The Fire Brigades Union has slammed the “folly” of the abandoned FireControl project, which it said was still costing taxpayers £50,000 a day.
Fire Control, outsourced to supplier EADS, had been intended to merge 46 local fire control centres to nine ‘state of the art’ centres linked by advanced IT systems.
As the National Audit Office issued a report stating that the project had failed because of mismanagement and a failure to consult users, the FBU noted that eight out of the nine control centres created by the programme will remain empty as rent is paid for the 24 year duration of the lease.
“The taxpayer has been taken to the cleaners,” said FBU general secretary Matt Wrack. “Millions of pounds were thrown away on management consultants, regional project directors, change co-ordinators, project assurance directors, PR and human resource directors.”
The FBU described the expenditure on the programme as “wreckless”, given that it comes at a time when front line services are being cut.
The National Audit Office stated in its report, published today, that there had been “little end user engagement”, particularly at the start of the project.
The FBU said it was “the lone voice highlighting soaring costs, incompetence and delays”, and that “no one listened to what the professional firefighters and fire control staff were saying”.
“We were dismissed as ignorant scaremongers who didn’t know as much as the politicians, civil servants and consultants running the project,” it said.
EADS and the Department for Communities and Local Government, which ran the project, had not commented at the time of writing.