Clive Betts, Chair of the Communites and Local Government Committee, responds to the cancellation of FiReControl

20 December 2010

Clive Betts, CLG Committee Chair, responds to the cancellation of FireControl

Today the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government has announced the termination of the contract with Cassidian (formerly EADS) for the delivery of a network of nine fire control centres.

Responding to the announcement, the Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, Clive Betts MP, said

“This decision can come as no surprise. In the last Parliament our predecessor Committee published a report about the FiReControl project that criticised both Department and the contractor for their handling of this much delayed initiative that has gone massively over budget.

“I was a member of that committee and we identified a raft of costly problems that boiled down to poor project management; adversarial relationships between CLG and EADS; and inadequate consultation or collaboration between the Department, the contractor and those intimately involved in the delivery of Fire and Rescue services.

“Many of the concerns in that report echoed those raised by the same Committee in its 2006 report on the Fire Service. From the outset five years ago it was clear there were ‘considerable risks’ associated with a project that fire authorities and local authorities refused to support fully because they were unconvinced - even at that stage - that the aims of enhanced resilience and efficiency would be achieved.

“The Committee appreciates being kept informed by the Secretary of State about developments with this project. Following this latest announcement it also looks forward to seeing significant further progress with the necessary reform and modernisation of the Fire and Rescue Service.

“It is essential that those fire authorities who were relying on the FiReControl project to fund the urgent upgrading of their control room infrastructure are now given all necessary assistance to meet those needs following the cancellation of this contract. As we approach the 2012 Olympics it is crucial that fire and rescue authorities remain properly equipped to discharge their vital responsibilities to ensure our safety and security.

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Committee reports referred to:

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