Firebuy given greater responsibility

23 December 2009

30 December 2009 | Paul Snell

Firebuy, the national purchasing consortium for the fire service, has been given the responsibility to manage large service contracts.

This includes deals for a new digital radio and data transfer system called Firelink, a national network of control centres and new equipment and vehicles – which the procurement group already handles.

The extra responsibility follows a government consultation into how these contracts should be managed and whose responsibility it should be.

It had been indicated in June by under-secretary of state for local government Shahid Mailk that Firebuy’s role would be consumed by a larger organisation dealing with both national procurement and managed service contracts.

The National Procurement Strategy for the Fire and Rescue Service for 2009-12, published shortly after, in July, confirmed the organisation would continue to exist. And the consultation has now confirmed a non-departmental public body, based on and incorporating Firebuy, will be set up.

As a result the government has appointed a new board to oversee the consortium. Peter Holland, a former journalist and the current chair of the National Policing Improvement Agency, has been chosen to be the chair until 2013.

The other new board members include Chris Hetherington, Robert Light, Sir Peter Spencer and former OGC collaborative procurement expert Jane Moorhouse.

“The board will lead the transformation of Firebuy into an organisation with a wider remit, managing the service contracts that are vital in enabling the Fire and Rescue Service to maintain national resilience,” said Malik.

“In Peter Holland I believe that the board has a chair whose experience and track record will help ensure Firebuy meets the challenges ahead.”

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