Dedicated followers of fashion: what's in and out at this year's integrated clothing project: as FireBuy prepares to go live, our reporter looks at one of its major concerns--the Integrated Clothing Project--a huge project that will transform procurement in the Fire Service. Procurement has taken a rocky road over recent years, but is the future any clearer or better?(Integrated Clothing Project)

TENSION BETWEEN SUPPLIERS and consumers in the commercial world is a fact of life. The complaints of milk farmers having their prices reduced as a result of relative bargaining power of the supermarket giants is an example of the dog eat dog approach of a free market economy.

A national procurement body for the Fire and Rescue Services should, if the theory holds, reduce overall procurement costs and help deliver the modernisation of the Fire Service.

The FireBuy project is the vehicle for the delivery of fire procurement and as a corporate entity, should have been up and running by now, but has been delayed as a result of the recent general election. Consultations have come and gone and now the hiatus follows as the mechanics of FireBuy are being put into place.

A Uniform Approach

The integrated clothing project is the first and most advanced project in the FireBuy business plan. A uniform approach to core PPE makes sense as it should derive the economies of scale associated with the purchase of over 100,000 sets of clothing. "This project also aims to eliminate the disparate approach to the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other clothing in the Fire and Rescue Service," says a spokesperson for the ODPM. …

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