Police Force can also develop a business partner group to act as strategic liaisons to departments and divisions. The business partners would, for example, advise on how the departmental and divisional commanders can meet the budget in future months instead of merely advising that the budget has been missed for the previous month.

With the mundane number crunching being performed in a shared service center, finance professionals will find they now have time to act as business partners to divisions and departments and focus on the strategic issues.

The cultural impact on the departments and divisional commanders should not be underestimated. Commanders will be concerned that:

o Their budgets will be centralized
o Workloads would increase
o There will be limited access to finance individuals
o There will not be on site support

However, if the centralized shared service center is designed appropriately none of the above should apply. In fact from centralization under a best practice model, leaders should accrue the following benefits:

o Strategic advice provided by business partners
o Increased flexibility
o Improved management information
o Faster transactions
o Reduced number of unresolved queries
o Greater clarity on service and cost of provision
o Forum for finance to be strategically aligned to the needs of the Force

A Force that moves from a de-centralized to a centralized system should try and ensure that the finance function does not lose touch with the Chief Constable and Divisional Commanders. Forces need to have a robust business case for finance transformation combined with a governance structure that spans operational, tactical and strategic requirements. There is a risk that potential benefits of implementing such a change may not be realized if the program is not carefully managed. Investment is needed to create a successful centralized finance function. Typically the future potential benefits of greater visibility and control, consistent processes, standardized management information, economies of scale, long-term cost savings and an empowered group of proud finance professionals, should outweigh those initial costs.

To reduce the commercial, operational and capability risks, the finance functions can be completely outsourced or partially outsourced to third parties. This will provide guaranteed cost benefits and may provide the opportunity to leverage relationships with vendors that provide best practice processes.

Process Efficiencies

Typically for Police Forces the focus on development has developed a silo based culture with disparate processes. As a result significant opportunities exist for standardization and simplification of processes which provide scalability, reduce manual effort and deliver business benefit. From simply rationalizing processes, a force can typically accrue a 40% reduction in the number of processes. An example of this is the use of electronic bank statements instead of using the manual bank statement for bank reconciliation and accounts receivable processes. This would save considerable effort that is involved in analyzing the data, moving the data onto different spreadsheet and inputting the data into the financial systems.

Organizations that possess a silo operating model tend to have significant inefficiencies and duplication in their processes, for example in HR and Payroll. This is largely due to the teams involved meeting their own goals but not aligning to the corporate objectives of an organization. Police Forces have a number of independent teams that are reliant on one another for data with finance in departments, divisions and headquarters sending and receiving information from each other as well as from the rest of the Force. The silo model leads to ineffective data being received by the teams that then have to carry out additional work to obtain the information required.

Whilst the argument for development has been well made in the context of moving decision making closer to operational service delivery, the added cost in terms of resources, duplication and misaligned processes has rarely featured in the debate. In the current financial climate these costs need to be recognized.

Culture

Within transactional processes, a leading finance function will set up targets for staff members on a daily basis. This target setting is an element of the metric based culture that leading finance functions develop. If the appropriate metrics of productivity and quality are applied and when these targets are challenging but not impossible, this is proven to result in improvements to productivity and quality.

A ‘Best in Class’ finance function in Police Forces will have a service focused culture, with the primary objectives of providing a high level of satisfaction for its customers (departments, divisions, employees & suppliers). A ‘Best in Class’ finance function will measure customer satisfaction on a timely basis through a metric based approach. This will be combined with a team wide focus on process improvement, with process owners, that will not necessarily be the team leads, owning force-wide improvement to each of the finance processes.

Organizational Improvements

Organizational structures within Police Forces are typically made up of supervisors leading teams of one to four team members. Through centralizing and consolidating the finance function, an opportunity exists to increase the span of control to best practice levels of 6 to 8 team members to one team lead / supervisor. By adjusting the organizational structure and increasing the span of control, Police Forces can accrue significant cashable benefit from a reduction in the number of team leads and team leads can accrue better management experience from managing larger teams.

Technology Enabled Improvements

There are a significant number of technology improvements that a Police Force could implement to help develop a ‘Best in Class’ finance function.

These include:

A) Scanning and workflow

Through adopting a scanning and workflow solution to replace manual processes, improved visibility, transparency and efficiencies can be reaped.

B) Call logging, tracking and workflow tool

Police Forces generally have a number of individuals responding to internal and supplier queries. These queries are neither logged nor tracked. The consequence of this is dual:

o Queries consume considerable effort within a particular finance team. There is a high risk of duplicated effort from the lack of logging of queries. For example, a query could be responded to for 30 minutes by person A in the finance team. Due to this query not being logged, if the individual that raised the query called up again and spoke to a different person then just for one additional question, this could take up to 20 minutes to ensure that the background was appropriately explained.

o Queries can have numerous interfaces with the business. An unresolved query can be responded against by up to four separate teams with considerable delay in providing a clear answer for the supplier.

