A letter from Sir Philip Rutnam, permanent secretary at the Home Office, together with oral testimony during a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing on 10 October has provided some additional details on the status of the project to roll out the Emergency Services Network (ESN).
In the letter (dated 8 October), Rutnam wrote that “We expect the first versions of critical voice and data products to be available from early 2019 with the final version of the product available by Autumn 2020.” He noted that the original plan was to start user transition in September 2017, which was subsequently shifted back by nine months due to contract changes.
Rutnam added that the review of the project has been completed and that it “concluded that ESMCP remains the right strategic approach to replacing Airwave and the programme continues to represent good value to money for the taxpayer. The review also concluded there is growing confidence in the technical viability of the solution, particularly given the improved software solution now being deployed. The programme team and governance has also been strengthened.” He then mentioned the need for the incremental delivery model that was announced on 21 September.
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