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Home Office revises ESN device procurement aims

Neil Merrett Published 17 August 2016

Fresh PIN issued ahead of further market engagement to obtain devices, accessories and support services with aims to commence procurement from Q2 2017


The Home Office has issued a revised prior information notice (PIN) for communications equipment including devices and support services that will underpin its Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) that is due to be completed in 2019.

The notice relates to ongoing efforts to create a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) that can be used by the three core emergency services and other organisations and individuals approved to use the incoming Emergency Services Network (ESN) as part of the ESMCP.

Valued at between £30m and £150m, the ESN devices DPS opportunity is intended to last a minimum of four years, although the final terms of a possible contract are still to be agreed.

Under the programme, the Home Office intends to move over to the ESN as a replacement for outgoing Airwave system that will support secure communications for key public services like police, fire and healthcare bodies.

After publishing an earlier notice this year outlining how it will obtain handheld devices, managed services and accessories for the programme in March, an updated document has now been issued with a revised list of requirements for suppliers.  These include an amended number of core services and types of equipment sought from suppliers with initial procurement anticipated to go ahead in the second quarter of 2017.

The initial PIN has set a target of June next year to commence an initial wave of purchases through the planned agreement – raising questions over the possible time to test new equipment.

“There is a requirement for 1500 production standard trials devices of various types for operational trials and pilots starting mid 2017. These trials devices will be procured incrementally, using the DPS, for the operational trials and pilots,” said the notice.

“There will also be up to circa 300,000 production standard devices required for the 3 Emergency Services (3ES) to transition from Airwave to ESN with the first procurement starting in the second quarter of 2017, prior to the start of the first regional transition in September 2017. There will be 12 regions with a staggered start and each region takes up to 12 months to transition. Transition is forecast to last up to 27 months and should be completed by December 31, 2019."

Having already undertaken market engagement events since the first notice was published earlier this year, the Home Office said that it had reassessed needs for the ESN compatible devices, with interested bidders invited to attend a further briefing event scheduled for September 13 to outline proposed changes.

An initial eight core requirements outlined in the earlier PIN have now been replaced with the following nine new categories:

  • Handheld devices including standard and ruggedised, single and dual mode LTE and TETRA devices
  • Direct device to device communications
  • Active accessories that include batteries
  • Passive accessories such as cases and service carriage on clothing
  • Vehicle devices that includes ESN modems and gateway devices
  • Vehicle accessories
  • Possible vehicle installation design and implementation services
  • Managed services
  • Unified services representing any combination of the previous categories

Late last month, the Home Office insisted that plans to move over to ESN were on track to commence from 2017 and would not be impacted by the outcome of the EU referendum vote earlier this year.

Related articles:

Home Office insists ESN 2019 switchover on track

Home Office mulls limited recast of Emergency Services Network Lot 4

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