Council pushes for creation of co-located multi-agency control room at Inverness

The Leader of The Highland Council Councillor Drew Hendry has revealed an exciting new proposal which could see The Highland Council co-locating with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, NHS Highland, Police Scotland, and possibly other partners such as the Scottish Ambulance Service and Scottish Water in a new control centre hub in Inverness.

The suggestion is that the agencies share new premises in the city, each having their own control centre within the hub.

This, they say, would provide the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service with their third strategic control room for Scotland and also further demonstrate the good practice in the Highlands and Islands of public agencies sharing services/accommodation and delivering services efficiently and collaboratively.

Council Leader Hendry has presented the proposal to Pat Watters, Chair, Scottish Fire Board on behalf of the partners.

He has already discussed strategic plans for the support services of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and with all other local authority Leaders in the Highlands and Islands as well as raising this matter at a recent meeting of the Convention of the Highlands and Islands. He recently met with Pat Watters, Chair, Scottish Fire Board to outline the Council’s proposal for a new control room centre in Inverness.

In a letter to Mr Watters on behalf of the Highland and Islands’ councils, Councillor Hendry wrote: “We do recognise the need for SFRS to review its organisational arrangements and property requirements especially given the current financial constraints. Indeed, we have been undertaking similar reviews and share the vision of the SFRS for innovation, efficiency in the delivery of high quality public services. We welcome the decision to locate an ICT hub, stores depot and fully functioning workshop in the Highlands and see this as a very positive development. In relation to the future laydown of control rooms, we were pleased at the decision of the Board to retain a third control room which will provide the SFRS with enhanced resilience and capability.

“In connection with this we have prepared a proposal for the development of a co-located multi-agency control room in Inverness. This approach will build on the current and proven shared service emergency response arrangements that The Highland Council already has with Police Scotland and NHS Highland.

“We have a legacy of delivering co-located and shared services and are seen as an exemplar in collaboration with its partners. We believe that co-locating the control room in Inverness will enable SFRS to meet its strategic aims and demonstrate its commitment to communities in the north of Scotland. It will provide an opportunity to create a highly effective multi-agency emergency control centre.”

Initially the proposal would involve co-locating individual telephony response services and tasking systems, including out of hours cover, with potential - over time - for the integration of these services.  This approach would consolidate the current variety of shared service emergency response arrangements already in place across Highland Council, Police Scotland, NHS Highland, Scottish Ambulance Service and Scottish Water.

31 Oct 2013