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Financial Excellence in Policing brochure

Achieving Finance Excellence in Policing II

First launched in 2019, the successful and award winning AFEP programme was designed in partnership with CIPFA and driven from within the Finance and Coordinating Committee of NPCC, and supported by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and the Police and Crime Commissioners Treasurers Society (PACCTS). Spanning a two-year licence, the second programme iteration received endorsement by our partners. AFEP II commences in April 2021.

The AFEP programme supports achieving and sustaining finance excellence in policing, building on national capacity and providing local support. CIPFA is committed to supporting and facilitating national collaboration for force and PCC finance teams across the UK, to support reform and shape exemplary financial health throughout the sector.

Together with our sector stakeholders, we explore the needs, wants and aspirations of today's modern forces to achieve the vision of an evidence-based and fully collaborative police finance service.

The programme is for sector individuals with responsibility for any aspect of financial management service delivery, budget management, policy decision making, and delivery of financial best practice.

Financial Management

Through a combination of CIPFA led and self-assessments, the AFEP I financial management (FM) exercise provided a force-by-force diagnostic providing the current 'as is' status of force and PCC finance functions, as well an improvement plan. Combined assessments were consolidated to inform the national report which shone a light on those areas of best practice, as well as areas for further strengthening and at members request. This report was shared among wider sector stakeholders.

Advisory and consultancy

AFEP II moves the FM assessment exercise on a stage by providing five days of consultancy support per force and PCC (additional days can be purchased), to implement actions and improvement plans arising from the reviews.

Alternatively this resource can be used for asset management (AM) advisory checks or to assist with statistical interpretation by our Data Analyst consultants.

Police and Fire Network

The network will enable the sharing of best practice via topical events led by CIPFA's dedicated advisor. These events are delivered throughout the year. Regular updates are hosted on the dedicated Police and Fire Network webpage where members can access horizon scan documents that highlight and identify potential risks, emerging issues and opportunities. Other available collateral includes documentation, technical and policy updates, and thought pieces.

Finance Advisory Network

FAN events support and advise accountants, finance managers and all those charged with handling public money, providing expert guidance on the latest developments and best practice for accountants in public finance.

CFO Strategic Support/CFO Retreat

Exclusively reserved for the most senior finance decision makers within AFEP member organisations, the CFO strategic roundtables are facilitated workshops that have been created for force and PCC member organisations. With seven half day sessions in total, each has a unique focus and will enable a national network of leaders to come together to discuss an array of topics.

The CFO Retreat is an offsite two-day event providing the perfect setting for a national, strategic debate on the challenges facing police finance. Led by inspirational sector speakers and industry professionals, we encourage you to register your attendance interest here for the 23–24 September event.

People Development

'Pick and Mix' places for finance and non-finance community

We are introducing a CPD 'pick and mix' style of learning and development training places, in order to support financial literacy across the wider organisation. This training platform provides a support function outside of the core finance team, enabling staff to expand on skills and knowledge. Places can be used flexibly across blended training platforms, including e-learning, virtually via MS Teams and potentially face to face (guidelines permitting).

Places can be used for Police Network and Finance Advisory Network (FAN) events, as well as training around the following subjects: FBP, BBC, budget holder finance skills, commercial strategy, commerciality management, and small projects management.

Future Leaders Academy

The Future Leaders Academy (FLA) will support the next generation of aspiring leaders in finance, moving from junior management into more senior positions. The FLA provides structured support on essential skills including: reflective leadership, governance and risk, project management, and change management.

Future Leaders Development

The Future Leaders Development programme supports the next generation of leaders in finance, this senior layer has been added to the academies area of the AFEP II programme to support resilience within the finance team.

This course is being offered to those that graduated AFEP 1 FLA, and is designed for the next stage of professional development for those expected to secure leadership roles in the short to medium-term. The course focuses on management skills of self, others, teams and the organisation.