The implementation of a call logging, tracking and workflow tool to document, measure and close internal and supplier queries combined with the set up of a central queries team, would significantly reduce the effort involved in responding to queries within the finance departments and divisions, as well as within the actual divisions and departments, and procurement.

C) Database solution

Throughout finance departments there are a significant number of spreadsheets utilized prior to input into the financial system. There is a tendency to transfer information manually from one spreadsheet to another to meet the needs of different teams.

Replacing the spreadsheets with a database solution would rationalize the number of inputs and lead to effort savings for the front line Police Officers as well as Police Staff.

D) Customize reports

In obtaining management information from the financial systems, police staff run a series of reports, import these into excel, use lookups to match the data and implement pivots to illustrate the data as required. There is significant manual effort that is involved in carrying out this work. Through customizing reports the outputs from the financial system can be set up to provide the data in the formats required through the click of a button. This would have the benefit of reduced effort and improved motivation for team members that previously carried out these mundane tasks.

In designing, procuring and implementing new technology enabling tools, a Police Force will face a number of challenges including investment approval; IT capacity; capability; and procurement.

These challenges can be mitigated through partnering with a third party service company with whom the investment can be shared, the skills can be provided and the procurement cycle can be minimized.

Conclusion

It is clear that cultural, process and technology change is required if police forces are to deliver both sustainable efficiencies and high quality services. In an environment where for the first time forces face real cash deficits and face having to reduce police officer and support staff numbers whilst maintaining current performance levels the current finance delivery models requires new thinking.

While there a number of barriers to be overcome in achieving a best in class finance function, it won’t be long before such a decision becomes mandatory. Those who are ahead of the curve will inevitably find themselves in a stronger position.

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THE BEST AUSTRALIAN DATING APPS IN 2019

1. eHarmony

When you join to eHarmony you will definitely have the capacity to create a free of charge account. You are going to even have the capacity to examine your matches. However, to get the complete experience you will certainly require to subscribe with a month-to-month registration expense. With an assorted variety of ages, this dating app has a mix of about 47% ladies as well as 53% males. eHarmony possesses a really good credibility and reputation in Australia as well as the advantage of purchasing it is you remove those that are just after a fling. This child is actually for significant competitors who are actually seeking a relationship. The time you embed filling out your account needs to result in even more precise suits. Looking for “& ldquo; the one & rdquo;? You may just find your aspiration day listed here.

2. Tinder

You wipe left behind, you swipe right. If there’& rsquo; s a fit you can easily talk as well as go from there. That pretty much summarize the Tinder take in. Worldwide Tinder has more than 26 thousand matches per day and the participant database is a comprehensive one, along with an approximated 3-5 thousand people using the dating app listed below in Australia. This application is popular for the younger group as well as has actually been known as a “& ldquo; link & rdquo; web site. That doesn & rsquo; t indicate you can & rsquo; t discover excellence here, as well as the end result will depend upon what you are actually looking for. Tinder starts free of cost however there is the possibility to improve to a regular monthly membership. Deciding on prospective passion suits through appeals may be actually surface to some. But, when you take the time to learn more about an individual online you will have the capacity to figure out various other areas of being compatible.

3. RSVP

In Australia, 53% of folks know at least one couple that found affection online. 35% of us have actually made use of at the very least one online dating app. When it comes to dating apps, RSVP is actually a known destination where love may bloom. In regards to that is looking for a partnership, this is actually most appropriate for the 25-35 years of age demographic. It begins cost-free, however you will must put in some cash money to obtain considerably additionally. The unit of currency made use of is in the form of “& ldquo; stamps & rdquo; which can be used to approach your rate of interests. There ensure to be a lot of matches as this is actually fairly a prominent option with over 2 million participants. The internet site flaunts 30,000 new members every month therefore there is actually constantly a person brand-new to talk to.

The Most Effective AUSTRALIAN DATING APPS IN 2019 (CONT.)

4. Lots of Fish

Loads of Fish, more passionately referred to as POF was among the very first free of charge online dating apps. It started functioning back in 2003 as well as you can message your fits without any financial investment. POF possesses a reputation for being actually somewhere in between Tinder as well as eHarmony. The ease of the app is actually interesting those who are actually occupied as well as wear’& rsquo; t would like to invest opportunity right into comprehensive profiling. However, there is some room to get to know folks by means of photographes, profile pages and messaging abilities. There end one billion messages per month being actually traded in this particular app. If you are actually prepared to strain the “& ldquo; hi there babe, your hot” & rdquo; messages (spelling inaccuracy planned) this definitely has possible. At no to little bit of cost.

