2023 – 2024 Budget: Safety, Security and Home Affairs

In July 2023, Legislative Council approved the SHG budget for 2023/4. To provide a better understanding of how that money is spent, every two weeks we are focusing on a different Portfolio and their plans for the year. Two weeks ago we looked at the allocation for Health and Social Care, and this week we’ll be covering the Safety, Security and Home Affairs (SSHA) Portfolio.

£47,072,000 was allocated for recurrent and capital expenditure. Of this figure, SSHA was allocated £2,463,000. This means that of the six Portfolios included in the 2023/24 Budget Book, SSHA receives 5.5% of the SHG recurrent budget.

Safety Security & Home Affairs

The Safety Security & Home Affairs Portfolio is at the frontline of keeping citizens safe and the Island secure, and plays a fundamental role in the security and economic prosperity of St Helena. Close working across Portfolios, local businesses and the community is required to help to tackle safety issues for the Island. St Helena will prosper significantly from being open, engaged and connected to the rest of the world, and it creates tremendous opportunities for individuals and the Island’s collective prosperity.

What are SSHA’s Strategic Aims?

Whilst all Portfolios contribute to the five national goals, expenditure for SSHA’s 2023-24 budget primarily supports the ‘Altogether Safer’ goal. To deliver this, SSHA work programmes contribute to 10 of SHG’s 33 strategic objectives.

To support these national goals, and strategic objectives, the SSHA Portfolio has five main policy priority areas within the SHG Vision and Strategy Plan 2022-2025, which are informing and directing its work programmes. These are:

  • Keeping St Helena safe by reducing crime and working to better the lives of children, young people and those most vulnerable within our community
  • Working with partners to secure our borders, both internationally and in St Helena, in order to protect the community and support economic development
  • Improving community trust and confidence in the services provided by the Portfolio
  • Working with partners, volunteers and stakeholders to minimise and manage identified risks and to maintain public safety and our response to incidents
  • Working with the community, partners and stakeholders to help solve the issues most affecting our community to make us ‘Altogether Safer’

Where will SSHA’s allocation be spent?

The Portfolio provides a wide range of services to the communities of St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha. These services include the Police, Immigration and Customs, Fire and Rescue, Sea Rescue, HM Prison and Offender Management Service, Emergency Planning, Port Control, Maritime Authority. The Portfolio also oversees Cyber Security, the national Resilience Forum, Health and Safety and a range of licensing and inspection functions.

In September 2023, as a result of a restructure, Roads and Building Maintenance, Rockfall Protection and Street Lighting also moved to the Portfolio. The recurrent budget for these areas will remain under the Treasury, Infrastructure and Economic Development Directorate for the rest of this financial year. The Portfolio has 168 staff to deliver its range of work.

It should be noted that while the Royal St Helena Police Service still remain under the umbrella of the Portfolio, they now directly report to the Governor with ring-fenced finances which are also directly overseen by the Governor.

While the Portfolio has a budget of £2.4 million, over the last two years it has reduced its finances by almost half a million pounds in light of the budget constraints across the Public Service, and will continue to identify further efficiencies where appropriate.

To offset the budgetary reductions, SSHA remains proactive in identifying external funding sources via the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to ensure SHG’s core finances are not overburdened.

In 2022, SSHA were fortunate to gain approximately £1 million in support from external stakeholders. This came in a variety of guises from a diverse set of training courses, support on building works, policy development, legislation and specialist equipment. The support was provided from UK Government via the FCDO and the UK Conflict, Safety and Security Fund (CSSF), and is highly appreciated and gratefully received.

The Portfolio will continue to look for further external support in 2023/2024 and beyond. However, the UK as elsewhere, is under significant financial constraints. Nonetheless, SSHA is committed to working in unison across SHG, the community and international partners to enhance safety and security resilience, and safeguard St Helena’s future needs.

 If you would like more information about any areas of SSHA’s work, please get in touch with Mandy Constantine, Admin Assistant, by email through mandy.constantine@sainthelena.gov.sh.

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