Fire and rescue services will tap into the purchasing power of the Ministry of Defence, buying IT services through its £250m a year contract with BT, under a shared services deal.
National procurement agency Firebuy signed the agreement that will allow fire and rescue authorities across the UK to purchase IT and communications services through the existing Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service (DFTS) contract between the MoD and BT.
The agreement will cover the purchase of secure managed fixed line telephony, managed mobile services, flexible and home-working support, and video and audio conferencing. Fire and rescue authorities will also receive 24-hour support for any communications services purchased through Firebuy.
An analysis by BT of spending in 10 fire and rescue authorities, carried out during the development of the shared services deal, predicted that the fire and rescue services could save up to £400,000 on fixed telephony costs under the DFTS agreement – almost 20% of the current total annual spend.
Colin Francis of Firebuy, said: “Until now, procurement within the fire and rescue services has been fragmented and fire and rescue authorities have not had the opportunity to combine their purchasing requirements. A more strategic approach to procurement will support better long-term financial planning for the sector.”
Rear Admiral Rees Ward of the MoD, said there were “operational synergies” between fire and rescue services and the MoD. “DFTS has great expertise in managing some of the challenges faced by fire and rescue services, such as multiple networks and the need for interoperability,” he added.