North Wales Fire and Rescue Service deals with some 108,000 calls a year, of which around 17,000 are emergency calls.
Managing the procurement and implementation of a new command-and-control system
Serving an area of 2400 square miles, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has to mobilise its teams across a rural area that serves a population of nearly 700 000, as well as hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Its mission is to make North Wales a safer place to live, work and visit, and it therefore needed to renew its ageing command-and-control system to ensure that firefighters continue to be deployed quickly and efficiently in response to emergency calls.
Any new control room system also has to be ready for the transition to the new Emergency Services Network (ESN) – part of the next generation of critical mobile communications for the UK’s blue-light services, which will start rolling out from 2018.
Mason Advisory was engaged to help manage this important project and to bring our industry knowledge and experience to ensure a smooth transition.
From the outset, we worked closely with NWFRS, helping define the specification for the new command-and-control system and then handling the procurement process through to the point of contract award. Our tasks included drafting the tender documentation and managing the e-tender portal throughout the pre-qualification and invitation to tender (ITT) stages; assisting NWFRS in reviewing all bids received to determine a preferred supplier; negotiating with the preferred supplier to secure the best value contract for all parties; and ensuring that the contract deliverables were clear and agreed before formal signing.
During the technical implementation stage, NWFRS asked Mason Advisory to work closely with the local team to provide project oversight and specialist technical expertise to allow NWFRS resources to focus on day-to-day operations. We managed the engagement between the operational and IT teams to achieve a successful go-live. Our team also supported NWFRS in complying with relevant codes of connection and in preparing for its IT Health Check ahead of the move to the ESN.
We also assisted NWFRS in the technical design and deployment of its integrated communication control system (ICCS), which will be a shared system with North Wales Police.
Our work with NWFRS has enabled it to successfully manage this pioneering project, which is being closely watched by other emergency services around the UK. NWFRS now has a control room system in service that is ready to meet the requirements of future interfaces, including ESN.
“I called upon the expertise of Mason Advisory to ensure that the new command-and-control system was procured to meet the current and future business requirements of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service. They were key partners in the management of that procurement process, which included negotiating with the preferred supplier to obtain best value, and ensuring that project deliverables were clearly understood and agreed before contract award.”
Head of ICT, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service