Police’s cost-cutting expert has contract ended after six months

19th February 2013. Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson.
19th February 2013. Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson.

A consultancy contract given by West Yorkshire Police to a former colleague of suspended chief constable Mark Gilmore as part of its controversial cost-cutting scheme has been ended after just six months.

Last month it was revealed that Roy Toner, a former Assistant Chief Constable in Northern Ireland, had been hired by West Yorkshire Police to be the strategic director of its “Programme of Change” after the senior officer in charge of the scheme left earlier this year.

The contract with his firm Jalaro Associates, was for up to 20 days a month and worth a maximum of £150,000 over 18 months, but police commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson has now decided not to extend it beyond the initial six month term ending on October 13.

Police have not revealed how much they have paid Mr Toner after not extending the contract.

He was brought in after Assistant Chief Constable Craig Guildford, the officer in charge of radically restructuring the force to cope with austerity cuts, left to join Gwent Police in Wales.

West Yorkshire Police says these circumstances created an “immediate, unplanned and urgent need” to find a replacement.

The force says the contract offered to Mr Toner was not advertised as Jalaro was commissioned using an “approved, urgent procurement exception process”.

After taking on the role through his consultancy firm, which provides “strategic advice for transformational change programmes in ‘blue light’ emergency services”, Mr Toner has been working at the force since April.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: “Jalaro Associates was contracted to run West Yorkshire Police organisational and cultural Programme of Change on the departure of Craig Guildford who took up the post of Deputy Chief Constable in Gwent.

“The contract was for an initial six months with an option to extend. The six months ends in October and the contract has not been extended.”

West Yorkshire Police say they are currently “considering options for the future leadership of the Programme of Change”.

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable John Robins said: “JALARO Associates has achieved all we asked of them and they have met their contractual responsibilities.

“The Interim Strategic Director has made a really positive impact on the structure and delivery of our Programme of Change, at a critical time for us.

“I have been impressed by what has been achieved during the past six months and West Yorkshire Police are now better placed to address both the organisational and financial challenges that we face over the next two years.”

Leeds councillor Les Carter, a member of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel, which scrutinises the work of Mr Burns-Williamson, said: “I’m pleased to see that this contract has not been extended. It simply didn’t make sense to spend so much on a consultant to tell the force how it could save money, when there are capable officers who can do that internally.

“Sadly the public have still forked out six months’ salary for the consultant in the time it took the police commissioner to realise this.”

Chief constable Mark Gilmore has been suspended by the force since June as part of a probe into the award of vehicle contracts.

Mr Gilmore, born and bred in Belfast, worked at the Police Service of Northern Ireland from 1983 to 2008, rising to superintendent. Mr Toner served at the force from 1981 to 2009.