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Fire Services

Volume 471: debated on Wednesday 30 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made on the proposed regional emergency control rooms for the fire service. (182303)

[holding answer 25 January 2008]: The FiReControl project has made substantial progress, summarised as follows.

Nine new designed-for-purpose buildings have been procured. Contracts to build the RCC buildings were let in 2006 and 2007, and construction is progressing to plan. Four buildings have already reached practical completion. A single contract to deliver facilities management services to all nine buildings will be let by CLG in April 2008;

Procuring new technology: CLG let a contract in March 2007 to EADS Defence and Security Systems Ltd (“EADS”) to deliver common, networked, IT systems for the nine regional control centres;

FiReControl depends on a significant change management programme. Key developments include the establishment of six of the eight regional delivery companies with regional control centre directors and other senior staff appointed in five of them. Guidance has been developed with the fire and rescue services on organisation design, generic staffing model and terms and conditions of employment. These are currently being finalised and implemented by the Fire and Rescue Services in light of local circumstances. Design work to harmonise ways of working, operational procedures, processes and protocols to achieve interoperability between the 46 Fire and Rescue Service and the nine regional control centres has been completed. The alignment of these designs with the EADS solution prior to detailed planning and implementation by each of the Fire and Rescue Services is under way.