Feeds

MPs: 999 HQ revamp FAIL cost £469m

Public Accounts Committee slams fire service IT project

High performance access to file storage

Failure to understand IT was one of the core reasons for what the Public Accounts Committee has called "one of the worst cases of project failure in many years".

FireControl – the attempt to rationalise 45 fire service control rooms into nine regional control centres – was cancelled in December 2010 after six years and the loss of £469m with none of its goals achieved and eight of the new centres lying empty.

The Department for Communities and Local Government left decisions on the IT and staff training side of the project too late, said the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report, leaving employees confused and the project out of sync. The first building was three months from completion when the IT provider was finally appointed.

Other serious mistakes included the failure to adequately supervise the project, a heavy reliance on consultants and rushing the project through before allowing for adequate costing and checks.

In the report, criticism was leveled at department officials for awarding the £200m IT contract to EADS Defence & Security Systems – a defence company without any background in providing emergency services:

The Department awarded the IT contract to a company with no direct experience of supplying the emergency services and who mostly relied on sub-contractors over which the Department had no visibility or control.

The design of the contract was also lambasted:

The poorly designed IT contract lacked early milestones or mechanisms to effectively manage prime or sub-contractor performance. The Department allowed the contractor to deviate from the agreed approach, and when problems did emerge, it did not take timely corrective action.

And the commissioning department seriously underestimated the human management issues involved in training staff to use the new technology.

The Department mistakenly assumed that the delivery of the IT system would be straightforward and could be developed through a standardised off-the-shelf product.

In fact, the technology was very complex, requiring 46 local fire services to standardise the way they operated. The failure to deliver the technology in an acceptable timeframe was the reason for the project’s termination.

The project has been officially cancelled, but local fire services are receiving a further £83m to achieve some of the goals of standardisation set out in 2004.

The full report is available on the Public Accounts Committee Website. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.