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Statement from GLA Oversight Committee Chair on the Emergency Services

We are aware of the Public Accounts Committee warnings about delay issues with a transition from Airwave to the Emergency Services Network (ESN). 

We examined on 18 July high-level progress with the development of the ESN in London, speaking to the Home Office, Emergency Services and Transport for London (TfL). We understand the reasons for the delays and in the main, they are due to the challenges in developing this new system and testing it to make sure it meets the needs of the emergency services. 

This programme is hugely important to the capital and it is imperative that we get it right.  Delays will increase costs – but when it comes to the safety of Londoners, no corners should be cut.  That said, any delays will have cost implications for the public purse.  We await the announcement of new project milestones and will ensure we keep a close eye on the progress of this essential safety communications programme. 

In particular, we will be watching TfL’s progress delivering ESN on the London Underground.  To date, TfL has struggled to deliver large scale transport programmes on time and on budget.  TfL is now responsible for delivering an IT project on London’s tubes and tunnels.  It must ensure that it has the right IT and commercial skills to deliver this crucial programme.”