Regional fire control centre in Wakefield branded a “complete failure”

Regional Fire Control Centre, Paragon Business village, Wakefield which control centre could be left empty after MPs tabled a motion to have it scrapped.
Regional Fire Control Centre, Paragon Business village, Wakefield which control centre could be left empty after MPs tabled a motion to have it scrapped.

AN ill-fated scheme to centralise 999 fire calls in to a regional centre in Wakefield was branded a “complete failure” this week.

A multi-million pound fire control centre is standing idle at Paragon Business Village after the government pulled the plug on its FiReControl project.

Under the scheme, 46 fire and rescue centres were being replaced by nine regional hubs.

But IT problems and spiralling costs meant the scheme was scrapped by the coalition government last year. The scheme should have cost £120m but £469m has been spent on it to date.

In a damning report into the scheme, the Public Accounts Committee said it was likely that only five of the nine national centres would eventually be used by fire services. The report said: “The committee considers this to be an extraordinary failure of leadership.”

Committee chairman Margaret Hodge said the project was rushed without proper understanding of costs or risks.

She said: “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.”