Data Analytics

Exclusive to AFEP II members, sector-specific analysis is hosted on our new cloud-based data management platform which will give users immediate and secure access, and the opportunity to visualise, explore and interpret the wide range of information we hold.

Data helps forces and PCCs better understand their place and make decisions that improve societal outcomes for their diverse communities. Insights can also support financial resilience by providing granular detail in terms of support services costs, helping forces deliver and demonstrate value for money.

AFEP II new dashboards

AFEP II will continue to provide dedicated police sector stats and benchmarking analysis, driving better financial management and decision making across forces. It will help improve current comparative data and develop broader analytical and diagnostic capacity to help the forces deliver and demonstrate value for money. The new AFEP dashboards will be refreshed during AFEP II and new data dashboards are planned throughout the programme lifecycle – subject matter to be informed by the data sub-group.


This online information resource for public sector financial managers provides guidance on the financial and service functions of public sector bodies. TISonline content is produced by expert contributors from all parts of the public sector on a 'by practitioners, for practitioners' basis.


The blue light subscription allows members to access police objective analysis, police estimates, and police actuals, in addition to the data sets within the general finance area. These are accessed in the same way you access the AFEP II data dashboards as the information is housed within the same platform.


Your AFEP II subscription now includes full access to CIPFA Publications. The latest standard-setting accounting guidance will keep members up to date. Access to the extensive back catalogue is also available.


"The AFEP programme has enabled both my finance team and myself personally to access a range of professional support. The CFO retreats hosted to date have been a huge success with many inspirational speakers sharing insights, perspective and even highly technical thought pieces and scenarios.

"My senior finance team are really keen to take full advantage of the FLA and Leadership Development cohorts, the wider team also in terms of the variety of 'pick and mix' subjects. I'm personally very much looking forward to the CFO workshop sessions as this format is new to the programme and builds on the engaging sessions we enjoyed in AFEP 1.

CIPFA have provided fantastic support across the Policing sector even funding for PQ scholarships. The array of training opportunities within AFEP II not only provides great CPD but also facilitate essential networking opportunities to build relationships with others in similar roles from other Forces and PCCs."

Neil Chamberlain
Director of Commercial Services at West Midlands Police

"The City of London Police signed up to the AFEP programme in 2019, and the FMCR was completed in January 2020.  The FMCR report has provided an invaluable tool to implement improvements in financial control and financial management across the Force. Progress against a detailed Action Plan for improvement is reported to members regularly. The AFEP also provided an Asset Management Review, which was very helpful in relation to our unique asset management arrangements in the City.

"CIPFA will continue to support us through the journey to improve our financial capability in a range of areas, working closely with the Police Authority. We secured a fully funded AFEP scholarship place in 2021 and have signed up to AFEP II.”

Cecilie Booth
Chief Operating and Chief Financial Officer, City of London Police

Next steps

If you would like to speak to the AFEP II programme manager, Amie Bridson: email or call 07824 839567

Our Experts

Alison Dewhirst

Police Advisor, Police Network

Alison has worked in and for policing for over 25 years since her first days as a researcher for City of London Police and has experienced an incredible amount of change in the sector over that time. She runs the CIPFA Police and Fire Network, running events and writing publications. Alison also manages the CIPFA Police and Fire Panel and oversees the coordination of its sub-groups.

She works closely with colleagues in the CIPFA Policy and Technical team, the Networks team and across CIPFA on a whole range of finance and governance related issues affecting police and fire services.

E:, T: 07769 673927


John O'Halloran

Head of Consultancy Services

John is a highly experienced business manager and management consultant with over 30 years experience in both the private and public sectors, now leading CIPFA’s advisory practice. Recently John has helped shape and drive a major cost reduction UK wide programme for police sector, Achieving Finance Excellence in Policing.

He has acted as the commercial adviser to numerous forces including the Met Police on their successful outsourcing of their back office functions and also was a key part of the team responsible for the development of their commercial strategy to 2020. John has also worked for large civil service departments and every type of local authority in the UK.


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