UK Fire Minister announces £74m of funding for local fire control centre projects

Funding for locally delivered control centres replaces the abandoned FiReControl project, which was designed to replace 46 standalone fire control rooms with nine regional centres

UK Fire Minister announces £74m of funding for local fire control centre projects

UK Fire Minister Bob Neill yesterday (1 March 2012) announced funding of £74 million to support a range of locally-led projects to improve the resilience and efficiency of local fire and rescue control rooms across England.

The annuncement follows on from the termination by the Coalition Government of the last Government's FiReControl project, which sought to regionalise 46 fire control rooms into nine centres across England.

Fire Minister, Bob Neill MP, said: ‘The Coalition Government is adopting a more localist approach to help secure improvements in national resilience, rather than trying to impose a forced regionalisation of the fire service. These locally-led bids show we can strengthen national resilience and adopt new technology to save lives, without top-down Whitehall micro-management.’

The Chief Fire Officers Association said: ‘The Chief Fire Officers Association National Resilience has developed a detailed peer support process designed to provide assistance and support to fire authorities with the implementation of their control room improvement plans.’

The move to a locally-led approach to upgrading the Fire & Rescue Services’ command and control rooms was decided in December 2010, when Fire Minister Bob Neill announced the termination of the main IT contract and closure of the FiReControl project.

The project began in 2004, and had aimed to replace England's 46 standalone fire and rescue control rooms with a nine regional control centres. The contract was terminated because the contractor EADS Defence and Security (now trading as Cassidian) Ltd could not meet the requirements of the project within an acceptable timeframe. The cost of the project had by then spiraled up to £490m.

The National Audit Office produced a damning report of the FiReControl programme in July 2011 (click here for more on this story). 

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) consulted on the future of fire and rescue control services in England from 13 January to 8 April 2011. FRSs were invited to submit bids for the Future Control Rooms Services Grant for locally delivered projects towards the end of 2011. 

The list of successful projects is as follows:

 

Fire and Rescue Authorities

Grant funding

 Early successful bid

 Durham and Darlington

 £1,800,000

 Early successful bid

 East and West Sussex

 £3,600,000

 Early successful bid

 North West

 £8,400,000

 Successful bid

 Staffordshire and West Midlands

 £3,600,000

 Successful bid

 Buckinghamshire

 £1,800,000

 Successful bid

 Devon and Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire

 £7,200,000

 Successful bid

 Oxfordshire and Berkshire

 £3,600,000

 Successful bid

 Cambridgeshire and Suffolk

 £3,600,000

 Successful bid

 Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire

 £5,400,000

 Successful bid

 Isle of Wight and Surrey

 £3,000,000

 Successful bid

 Tyne and Wear and Northumberland

 £3,600,000

 Successful bid

 Essex and Bedfordshire and Luton

 £3,200,000

 Successful bid

 Norfolk, Humberside, Hertfordshire and Lincolnshire

 £7,200,000

 Successful bid

 Shropshire and Hereford and Worcestershire

 £3,600,000

 Successful bid

 South and West Yorkshire

 £3,600,000

 Successful bid

 Northamptonshire and Warwickshire

 £3,600,000

 Successful bid

 Merseyside

 £1,800,000

 Successful bid

 Cornwall

 £1,800,000

 Successful bid

 Gloucestershire

 £1,800,000

 Successful bid

 Kent

 £1,800,000

 

 Total

 £74,000,000

The London Fire Brigade did not submit a bid for the Future Control Rooms Services Grant as alternative arrangements had previously been agreed. The DCLG said that the Avon, Cleveland and North Yorkshire fire and rescue authorities will be added after further work has been completed (expected end of June 2012). The Government has not yet announced provision of funding to these authorities.

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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