To ask the Scottish Executive when Mott MacDonald Communication and Controls Division was commissioned to review the operation of fire service control rooms; what the remit of the review is; what the value is of Mott MacDonald's consultancy contract; what criteria were applied in appointing the company; how many companies bid for the contract; what Mott MacDonald's timetable is for reporting its findings, and whether the report will be made public.
An intention to review future control room arrangements in Scotland was expressed in our policy consultation paper The Scottish Fire Service of the Future published in April 2002 and confirmed in our recent publication The Scottish Fire Service: Proposals for Legislation . Mott MacDonald were commissioned in October 2003 to provide independent advice as an extension to a contract placed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The contract was placed with Mott MacDonald as they have particular experience of the very specific area of fire service control rooms. The remit of the study is as follows:
consider the impact and implications of New Dimension on the operational and management arrangements of the fire service and the associated risks, opportunities, and issues in the context of control rooms; consider the impact and implications of the consultative documents The Scottish Fire Service of the Future, The Scottish Fire Service: Proposals for Legislation and the proposed modernisation of control rooms; investigate the operational effectiveness of existing control rooms and arrangements during the industrial dispute together with lessons learned that might be derived from this experience; investigate and report on new international experience, particularly the operational outcomes of 11 September 2001 and the associated lessons that may inform any future arrangements; to explore the issues associated with electronic service delivery and the potential impact on control room operations; to make recommendations and provide an outline implementation plan for their delivery.
The value of the contract placed is commercially confidential. Mott MacDonald will submit their recommendations by early January 2004 and they will be considered, together with responses to the consultation exercise, as part of the preparations for the planned Fire Services Bill.