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London Mayor’s oversight committee considers ESN progress

David Bicknell Published 19 July 2017

Meeting of key organisations involved in Emergency Services Network told Home Office is considering new milestones for the project

 

The Mayor of London’s GLA Oversight Committee met yesterday to discuss the implications for London of the planned Emergency Services Network (ESN).

It learned that the Home Office is considering new project milestones for ESN, which it is understood, are likely to emerge later this year.  

The meeting , attended by all the key organisations involved in ESN, including the Home Office, Transport for London (TfL), the Metropolitan Police Service, the London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service and the Ambulance Radio Programme, discussed ESN in the context of recent criticism of the programme by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)

The PAC has warned that without solutions to technology and delay issues, the emergency services may not be able to communicate with each other between March 2020, when Airwave is scheduled to stop working, and September 2020, when the transition to ESN is complete. 

In a statement after the meeting, Len Duvall, chair of the GLA Oversight Committee said, “We are aware of the Public Accounts Committee warnings about delay issues with a transition from Airwave to the Emergency Services Network (ESN).

“Today we examined high-level progress with the development of the ESN in London, speaking to the Home Office, Emergency Services and Transport for London (TfL). We understand the reasons for the delays and in the main, they are due to the challenges in developing this new system and testing it to make sure it meets the needs of the emergency services.”

He added, “This programme is hugely important to the capital and it is imperative that we get it right.  Delays will increase costs – but when it comes to the safety of Londoners, no corners should be cut.  That said, any delays will have cost implications for the public purse.  We await the announcement of new project milestones and will ensure we keep a close eye on the progress of this essential safety communications programme.

“In particular, we will be watching TfL’s progress delivering ESN on the London Underground. To date, TfL has struggled to deliver large scale transport programmes on time and on budget. TfL is now responsible for delivering an IT project on London’s tubes and tunnels.  It must ensure that it has the right IT and commercial skills to deliver this crucial programme.”

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