Why deeper insights, not more cash, will transform Home Office outcomes

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Unlike some other UK Government departments, the Home Office has done well out of the recent spending review. Overall police spending has been protected – following the debacle of the earlier calculation errors – to protect against emerging crime threats and to train more firearms officers. Counter-terrorism has received a mighty £500 million increase in funding to further protect the UK’s citizens and economy from terrorism, and over £1.3 billion will be invested up to 2019-2020 to create state-of-the-art security at the border.

But it’s not all good news

The Home Office will need to make resource savings of five per cent by 2020 through a self-funded borders and immigration system, and reduce administrative costs by a total of 30 per cent against this year’s costs.

And while departments that can deliver robust plans to drive even more efficiency and reform could be allocated more money to support that goal, it’s not clear exactly how these departments, notably the police, will deliver.

New funding initiatives certainly make for refreshing and optimistic headlines. But if the government is actually to achieve its budget surplus goals, simply stumping up more cash won’t deliver the levels of efficiency the overall financial strategy for public services demands.

‘Doing more for less’ can only be successfully achieved when organisations are capable of spending wisely as circumstances change. In the present climate where the European migration crisis, spiraling cybercrime and the omnipresent threat of terrorism are keeping Home Office staff up at night, doing more for less can’t mean working in the same way. That would just mean working longer hours and with fewer trained, full-time staff.

There is another way…

Spending wisely takes insight, judgment and a keen eye for the outcomes or results that can be generated from that spend. To add to the challenge of how to get the most from this new budget, the Home Office runs possibly the most diverse set of operations of any central government body. So where, precisely, should budget be allocated?

In fact, the answer is simpler and more powerful than you might think. And it lies in the kind of sophisticated, real-time analytics that can do everything from finding holes in spending models to predicting where resources will need to be spent as the economic, social, and political landscapes evolve. It can also quickly create very adaptable ‘what if’ scenario tests to help decision-makers carry out thorough analyses of their spending options. This enables them to predict the relative value of outcomes each option would deliver, and keep doing so repeatedly as circumstances alter.

So that’s a great way to de-risk decision-making (using evidence-based reporting) and to drive more value from any level of budget, in one go. Analytics is certainly the smartest, fastest and most cost-effective way to deliver one of Teresa’s May’s most important objectives. As she noted during her time as Home Secretary: “For those we seek to disrupt, the Home Office will be harder to evade. Criminals, extremists and illegal immigrants will find law enforcement using all of its tools, data and technology to disrupt, investigate and prosecute their activities.”

Find out more about how to de-risk decision-making.

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Peter Snelling

Principal Systems Engineer

Peter Snelling is Principal Technical Account Manager at SAS Public Security. Based in the UK, Peter's responsibilities include raising the awareness of SAS software within the policing and intelligence community.

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