Four fire and rescue services join forces to create PSN-compliant network

Four fire and rescue services have collaborated on setting up a Public Sector Network-compliant wide area network to save money and improve connectivity with each other and the wider public sector.

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Four fire and rescue services have collaborated on setting up a Public Sector Network-compliant wide area network to save money and improve connectivity with each other and the wider public sector.

The East Coast & Hertfordshire Control Room Consortium (ECHCRC) has seen the fire and rescue services of Hertfordshire, Humberside, Lincolnshire and Norfolk join forces on the project.

They have signed a managed service infrastructure deal with Updata which has seen the consortium’s emergency control rooms joined together. Updata is also also providing perimeter security, remote access and application security services in a contract worth £1.2 million over five years.

Following the abandonment of the government’s Regional Control Centre initiative in December 2010, the government had offered funding to look at ways of providing improved network resilience and more efficient ways of working.

Hertfordshire, Humberside, Lincolnshire and Norfolk received funding in March 2012 and formed the ECHCRC. The resilient PSN-compliant network will initially connect each of the services’ control rooms, including the control room data centres located in Hertfordshire and Humberside.

ECHCRC procured through the Public Services Network Connectivity framework and awarded the contract to Updata in October 2013.

Helen Dowse, programme manager at ECHCRC, said: "Lincolnshire and Humberside services have always provided mutual assistance and there has been collaboration between Norfolk and Hertfordshire for quite some time, so ECHCRC is a natural partnership for all."

She said: "Designing our own collaborative solution based on proven sustainable technologies ensures it is tailored to meet our joint and individual needs and will mitigate many risks and reduce costs."

Dowse said the new network removes any single-point of failure, ensuring far greater resilience. In the future, the consortium will be able to "dynamically mobilise resources", and "improve asset utilisation", Dowse added.