Magazine article Public Finance

Fire Call Centre Plans "Could End in Failure"

Magazine article Public Finance

Fire Call Centre Plans "Could End in Failure"

Article excerpt

Ministers are likely to plough ahead with plans to overhaul fire emergency call centres, despite a leaked Whitehall report stating the project runs the risk of 'total failure'.

As part of the government's modernisation plans for the fire service, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister intends to scrap England's 46 fire and rescue control rooms and merge them into nine new sites developed by private firms at a cost of £754m.

But a leaked ODPM report on the Fire Control initiative, released by the Fire Brigades Union this week, states that the governments poor record in procuring new projects means there is 'a risk of unsuccessful delivery... which could result in delay or even total project failure'.

FBU general secretary Andy Gilchrist said: 'This dangerous plan will axe our excellent command and control centres and be a financial burden on the fire service and taxpayers for years to come. It's expensive, it's risky and it won't save a single life.'

The report, which sets out the outline business case for the plan, describes the risk of failure as 'high/very high' and estimates losses could reach £107m. Up to 900 job cuts, radically reduced services and higher council taxes could also follow, according to the FBU's interpretation of the report. …

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