The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Command and Control Mobilising System (CCMS)
65. The SFRS has three control rooms each with old CCMS systems which are at end-of-life. The risk of system failure is acknowledged by the Service and is high on the SFRS risk register. The implementation of a Systel system would have replaced the old systems. Contrary to its plans, the Service is in a situation which requires it to start new procurement and subsequently an implementation process, whilst maintaining the current systems for longer than had planned.
66. The SFRS has two support contracts with external providers to support its current systems. Due to the age of the systems, one of the contractors will only commit to a ‘reasonable endeavours only’ basis of rectifying issues.
67. The contingency measures the SFRS has put in place provides assurance that 999 calls will continue to be answered. However, in the event of a total system failure, the manual work arounds to carry out functions of the OC may impact significantly on staffing, depending on the length of time a CCMS is down.
68. There has been testing of evacuation and business continuity plans. However, it is understood the scenario of a prolonged downtime of any CCMS has not been tested, the potential for which is foreseeable and should be considered by the SFRS’ management.
69. In order to maintain and prolong the CCMS systems, the SFRS ICT department arrange careful management of system updates assisted by external support contractors.
70. The Service has taken advice on improving resilience of systems by optimising power supply arrangements and procuring a disaster recovery option for two of the systems.
71. The management of system updates and limiting the addition of data within some elements of systems has resulted in the creation of operational workarounds for control staff, the level of which vary between control rooms.
72. The three CCMS systems in place are not compatible with changes which will occur toward the end of 2025. These are the ISDN switch off and the Home Office implementation of the Emergency Services Network (ESN) to replace the Airwave radio system. The replacement technology to accommodate this must be fully established prior to this date.
73. Establishing replacement CCMSs to the above timescales appears achievable, but with time constraints now at a critical level, it is important that the SFRS management provide appropriate support and resources to the CCMS project team and completion of this project as a priority.
74. Due to the tight timescales to complete the CCMS project, skill-set and continuity of the project team is an important factor which should be considered by SFRS. The Service should evaluate requirements against the skill-set available to support their focus of achieving the sourcing and implementation of a fit for purpose CCMS within the time deadline.