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CIO Profile: London fire brigade ICT chief helps keep the capital safe

The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA), which runs the London Fire Brigade, is looking for a contractor to provide new control and mobilising IT systems.

The authority said it may choose to either award a contract for new software solutions, or a managed services contract.

The 10-year contract has been valued at between £21 million and £297.6 million, and is open as a framework to three other fire services – Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Services, Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority and Royal Berkshire Fire Authority.

However, while the London fire service expects to make a joint procurement on behalf of all four authorities, the three authorities have not committed to participate.

In the first option, where only ICT services are required, a supplier will be required to design, build, provide and maintain control and mobilising ICT services. This includes providing a range of software and hardware solutions, and support.

In the managed services option, a supplier will design, build, provide, maintain, operate and manage control and mobilising services and IT at the fire authority’s nominated premises.

Furthermore, the supplier will be required to provide emergency call handling and incident support services including use of the fire authority’s main scheme radio system, as well as CPD and training for the mobilising services.

Earlier this year, the National Audit Office branded the government’s abandoned FireControl project a “comprehensive failure” that has wasted £469 million and delivered almost nothing.

The government awarded a £200 million contract to EADS Defence and Security Systems to supply the IT infrastructure for nine regional fire brigade control centres in 2007. The system was intended to network the control centres and enable them to automatically back each other up during major incidents or if one centre failed.

However, last year, the government was forced to cancel the project following widely-voiced  concerns over costs and delays, and angry objections from firefighters’ unions.