Over £130,000 spent on empty office space in Scottish police merger

Posted on by Offices.org.uk

Office space rented in July 2012 for the Scottish Police Authority remains empty over a year later, despite over £130,000 being spent on renting during that time.

The revelation is contained in a report by Audit Scotland in to the merger of Scotland’s police forces to create a new organisation called Police Scotland.

The offices at Bremner House at Stirling Castle Business Park were acquired to house the new Scottish Police Authority which took on a police oversight role from the Scottish Police Services Authority as part of the merger.

“The Scottish Government rented Bremner House in Stirling in July 2012 as the interim location for the SPA. No staff have been transferred to Bremner House despite it being available from November 2012. As at September 2013, it remains unoccupied,” a report by Audit Scotland notes. The annual rental charge for the offices is £132,000.

The merger of Scotland’s police is one of the biggest reforms to have taken place since devolution in 1999.

Auditor General for Scotland, Caroline Gardner, said:

“The creation of a single police service has been one of the biggest reforms in Scotland’s public sector. Much was achieved over a short timeframe and front-line operations were maintained throughout. However, a lack of good information in non-operational areas like finance and staffing, and differing views on how the new arrangements would work in practice affected planning for the move to a single police service.

“The Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland will find it challenging to deliver the savings expected by these reforms. There are a number of reasons for this, including limited flexibility with police officer and staff numbers. They need to urgently agree a long-term financial strategy and savings plans.”

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