FireControl replacement projects to go ahead at fire authorities across England

Local fire authorities get slice of £74m funding to finance updates to command and control technology

More than 40 fire authorities across England have been granted a share of £74m to fund command and control projects, intended to replace the now defunct FireControl scheme.

FireControl, which was to replace the 46 fire and rescue services’ local control rooms across England with nine purpose-built regional control centres linked by a new IT system, was scrapped in December 2010.

Last year, the government announced a pool of £82.8m, £1.8m for each fire authority, to fund projects to improve the resilience, efficiency and technology of control services.

In total, 23 projects were proposed by 44 of the 46 fire and rescue authorities. The remaining two, London fire and emergency planning authority and the Isles of Scilly fire and rescue authority, already have alternative arrangements in place.

Of the 23 projects, 20 were awarded government funding of between £1.8m and £7.2m, with three proposals “requiring further work” before they can receive any allocation, according to fire minister Bob Neill.

The funding will allow the installation of differing technology across the authorities, including mobile data terminals, GIS, access to shared gazetteers and automatic vehicle location systems, which can detect the nearest vehicles to an incident and dispatch them accordingly.

The successful projects are expected to result in financial savings of more than £120m by 2021, Neill said.

The majority of the projects have been proposed by consortiums of authorities, such as the grouping of Norfolk, Humberside, Hertfordshire and Lincolnshire. For several authorities, the funding will be used to implement shared call handling and mobilisation systems between authorities, and shared data links.

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