24 Oct 2013

The East Coast & Hertfordshire Control Room Consortium (ECHCRC)

The East Coast & Hertfordshire Control Room Consortium (ECHCRC) – a group of four fire and rescue (FRSs) services from Hertfordshire , Humberside, Lincolnshire and Norfolk – has selected Updata Infrastructure (Updata).

The WAN will be built to PSN accredited standards and will enable far greater asset utilisation and operational efficiency, help increase community safety and lay the foundations for wider shared services amongst the group and with their respective Local Authorities. Updata will also provide perimeter security, remote access and application security services to deliver a secure data communication framework between each of the four control rooms.  The contract is worth £1.2m over 5 years.
Following the abandonment of the Government’s Regional Control Centre initiative in December 2010, the Government offered funding to look at ways of providing improved resilience and more efficient ways of working. Hertfordshire, Humberside, Lincolnshire and Norfolk received funding in March 2012 and formed the ECHCRC. The new highly resilient, PSN compliant network will initially connect each of the services’ control rooms, including the control room data centres located in Hertfordshire and Humberside. ECHCRC procured through the Public Services Network Connectivity framework and awarded the contract to Updata in October 2013.
Helen Dowse, Programme Manager ECHCRC, comments: “Lincolnshire and Humberside services have always provided mutual assistance and there has been collaboration between Norfolk and Hertfordshire for quite some time, so ECHCRC is a natural partnership for all. Designing our own collaborative solution based on proven sustainable technologies ensures it is tailored to meet our joint and individual needs and thus will mitigate many risks and reduce costs. The solution design will provide an ICT roadmap to satisfy future demands by conjoining the control room requirements with the wider business needs of the FRSs. The new network removes any single-point of failure, ensuring far greater resilience and enables us to collectively work closer together.  In the future, we will be able to dynamically mobilise resources, helping us improve our asset utilisation.”
The network will also provide the infrastructure to enable shared functions in the future.
Helen Dowse adds: “From the outset, the network will connect into our respective county infrastructures, all of which are PSN compliant, so for us PSN was the best route forward. A range of development options will be implemented to improve service delivery and resilience and to exploit the opportunities of sharing new technology.  Infrastructure development will be conducted incrementally utilising existing synergies and ensuring scalability to make sure key enabling work is manageable and deliverable.“
Vic Baldorino, co-founder and director, Updata, comments: “The collaborative approach taken by ECHCRC should be applauded. They have taken an incredibly intuitive view of their network and looked at how it can provide the perfect starting point for a whole host of wider initiatives, beyond just networking. We are pleased to be working with the Consortium and look forward to assisting them in realising their innovative vision.”

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