Fire authorities award £3m control system contract

South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authorities have today selected Systel as the preferred supplier of their new command and control system. The £3m contract will be signed in January 2013.

The ground-breaking joint procurement is part of a major collaboration between the two fire and rescue authorities which is mostly funded by a Government grant.  The new contract will provide the two Authorities with ongoing service and maintenance savings of £400,000 per year in total, which will be reinvested to help to protect frontline services.  The brand new, state-of-the-art equipment to receive 999 calls and mobilise emergency vehicles will be fully operational in 2014.

The two Authority chairs, Cllr Jim Andrews from South Yorkshire, and Cllr Mehboob Khan from West Yorkshire, said: “This is excellent news for local people in our counties. We are getting a high quality new system to handle 999 calls and despatch fire engines, at very little cost to local taxpayers. Additionally, the service and maintenance agreements which are built into this contract mean we will save £400,000 per year compared to our existing arrangements.”

The two Project Executives, Deputy Chief Fire Officers Steve Beckley from West Yorkshire, and Mark Shaw from South Yorkshire, said: “This new system is at the cutting edge of mobilising technology and ensures we will continue to provide a first class 999 service to our local communities. By working together we are not only delivering significant efficiencies at a time of severe financial constraint but also adding resilience for times of peak activity. The new system will operate across two control rooms in West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire where control staff will be able to answer each other’s calls and despatch each other’s fire appliances should the need arise.”

The Deputy Chiefs added: “We would like to thank the many staff who have been involved in this selection process and have worked so hard to identify the best solution for the communities of West and South Yorkshire.  The users of the new system, our Control staff, have been heavily involved in the evaluation of the systems and we know that they will be pleased with the outcome.”

Systel is an experienced French operator that already provides emergency mobilising systems to 43 fire services around the world and this is their first venture into the UK FRS market. They scored highly in all the selection criteria, competing against some established companies.

The Government grant came after the failure of their Regional Control Centre project, which was scrapped in December 2010. Fire and Rescue Authorities were instead encouraged to collaborate to bid for funding to upgrade their control systems.  In addition to the new Systel mobilising system, South and West Yorkshire will be investing in upgrades to other control room technology, outside of the Systel contract.  South Yorkshire is improving its existing Control Room facilities and West Yorkshire will be moving to a new Control Room building as part of broader investment package related to other organisational efficiencies.



Notes to Editors

  • The Government’s regional FiReControl project was terminated in December 2010
  • On 1st March 2012, the then-Fire Minister, Bob Neill MP, announced the award of £1.8m grants to the majority of English Fire & Rescue Services, for collaborative projects to upgrade their control arrangements
  • West and South Yorkshire received a combined £3.6m, mostly for a joint new control system to provide brand new technology and additional resilience to their existing arrangements
  • This contract was awarded under EU procurement rules, overseen by an independent auditor
  • The £3m contract includes a minimum five-year service and maintenance element which will save a total of £400,000 per year compared to the two Services’ existing arrangements
  • Following a recommendation from the joint project board, both South and West Yorkshire Authorities have approved the contract award in separate meetings today
  • Following a standard cooling-off period of ten days, it is expected that the contract with Systel will be signed during January 2013
  • Work to install the system will take place throughout 2013 and early 2014.