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22 December 2010 | Lindsay Clark
The UK government has cancelled a £200 million project to replace the fire service command and control system after a series of delays.
Fire minister Bob Neill said it was in the interests of both the fire and rescue community and the taxpayer that the project was closed down. The project aimed to replace England's 46 standalone fire and rescue control rooms with a national network of nine control centres.
Neill said he’d made it clear in the summer that contractor Cassidian, formerly EADS Defence and Security, must deliver the main IT system to time, cost and quality, but now the two parties have concluded the project cannot be delivered to an acceptable timeframe.
“Cassidian and the Department for Communities and Local Government have reached an acceptable settlement over this, although the details will remain commercially confidential,” Neill said in a statement.
“We told Cassidian that no additional taxpayers' money could be invested in this project, nor would delivery of a system of reduced quality or functionality be acceptable.”
In April, MPs criticised the project, dubbed FiReControl. Problems with the procurement process, which began in 2004, have played a role in the delays, the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee said.
Neill said his department would consult with the fire and rescue community on the future of control room services in England. This will be based on the principles of localism. He will also seek feedback on the best use of FiReControl assets.