Moratorium causes massive business disruption.(Procurement Update)

The moratorium on procurement imposed since last November has left the Fire Service supply industry in a state of limbo and feeling ostracised by government. As concern has risen FIRE has campaigned to lobby Parliament, gaining full support from the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety Group for a meeting with the Minister, and has so far elicited an early day motion supported by 63 members across the House calling for a 'constructive dialogue'

Last November government placed a block on major procurement by fire and rescue services in advance of a policy on national procurement guidance being issued alongside the National Framework No such guidance was issued in the Framework and businesses now have to wait until the autumn to determine their fate.

Conscious of the problems this moratorium on procurement had caused, the Federation of British Fire Organisations organised a seminar in the House of Commons on April 26 (see FIRE, June pgs 7, 10-11) supported by the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety Group. This gave manufacturers an opportunity to voice their concerns. Unfortunately ODPM ministers were unable to at tend the event and no officials were present to listen to the concerns of delegates.

It was clear that few disagreed with the government's overall policy, the problem being with the lengthy delays in purchasing equipment making it impossible for the many specialist manufacturers to plan ahead (see FIRE July pgs 6,7). This could well cripple sections of what has hitherto been a successful and innovative industry, parts of which also have a profitable export market. This mounting alarm led to the raising of the Early Day Motion 1466, supported by 63 MPs from all parties.

'That this House regrets the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's lack of communication with the Fire and Rescue Service supply industry over the development of a national procurement strategy; fears that a moratorium on major procurement will both impair the Service's capability and threaten the future of many specialist small and medium sized companies across the United Kingdom; and urges the Government to adopt a constructive dialogue with manufacturers on the new procurement rules and official guidance that sustains competition and encourages innovation in equipping a modern Fire and Rescue Service'. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.