GCN – News

GlobalData Public Sector analyst Robert Stoneman discusses plans for a £180m tender for a framework contract for the provision of Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) devices

This week the Police ICT Company (PICTCO) demonstrated their noble, if ambitious, quest for greater emergency services collaboration. Using the East Midlands Strategic Commercial Unit (EMSCU), they have issued a tender for the establishment of a multi-supplier framework for TETRA devices and accessories (lot 1) and maintenance services (lot 2).  This is aimed at helping the emergency services meet the ongoing costs of replacing devices resulting from the delayed implementation of the Emergency Services Network (ESN).

In recent weeks details have emerged of a new implementation strategy and timetable that will see the piecemeal rollout of ESN on a capability basis. This is likely to start with ESN’s data capabilities being rolled out simultaneously across several organisations, later followed by voice. Despite this, the emergency services will have to continue using the TETRA based Airwave system well into the early 2020s. PICTCO hope a coordinated approach will yield the maximum cost-effectiveness now that potential ESN related savings are several years away.

The framework is set to run for four years, more than long enough for emergency service organisations to require replacement TETRA devices. However, the headline figure of £180m is well in excess of what is practical. Emergency services procurement remains highly fragmented and PICTCO has had great difficulty in corralling spend into national frameworks. There is little to suggest this will change, so expectations need to be managed.