International - Written by on Thursday, April 19, 2018 23:32 - 0 Comments

60% increase in SFO core funding is a huge vote of government confidence

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Yesterday’s announcement that core funding for the SFO has been increased by 60% to 52.2 million from 34.3 million underscores government commitment to the SFO.  The SFO’s need for extra backing, financial and political is something we’ve shouted about for a very long time.

The extra funding is a welcome vote of confidence in the SFO for whoever the lucky new director will be and just as importantly for everyone who works at the SFO who have been through thick and thin over the years.

It has been a long time coming, a great way to mark David Green’s last day and a brilliant start for the new director.

In the announcement on the SFO website published yesterday the SFO said:

“Following publication of the Main Estimates today, the SFO can confirm changes to its funding arrangements.  The changes are cost-neutral but will enable the SFO to manage its budget more flexibly and efficiently, with a significantly reduced call on the reserve.

For 2018-19 there will be:

  • A fiscally-neutral increase in the SFO’s core funding from £34.3m (planned for 2018/19) to £52.7m, with sums requested from the reserve reduced accordingly.
  • New arrangements for “blockbuster” funding.  Instead of applying for separate funding for the full cost of any case forecast to cost more than 5% of the core funding, blockbuster funding will cover spend in excess of £2.5m on any single case in a given year.  Modelling this arrangement indicates there are likely to be few cases which will qualify for this (and the amount of blockbuster funding as a percentage of total budget will be markedly less).
  • Significantly for the SFO, the new arrangement eliminates the internal ring fences for resource allocation around blockbuster cases.  The SFO will not need to manage two separate funding streams, will be able to focus on substantially reducing reliance on temporary personnel and will be able to reallocate staff between cases as the work requires.”

In understated fashion Chief Operating Officer, and (very, very) soon to be interim Director, Mark Thompson, said:

“This is a welcome consolidation of the SFO’s funding position which will enable us to manage our casework and our resources more efficiently.”  

We think its way more than that.

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