London outsources 999 fire control service

The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority is outsourcing its 999 emergency control service to Capita.

Capita will supply a new "high-tech" 999 control system and run it on behalf of the Brigade, said the authority. The contract will run for 10 years and promises to realise over £5 million of savings over the lifetime of the contract.

"This will ensure the best possible deal for London taxpayers and allow the Brigade to focus on its core business of putting out fires, rescuing Londoners and saving lives," said the authority.

Capita has existing contracts with other police, fire and ambulance services to provide emergency service mobilising systems, but London will become the first Brigade in the country to outsource its emergency call handling.

As part of the contract, around 120 existing staff, including 999 control officers and back office staff, will be transferred to Capita.

Councillor Brian Norman, chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, said: "Outsourcing the Brigade's 999 control centre will mean people in the capital benefit from a new, high-tech system that will mobilise our firefighters to incidents even more quickly and this will be done at less cost."

The 999 emergency number is a centralised service run nationally by BT and Cable and Wireless, which sees callers transferred to the relevant call room, whether it's for an ambulance, police or fire service.

Last year the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) said it was looking for a contractor to provide new control and mobilising IT systems. The authority said it would choose to either award a contract for new software solutions, or a managed services contract. It is unclear how the 999 Capita deal fits into this initiative.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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