"Catastrophic failure and weak management" says report

PUBLISHED: 17:11 20 September 2011 | UPDATED: 17:11 20 September 2011

Fire hydrant and fire engine

Fire hydrant and fire engine

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"In fact the failure was so catastrophic that the report notes that 'this is one of the worst cases of project failure that the Committee has seen in many years."

A PARLIAMENTARY watchdog has delivered a devastating attack on the failed Regional Fire Control Centres programme.

NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay and his predecessor Malcolm Moss had joined forces to spotlight growing concerns over the escalating costs of the project which had included a new centre based at Waterbeach near Ely.

The empty Waterbeach centre alone was at one stage haemorrhaging £160,000 a month and overall, before it was scrapped by the Coalition Government, the project nationwide had lost half a billion pounds.

Now the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee has published its report on the doomed fire control centres programme – which should have created eight regional centres- and lambasted those involved in setting it up.

Mr Barclay has been on the cross party committee delving into the wreckage of the abandoned scheme which he claimed today “was flawed from the start”.

He said the committee had found the project had “weak management, failed to deliver its IT, was not even wanted by most fire authorities, and no one has been held accountable for a scandalous waste of money.

“In fact the failure was so catastrophic that the report notes that ‘this is one of the worst cases of project failure that the Committee has seen in many years.’”

He added: “This was a pet project of Lord Prescott as part of his desire to impose regionalisation across England, although I doubt his Lordship who is a fan of using Twitter will be tweeting about it today.

Adrian Clarke from the Fire Brigades Union said they had been the one organisation calling for a rethink of the regional control policy.

He said: “I don’t want to be in this position but we have been saying this would happen right from the start back in 2004.

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