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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 05/12/2006
Update on Surrey Single Non-Emergency Number 101

Waverley Borough Council


[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

This report is to advise the Executive that the Home Office had decided to suspend all Wave 2 bids, which includes the bid from the Surrey Partnership, for the extension of the single non-emergency number (SNEN) programme.

Environmental implications:

Directing services, and especially emergency services, correctly would have very substantial environmental implications ranging from the loss of life and limb to a reduction in inappropriate journeys.

Social / community implications:

The community benefits that would arise from appropriately targeted calls for service delivery are potentially significant. Evidence shows that the general public have little awareness of which authority is responsible for what.

E-Government implications:

The proposed extension of the 101 service would require enhanced e-facilities between the partnership which will be specified as part of the bid.

Resource and legal implications:

The Surrey Partnership were provided with 100,000 upfront funding to cover feasibility studies and to instruct the necessary design work and technical advice.


1. A single non-emergency telephone number (SNEN) of 101 was to be rolled-out nationally by the Home Office and the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and to be in place across the country by 2008. The initiative would provide the public with access to advice, information and action on anti-social behaviour issues and public safety (vandalism, graffiti, deliberate damage to property, noisy neighbours, loud parties, intimidation, harassment, abandoned vehicles, street lighting, rubbish, litter, fly tipping and people being drunk in a public place) via a new three-digit number, and free up the 999 emergency service to handle emergency calls.

2. Compliance with the SNEN 101 project was compulsory, and the project was being rolled out in three waves across England and Wales, the first two phases of which would be capital funded by the Home Office. The Surrey Partnership, made up of representatives from Surrey Police, the eleven Borough and District Councils, and Surrey County Council, had been successful in its bid to be considered in Wave 2 of the programme. Waverley’s role as a partner authority in the Surrey Single Non-Emergency Number project was endorsed at the Executive meeting held on 30th June 2006.

3. Each partnership was to develop a model for operating the 101 service to best suit local needs, but it was required to operate 24 hours per day and be staffed by specially trained operators to provide information and advice. Where specific action would be required by another authority or agency the operators would direct the caller to the appropriate individual or organisation.

4. A bid was submitted by the Surrey (SNEN) Partnership for consideration by the Home Office on 6th October 2006. The Surrey bid was based on a phased approach to call-taking. As a first phase the Surrey Police call centre would be developed to take 101 calls with a second call-taking partner coming on line later from either existing District and Borough call centres or alternatively from Surrey County Council’s call centre.

5. Waverley would not be involved as a front-line 101 call-taker as we do not operate a call centre on which any SNEN service would be developed.

Home Office decision to suspend Wave 2 of the SNEN project

6. On 24th October 2006 the Home Office wrote to the Chief Constables of all Wave 2 partnerships to inform them that the SNEN programme development was being suspended (a copy of the letter is attached at Annexe 1 to this report).

7. The Home Office took the decision to suspend the Wave 2 programme on the basis that the projected ongoing costs were highly variable between the various partnership bids and needed further analysis. It was also acknowledged that as most of the Wave 1 services had been delayed in implementation, it was felt that a longer evaluation period was needed to learn from these projects to better inform Wave 2.

8. The Wave 1 partnerships, which include Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Northumbria, South Yorkshire, South Wales and Leicester, will continue to be supported by the Home Office.


9. The Home Office decision to suspend Wave 2 of the SNEN programme is particularly disappointing, not least in considering the very considerable amount of time and effort that has been invested in establishing the partnership and formulating the bid itself. At this stage it is unclear how long the delay might be, but a meeting of the Surrey (SNEN) Partnership Board has been planned for early February 2007 by which time it is hoped more information will be available on the future of SNEN. A further report will be made to the Executive once the position is clearer.

10. The Surrey Partnership Board have agreed that it would be appropriate to issue a joint Press Release expressing disappointment at the Home Office’s decision and this is attached at Annexe 2.


It is recommended that the report be noted.

Background Papers (MD)

Information supplied at the Wave 2 Seminar on 29th June 2006
Surrey Partnership letter of commitment.


Name: Roger Standing Telephone: 01483 523221

E-mail: rstanding@waverley.gov.uk