A government IT project aiming to centralise fire control rooms is two years behind schedule and more than 50% overbudget, according to a report from the Communities and Local Government Committee.
Firelink, which will replace UK fire service telecommunications, and FireControl, which will merge 46 control rooms into nine, had original respective completion dates of December 2007 and 2009. This has now been pushed back to June 2009 for Firelink, and 2011 for FireControl. IT cost estimates for FireControl have risen from £120m to £190m.
The Firelink project aims to connect the fire service with other emergency bodies, such as the Ministry of Defence and the Coastguard, via a digital network. It will see new radio systems fitted to 3,000 fire engines, at a cost of £350m in England and a further £50m in Wales and Scotland.
The report said, "It has been a complicated scheme to implement, both with technical innovations and the large number of stakeholders and players.
"Communities and Local Government needs to become better at co-ordinating complicated schemes involving a large number of stakeholders."