The Firelink contract was signed on 29 March 2006 and extended to include Scotland and Wales in June. After completion of detailed implementation plans by the contractor, infrastructure work is expected to commence in the first region—the south-west—before the end of 2006. Firelink will then be rolled out on a regional basis over a two-and-half-year period. As fire vehicles are converted to Firelink they will be able to use the system for voice communications. Once FiReControl is in place in a region there will be an ordered transition by each fire and rescue service to the fully integrated system.
On FiReControl the construction of the first four regional control centres (RCCs) is well under way with contracts let for four others. Procurement of the London RCC site is in progress. Over the coming months we expect to appoint the prime contractor to deliver the IT solution and the first local authority controlled companies that will manage RCCs to be established. A draft of the full business case will be published in October and we will publish another version in the new year after contracts are signed with the IT suppliers.