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Commercial Services chief lifts lid on new role
written by CC Dave Thompson on the 24th January 2017 at 10:46

On occasion the Chief Constable hands over the reins of his blog to others in the force who share important updates and the latest developments in key areas of policing.

This edition sees Neil Chamberlain take over the page to talk about his new role as director of Commercial Services, which includes IT&D, Information Management and other departments.

His commitment to the public sector, the force’s financial state, and the future of the departments which enable frontline officers to be the best, are all discussed.

Email Neil with your suggestions or use the comments section at the bottom of the page to have your say.

Who am I?

Neil Chamberlain, director of Commercial Services

Neil Chamberlain, director of Commercial Services

Having been with the force for two and a half years as head of Finance and Shared Services, I was very proud to be asked to temporarily take up the role of director of Commercial Services recently.

I am a qualified accountant by profession, but don’t hold that against me! I have worked in large public sector organisations (including five years at Warwickshire Police) at a senior level before joining WMP in 2014. I have three children nine, 21 and 23 (that’s their ages not their names) and it’s probably my “role” as a proud family man that has motivated me to dedicate my career to public service. I think the importance of public services in supporting all aspects of our family life be that through education, leisure, social care and keeping us healthy, safe and secure plays a huge part in protecting our children’s futures. And I must admit that working for the police is the most rewarding professional role I have ever had!

So what does it mean?

Commercial Services is a new portfolio which brings together Corporate Asset Management (CAM), Finance, IT & Digital and Information Management. It’s a real privilege for me to lead this portfolio as these services have all demonstrated significant improvements over the recent past and have played a huge part in enabling WMP2020 projects to be delivered. I will be looking to bring a stronger business focus within my portfolio, exploring wider commercial opportunities and proactively influencing how the force continues to provide the best value for public money.  I am very lucky to be supported by some great heads of service who will be invaluable in helping me to take the service forward.


I previously led the Shared Services team which will now form part of the Peoples directorate. Over the past few years, Shared Services have been on a journey of continued improvement which I know will see further benefits from the introduction of improved technology and simpler processes. I just want to thank the members of that team for their support in my time as their head of service.

What will be different?

The force is undergoing huge change at the moment in terms of improving its systems, resources, processes and how it carries out its day to day business, Commercial Services has been at the forefront in both delivering that change across the force and embracing that change in its own service provision. So carrying on that momentum and focussing on delivery is hugely important.

We also have a great opportunity to build on the fantastic work that is already taking place across Commercial Services and I want to see my portfolio continually improving and providing first class support which the second largest UK police force deserves. I am strongly committed to the view that we are all one team in delivering a policing service to the people of the West Midlands but I feel that, at times, a lot of the great work that we do goes “under the radar”. It’s important that we all value the contribution that every service makes and that those in less front line roles understand,  and are proud, of how they contribute to the Force’s objective to prevent crime, protect the public and help those in need. As such, I am keen to raise awareness across the force of the services that are provided by my portfolio and demonstrate the value that we bring.

I am extremely passionate about ensuring that our vision and values are embedded across the services that we provide and I will continue to ensure that Commercial Services feel supported and valued in the roles that they carry out for WMP.

Here’s a film Assistant Chief Constable Alex Murray shot of two of his children explaining about the work of our unsung heroes in Finance and Shared Services. It was shown at the recent Finance and Shared Services award night. I think it’s really good at explaining – in a way only kids can – the interconnectivity between operational policing and police staff.

What’s coming up?


Across Commercial Services we have been working hard to support the TS1 implementation. Colleagues in IT&D and CAM specifically have worked tirelessly to ensure that systems and resources are in the right place, at the right time, to support the new policing model. As well as the roll out of mobile devices and the upgrade of force systems, over 1,400 body worn cameras have also been successfully been distributed to officers. There is a lot of great work going on to improve the way that our crime files are being created, managed, stored and accessed and the relocation of many of our staff into new or refurbished buildings has been managed with great effect.

The force is currently setting out its medium term financial strategy and setting its budget for 2017/18. These plans are strongly reliant on the financial savings that the WMP2020 programme will deliver, to help us operate within the limited resources we have.

The WMP2020 programme has started to improve the way we work and provide us with better tools to do our jobs. The programme also delivers some significant savings that helps us plan our finances over the next few years. I am the senior responsible officer for the Next Generation Enabling Services (NGES) project which will be really gathering pace in 2017 and will deliver the largest financial benefit to the force of all of the WMP2020 projects. You will start to see more details on what this might mean for you very soon, but the much needed investment in our enabling systems make this a really exciting time and will help us deliver a faster, simpler and improved customer experience.

Nationally a review is underway on how the total policing budget gets allocated to individual forces, which the Police and Crime Commissioner has been campaigning for over the last few years. I am working with the Chief Constable to ensure that the Home Office fully understand the operational demands faced by WMP to inform their review. The outcome of that review could have a big impact on our force funding but we are unlikely to know that outcome until the middle of 2017 at the earliest.

It is still really important that we continually look to drive value for money from all of the services we provide and the goods and services we purchase, so that we can maintain the efficient service that the HMIC have judged as being “outstanding”.

I am extremely proud of the services that we provide and grateful for the contributions that all of my team make. I want to make sure we recognise that as a force, but also want to make sure that we listen to the views of our customers to continually improve. I will be looking at different ways that you can provide your feedback through my service leads and give you a voice as our customer. In the meantime if you have anything you’d like to raise with me please feel free to email me: [email protected]

 Originally posted at

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