Firebuy to be abolished
Minister cancels troubled fire control contract
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Fire control room procurement slammed in radio broadcast
Fire service IT deal lambasted
17 March 2011 | Angeline Albert
The 18 purchasing framework contracts
currently run by Firebuy are to be taken over by a private business, the Consortium for Purchasing and Distribution.
Firebuy was established as a government
quango in 2006 to manage procurement for the UK Fire and Rescue Service.
Following the government’s decision last October to close Firebuy this spring,
the Department for Communities and LocalGovernment (DCLG) sought expressions of interest from other fire and
rescue services and buying organisations to take over the framework agreements.
The Consortium for Purchasing and Distribution was the government’s preferred bidder.
Firebuy said in a statement: “It is
Firebuy's intention to formally novate these contracts to the consortium
following the successful conclusion of a due diligence process. Terry Brewer,
CEO of Firebuy, has written to customers and suppliers to inform them.”
Firebuy held a briefing session yesterday for
suppliers at the headquarters of the Fire and Rescue Suppliers Association
(FIRESA), shortly after the trade organisation’s AGM. The event gave providers a
chance to meet members of the consortium and hear its future plans.
Shona Dunn, director of fire and resilience
at the DCLG, said: “The decision to close Firebuy has not arisen from concerns
about the operation of the organisation or the need for the services it offers.
Firebuy has undertaken valuable work to streamline procurement arrangements and
to secure efficiency savings. Ministers consider the sort of functions Firebuy
currently carries out should be devolved away from central government.”
The Consortium for Purchasing and Distribution
describes itself as the largest independent supplier of education resources to
schools and colleges in the UK. Last year the company won the “Supplier of the
year” prize at the 2010 Education Resource Awards.
The consortium’s CEO Melanie Teal said it has had
strong links with the Fire and Rescue Service for 40 years. “This new
arrangement will provide the consortium with an exciting opportunity to expand
and develop those relationships further to the benefit of everyone involved.”