Landmark shared services agreement announced

BT, the MOD and Firebuy have announced an innovative shared services agreement designed to enable the UK’s Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) to procure IT and communications services more efficiently.

Mar 8, 2007
By David Howell
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BT, the MOD and Firebuy have announced an innovative shared services agreement designed to enable the UK’s Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) to procure IT and communications services more efficiently.

Under the terms of the agreement, Firebuy can use the leverage of the purchasing power of the Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service (DFTS), circa £250M per year agreement between BT and the MOD for the delivery of IT and communications.

FRAs using this MOD agreement can purchase a wide range of communications solutions at reduced cost, including secure managed fixed line telephony, managed mobile services, flexible/home-working support, and video and audio conferencing. They will also benefit from a fully managed service, meaning that BT will deliver 24/7 support for any communications services purchased through Firebuy.

As part of the development of this shared service agreement, BT conducted a study of ten FRAs, to calculate potential cost savings available across the English and Welsh Fire Authorities. The study found that the DFTS agreement could save in the region of £400k on fixed telephony alone, almost 20 per cent of their total annual spend.

Colin Francis of Firebuy, said: “Until now, procurement within the Fire & Rescue Services has been fragmented and FRAs have not had the opportunity to combine their purchasing requirements. A more strategic approach to procurement will support better long-term financial planning for the sector and by partnering with the DFTS agreement delivered by BT, FRAs will ultimately save money for reinvestment in frontline services.”

Mark Quartermaine, managing director, Government Services, BT Global Services UK, said: “By delivering access to the DFTS for the UK’s Fire & Rescue Services we are providing a practical framework for cutting costs, whilst at the same time ensuring FRAs have access to industry-leading communications services.

“Reliable communications are a mission-critical element of the Fire Service’s infrastructure and the improved service levels delivered through this agreement will ensure FRAs receive maximum value for their investment. DFTS will not only act as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for the secure communications needs of the Fire Service, it will also improve the quality of service provided and support interoperability amongst FRAs.”

Rear Admiral Rees Ward of the MOD, said: “There are great operational synergies between the UK Fire & Rescue Services and the MOD. Communications are critical in an environment where every second counts and, through DFTS, the MOD and BT have created a framework that delivers the level of support required by the Fire Service and other Government Departments. DFTS has great expertise in managing some of the challenges faced by FRS, such as multiple networks and the need for interoperability, and I believe FRAs will benefit greatly from this experience.”

For FRAs looking to capitalise on this agreement, DFTS will conduct an analysis of current spend in order to demonstrate potential cost savings. DFTS will hold regular review meetings with Firebuy to ensure that all FRAs are on track to realise their target savings.

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