Feeds

Firemen challenge £31m planned IT bill

Money that could save lives

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has accused the government of wasting money on expensive IT consultants instead of ploughing funds into the fire service itself.

Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) reveals that £31.1m has been budgeted for IT consultants, as part of the emergency fire control project. The FBU warns that this is close to eclipsing the £42.3m the government estimates will be saved by the project. That figure was leaked from a confidential ODPM report earlier in the year.

However, an ODPM spokeswoman said that the FBU was distorting the figures, and that the £31m was the estimated cost of "professional support to the project over its whole lifetime".

She added that the full cost of the project was £988m, meaning that fees paid to IT consultants accounted for just three per cent of the total.

"The FireControl project is itself a result of an independent review of fire and rescue control rooms by Mott MacDonald, which concluded that current arrangements were costly and inefficient," she said. "When the Government consulted widely on the report in December 2003 there was broad support for the new approach."

The FireControl Project will consolidate the 46 local fire control offices across England into nine regional control offices. The FBU says that the new system in unnecessary, expensive and will not save any lives. It argues that the £31m earmarked for consultants would be better spent on 1,000 additional fire fighters, or on arson reduction initiatives.

"They are wasting money on IT consultants chasing another technology rainbow. There is no pot of savings at the end of this rainbow," said FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack. "This is very expensive, very risky project and it won't save any lives. They must bin it before they waste any more public money."

138 cross-party MPs have now signed Early Day Motion 229, or its amendment, raising concerns about the project. ®

Related stories

ODPM to withdraw from eGovernment policy
Public sector IT abuse still rife
Public beats private for IT pay rises

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.