Kable senior analyst Josh Hewer says pledge to devolve criminal justice functions to Greater Manchester could lead to an even more ambitious holistic ICT plan for the region
What started with Greater Manchester's politicians enviously looking at the devolved functions of London, has evolved into 'Devo Manc' and now responsibilities eclipsing those afforded to the capital.
The city-region is a pathfinder for the rest of local government, as is evidenced by mayoral roles being established in southern England. What's happening in Manchester provides a window into the Conservative-version of the future of the sector. Osbourne's latest Budget has granted Greater Manchester criminal justice functions.
As has been proposed by respected former chief constable Sir Peter Fahy, this will include prisons, probation and young offenders. However, despite the wishes of 'Devo Manc' proponents - the functions of the Crown Prosecution Service will not be devolved. The new and older policies supporting the city's devolution explicitly focus on closer working between councils, NHS and other public agencies.
Last year, the constabulary launched a project to transform its own case and custody management systems.
With criminal justice powers being granted to the region, this project will either form the kernel of city-wide technology or be scrapped for an even more ambitious, holistic ICT solution. With the former PCC Tony Lloyd serving as interim mayor and future candidate for the permanent role, the city's police force will be the region's key stakeholder.