5. Zoosk

Zoosk has been actually competing a few years currently. However, it is actually still some of the newer additions to the on-line dating application scene. That being actually stated, it does claim to possess 40,000,000 members worldwide with a stretch over 80 nations. This meets a mature group and through fully grown I put on’& rsquo; t automatically imply mature aged. I mean those who are searching for one thing extra serious. If you go cost-free, the registration will just get you thus far. Premium comes at a cost, and any kind of dating associated deals are finished with Zoosk coins. Even with the costs, it is actually lower than several of the others. And also, there is a clever matching formula at play. Must spend a couple of dollars performs cease those fake accounts and makes for a more beneficial experience.

6. Oasis

A few years ago, I satisfied my suit (right now husband) on Haven but like all dating apps, it could be a little bit trial and error. What you get from the system is in depth profiles and also just how you sell yourself appears to matter a little bit much more. This possesses a credibility and reputation for a somewhat older group, having said that determining by their homepage it does array substantially in between 18 as well as 60. It is free of cost, as well as you can establish filters for different ages, places as well as star indication. Considering that all of us know that star indicators issue. The app could be a bit confusing reviewed to its own competition yet the rate (which is absolutely no) creates it worth a shot. Depending upon where you lie your suits may be actually sparse. However, you are still much more very likely to comply with the one than if you were browsing your nearby food store church aisles.

7. Best Singles

At that point, there is actually Best Songs. This set is actually a little different as it has a quite niche group. This is for your qualified, educated Australian. 82% of members are actually university enlightened and there are 30,000 folks signing up with every month. On a daily basis count on to have a handful of matches, based upon essential requirements. Points like location, connection choices and also personality are actually all considered. They profess to have a protocol which is constantly boosted and also there are actually loads of systems to login on. For this to become prosperous you definitely perform need to have to turn over some money, however that is actually to become expected with words “& ldquo; Elite & rdquo;. There are 3 quality solutions to decide on based on how much time you want to sign up for. 3 months are going to specify you back $89.95 monthly. However, if you agree to devote for a year the cost is decreased to $49.95 a month. The most costly of dating apps, but possibly worth a go?

8. Bumble dating app

Bumble possesses a charming title as well as has similarities to Tinder. It in the beginning focuses on appearances along with a wipe right, swipe left behind feature. Once suits are made it is up to the woman to decide whether to trigger connect with within 24 hr. This is actually Tinder however with lady power. Because of the management it offers women, it possesses quite a large woman data source in Australia. Men like it as well given that it conserves them time in the courting method. Bumble might do not have the material of a number of the even more in depth possibilities but it does fit. This may be a lot better for those informal hook-ups and also possesses a quite youthful, fun-loving feel. Bumble fits those that are actually modern technology savvy, yet it carries out position quite poorly in regards to propriety.

OUR FINAL DATING APPS FOR YOU

9. Fit

Match.com has actually been around because 1995. As one of the originals, this is probably one of the most popular dating apps in Australia. It is actually free of cost to sign up with and explore profiles yet beyond that you will face a regular monthly registration expense. Match.com performs have a bit of a reputation for bogus accounts. Having said that, we carry out live in the period of on the web Catfishing so it pays for to be careful anywhere on-line. Notifying someone of your enthusiasm may be done with a twinkle or even an e-mail. This application will definitely be actually easy to navigate and there is actually absolutely potential for complying with an individual ideal. Merely note it does not have a few of the comprehensive profiling and also matching found on various other companies. My recommendation & hellip; enroll in free of charge and also possess a browse to find out the amount of singles there remain in your region before devoting.

10. OKCupid

OKCupid’& rsquo; s consumer foundation maintains developing since it introduced in 2004. With a large amount of energetic members, songs are sure to discover profiles that match characteristics of their best partners. The Dual Take component of OKCupid is actually a roulette-type matching system that is similar to Tinder. This is one of the various vital changes the internet site has actually undergone for many years. An additional is the button from mostly being actually a connection website to a web site that uses something for everyone. You may locate complements swiftly as well as quickly if you prefer a causal flirt, connection, meetup or only someone to speak with. Any person can easily deliver a message, so long as both users like one another. And also if you intend to stand out of the group, the paid out Increase add-on component allows your profile page to be highlighted. Overall, OKCupid a wonderful web site to locate like-minded single people for a sensible rate factor.

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