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National Emergency Services Network delay will cost £1.3million a day

The new Emergency Services Network (ESN) [1] has been delayed and figures from the National Audit Office suggest that a 12 month nationwide delay in the time taken to transition from Airwave to ESN will cost £475 million. [2] This means that every day of delay to transition will cost approximately £1.3 million.

The ESN is being implemented across the country, but it poses particular challenges in London because of the need for the emergency services to communicate on the Underground.

Information Technology projects are inherently risky and the GLA Oversight Committee has recognised that delays will increase costs – but the scale of those costs is concerning.  The Committee has written a letter to Sadiq Khan to flag up its worries about how and when the new network will be implemented.

The Committee recommends that the Mayor:

  • Monitors progress of the ESN at a national level, to ensure that the current delays do not put the safety of Londoners at risk, and that a suitable solution for London is developed. 
  • Considers whether the GLA Group has sufficiently strengthened its procurement processes in order to support the delivery of ongoing and future projects. 

Len Duvall AM, Chair of the GLA Oversight Committee said:

“We have been reassured that the Home Office is working closely with the emergency services to deliver this programme in a way that poses minimal risk for London and the safety of our citizens.

Nevertheless, we believe there is a need for the Mayor to continue to monitor the situation, and in particular, keep the pressure on the Home Office and TfL to ensure they deliver a solution that works for London.

For our part, the GLA Oversight Committee will also monitor ongoing progress of the programme with a view to identifying any future risks.”