The Met Police have an unusual problem

I suspect there are many parts of the public sector which wished they had this problem:

Underspending continues to be an issue in the management of the capital programme, although unused funds can often be carried forward through reserves to support projects at a future date.

Part of the issue is large projects slipping, with the Met’s response to this being:

Agreeing an ‘opening’ programme in excess of available funding in the year.

This happens on a noticeable scale:

The MPA Finance & Resources Committee agreed a revised Capital Programme budget on 15th July 2010 at £276.3m for 2010/11 following the first quarter review. This is the value that the MPS is targeting to achieve. This target represented a gross programme valued at £309.6m with a slippage factor, also known as over-programming, of -£33.2m resulted in a revised budget of budget of £276.3m.

Source: Draft borrowing and capital spending plan 2011/12 to 2017/18

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6 Comments

  • Nothing to see here, move along.

    (no comment of course on all the headlines concerning the Met at the moment)

  • g: I’ve always admired this site’s ability to look at issues that aren’t really headline fodder. At the moment though, it’s looking a lot like sticking one’s head in the sand.

  • @Mark Pack

    You obviously don’t understand how capital budgets work. This is normal in both the public and private sector.

    Neither have you noted the following:

    11. The returns from the provisioning departments included new projects, slippage from the current year and changes to the estimated values of individual projects. Consequently the demand far outstrips the finances available.

    Also note the massive reduction in the capital budget over the coming years, following the Comprehensive Spending Review.

    However, there does seem to be a problem. Did the Met really fail to anticipate an attack on Conservative party HQ a few weeks ago, when the march was planned to pass the building? And did they really fail to anticipate the problems with the Royal car? Hmmm.

  • Joe Taylor Condliffe 10th Dec '10 - 2:12pm

    Actually this is pretty common. Due to the nature of capital projects they tend run late rather than early – so even in years when funds are scarce you will often end up with an underspend. The Met’s suggested strategy of overbudgeting on the capital programme is a common way of dealing with this.

    The capital budget is also a different beast from the revenue budget, which is what will be significantly squeezed over the course of this Parliament. I wouldn’t be surprised if some organisations even see capital spending increase as part of invest-to-save programmes to bring annual revenue spending down.

  • As others have said, there’s a big difference between capital and revenue budgets, there are rules and regulations regarding what’s capital and what’s revenue, revenue is easier to budget because of the nature of items in a revenue budget.

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