FOI release

Forensic Science Service Closure

23466 We have a received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the following:  Which police forces have established…



We have a received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the following: 

  1. Which police forces have established, created, built, renovated, or otherwise instituted an internal forensic science provision and forensic service facilities? What was the cost to each of these police forces including capital and building costs? Please identify the source of the funding for each of these projects.

  2. Following the decision to close the Forensic Science Service (FSS) Ltd how many FSS staff were made redundant and at what cost?

  3. What is the total cost of the FSS closure (including financial support during the wind down) expected to be?

  4. How much will it cost to implement and transition the FSS pension scheme in light of the FSS closure? What will be the estimated annual cost to maintain the FSS pension scheme?

  5. What is the projected shortfall in the FSS pension provision should the pension scheme be wound up this year? If so, has the Government agreed to fill the shortfall?

  6. What is the annual cost to the Home Office of maintaining the FSS national forensic archive?

  7. The FSS spend on research and development was several million pounds per annum and, in evidence to the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee, Dr Bernard Silverman suggested the Research Councils should make financial provision to allow the university sector to take on such research. Will the Home Office provide financial support to this end?

  8. As the only shareholder of FSS Ltd the Home Office has a duty of care to its former employees. Do you know how many former FSS staff have been employed by other forensic
    science providers?

  9. Do you know how many former FSS staff have been employed by major police forces, the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) or Home Office under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) regulations?



We released the following information on 15 August 2012

  1. The Metropolitan Police Service has brought certain forensic services in-house during the transition period, utilising a laboratory formerly leased to the Forensic Science Service.

In addition, forces in the North East region retain a facility in Wakefield to support both internal forensic work and that of their external provider.  We do not hold data centrally on the costs of local projects.

  1. I understand that FSS has answered this question in part.  Following the decision to wind down the company, £61 million has been spent on staff exit costs.

  2. Less than £100m in cash terms. The precise figure will depend on the final cost of lease exits and the receipts from the sale of freehold assets.

  3. The scheme is being preserved in order to protect the historical pension rights of FSS staff. The Scheme will cost an estimated £1.5m annually to maintain.

  4. The pension scheme will not be wound-up this year.

  5. The projected cost of maintaining the FSS archive is around £2 million per year.

  6. The Silverman Review highlighted a number of ways in which the Research Councils could enhance the recognition of the impact and quality of forensic science, within its available funding. The Home Office has been working closely with the Research Councils, the Technology Strategy Board and the Forensic Science Regulator to help implement the recommendations.

We are pleased that the Technology Strategy Board has established a Forensic Science Special Interest Group and that Research Councils UK (RCUK) are working with the Forensic Science Society to engage active forensic scientists in the evaluation of research proposals.
The Home Office is continuing to invest in forensic science, principally through its Centre for Applied Science and Technology, which will also be taking on the Forensics 21 programme from the National Policing Improvement Agency in October.

  1. We are aware that in addition to those staff joining other organisations through TUPE transfers, around 148 scientific staff have been employed by other FSPs and that in addition some have started new businesses in the field.  Information on re-employment was provided by the major Forensic Service Providers and may therefore exclude those who have joined smaller employers.

  2. 116 scientific staff have transferred to the organisations you mention under TUPE provisions.

Published 15 August 2012