In March this year the Emergency Services Collaboration Working Group from techUK met for the first time, to discuss the potential technologies necessary for blue light services across the UK to deliver against a key piece of recent legislation.

The group, which comprises of various techUK members, formed to position technology as an “enabler to the government’s agenda to drive through multi-agency collaboration”, with a particular focus on emergency services. The government is set to place a statutory duty on police, fire and ambulance services to collaborate closer together via the impending Policing and Crime Bill, in order to drive efficiency and deliver savings across the sector. The current government was elected with a commitment to “finish the job of police reform” and this Bill aims to achieve this by facilitating closer collaboration between all three emergency services and utilising the full resource within each police workforce.

It is clear that in order to deliver such a massive reform, technology will play a crucial role in allowing each service to meet this obligation. The Emergency Services Collaboration Working Group is just one initiative set up to help police forces and their partner agencies across the nation achieve consensus as quickly as possible, but there is still a huge challenge ahead as organisations struggle to deal with such large-scale change, with many still relying on legacy systems and paper-based methods of data sharing. These methods can lead to at best inefficient ways of working and at worst serious breaches of confidential information and devastating impacts upon public lives.

The Policing and Crime Bill will be a mandate directly from the Home Office and as such should be at the top of the agenda for all bluelight services across the country. Issues such as information governance, rate of adoption, UK data residency and change management must all be considered as part of this process; having worked with the UK Government, local government and blue light services for the past 10 years, we at Huddle are experts at supporting and delivering the above, working in close partnership with any organisations who require such services.

For any blue light policy officers or IT managers reading, don’t wait to act. The drive for efficiency has been a central facet for the public sector for a number of years now and emergency services organisations can make easy gains by switching to a secure, digital system for the impending Bill. However, the focus we have seen within the public sector remains upon multi-agency working, so adopting strategic technologies now will allow you to future proof against all changes that this government and future governments will implement.

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