FiReControl slammed as one of the biggest IT failures in years

By Parliamentary reporter
20 Sep 2011 View Comments

The government's scrapped FiReControl project has been labelled "one of the worst cases of project failure in many years" by the watchdog Commons Public Accounts Committee.

Chair Margaret Hodge said: "The taxpayer has lost nearly half a billion pounds and eight of the completed regional control centres remain empty and costly – they are white elephants."

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She said the project was "fatally undermined from the start" because the Department for Communities and Local Government failed to recognise it depended on the co-operation of locally accountable and independent Fire and Rescue Services; the project was rushed without proper understanding of costs or risks; the leadership relied too much on external consultants and there was weak management from constantly changing top civil servants.

She complained: "The contract to implement a national IT system linking the control centres was not even awarded until a full three years after the project started. The contract itself was poorly designed and awarded to a company without relevant experience. The computer system was simply never delivered."

She rounded on top departmental officials, protesting: "No one has been held to account for this project failure, one of the worst we have seen for many years, and the careers of most of the senior staff responsible have carried on as if nothing had gone wrong at all and the consultants and contractor continue to work on many other government projects."

Work on FiReControl was stopped by the coalition shortly after coming to power.

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