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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

Police authorities: Specific activities: Collaboration agreements

Police bodies have a duty to collaborate where it is in the interests of the efficiency or effectiveness of their own and other police force areas.

A collaboration agreement is a formal written agreement under the terms of the Police Act 1996 between forces and / or policing bodies. It must be signed by the chief officer of each police partner within the collaboration and published.

Policing body collaborations or policing body and force collaborations agreements will specify such things as the aims and objectives of the collaboration; the police area to be covered and the provision of support i.e. premises, equipment, staff, services etc.

Force collaboration agreements also specify the functions, restrictions and conditions of civilian employees engaged with the agreement.


There is no single model for funding a collaboration. The arrangements will vary according to the particular circumstances of the collaboration and the partners to it.

Collaborations allow for payments between police partners on a cost-neutral basis i.e. re-imbursements only for costs incurred. Partners may contribute funds to the lead police body for distribution / re-imbursement to other partners as appropriate. In these circumstances, the funds contributed by partners are not consideration for any supply to them.


Partners within a collaboration may purchase and acquire assets for use by other partners. Payment for these purchases may be met using collaboration funds. Providing title to the assets remain with the procuring partner we consider that no onward supply for VAT purposes to partners has been made.

Payment in return for the transfer of title to assets between partners may represent consideration for a supply. Each case will need to be examined on its own merits.


There may be occasions where services are procured for use within the collaboration. Entitlement to VAT recovery will depend on the nature of the agreement and each case must be judged on its own merits.

Each partner will have an entitlement to a VAT refund to the extent that it is the recipient of a supply from a third party for use within the collaboration and its own or collaboration funds are used.