Airwave, UK Broadband Networks and Vodafone no longer in the running for ESN contract

Intense competition between bidders for the contracts to run the new Emergency Services Network (ESN) is offering the prospect of significant cost savings for the taxpayer, the Home Office has revealed.

Eight organisations will go forward to negotiation stage for the three Lots of the contract, down from the previous 11.

The main part of the contract, Lot 3 – to provide a resilient mobile services network for the police, fire and rescue and ambulance services – sees EE and Telefónica going forward to the negotiation stage. Airwave Solutions, UK Broadband Networks and Vodafone are no longer in the running.

With evaluation of bids complete, James Brokenshire, Minister for Security and Immigration, said intense competition to win the contracts, particularly in Lot 3, has produced some impressive technical bids combined with the prospect of significant cost savings for the taxpayer:

He said, “It is clear that the procurement process for the new ESN has resulted in intense competition and delivered bids from the mobile industry which are beyond our initial expectations. Not only do they match the operational requirements set by the emergency services but also offer the prospect of significant cost savings for the taxpayer over the existing system.

“The intense competition for these contracts is leading directly to what we have always promised: an enhanced, flexible and more affordable communication system for the emergency services.

“The new Emergency Services Network, which will replace the current communications system used by the police, will provide a system which is better and smarter while also saving the emergency services around £1bn over the next 15 years.

“I am confident the organisations we have invited to the next stage will create a communications network that is the best in the world.”

The new services will replace the existing system from 2017 as the current contracts expire. ESN is expected to enhance a commercial network to deliver broadband data services. The current service, Airwave, is run on a private mobile radio system.

Minister of the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude said, “Our long term plan for the economy means we are opening up Government business and creating an environment where strong competition can flourish. We want our emergency services to have access to world-leading mobile broadband communications and modern networks and tools, so they can deliver vital public services at significantly less cost to the taxpayer.”

The Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) is a Home Office led, cross-departmental programme set up to provide cheaper, better and smarter communications services for the emergency services, called the Emergency Services Network (ESN).
The contracts for the existing emergency services systems provided by Airwave Solutions Ltd will begin to expire in September 2016.

Organisations going forward to negotiation include:

Lot 1 – (Delivery Partner) Atkins, KBR, Lockheed Martin and Mott MacDonald
Lot 2 – (User Services) HP and Motorola
Lot 3 – (Mobile Services) EE and Telefónica