In today’s document outlining the new coalition government’s programme for government there is a short comment about the fire services, namely that the government will “stop plans to force regionalisation of the fire service.”
Whether this refers to the FiReControl project or Prescott’s wishes for a merging of the existing 46 English fire services into 9 regions is unclear. Personally I hope that this does not spell the end of FiReControl.
As I’ve said before, the case for FiReControl is very strong – as a nation we would have far a better response to major emergencies were an effective FiReControl system implemented. As ever, the problem is that the procurement of the technology for this project was fatally flawed from day 1 (see FiReControl – a catalogue of poor judgement and mismanagement ).
Whilst the incoming government will inevitably focus on the costs of the project, and the potential savings from cancelling the project, I hope that it doesn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The current project may be flawed, but the underlying ideas and vision aren’t. If the current project is to be cancelled, let’s hope that the vision remains, and that it is taken forward more effectively and efficiently in a well-specified project with strong user engagement.