CEO Blog

CEO Blog

Depending on who you listen to and what you believe, it’s all change in Government and uncertainty in direction; or strong leadership and concentration on direction with a clear message.  Whatever the truth turns out to be, there is no escaping the fact that issues remain within Public safety technology and communications.  The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has published another critical report about the delivery of ESN with some stringent directions and requests.  A lot of work is going on across the country to deliver the project and there is no denying its necessity.  We hope the focus on delivery remains, at a time when our Government has so much else it is planning to do.

I’m delighted to confirm we will have two sessions on ESN at our BAPCO Satellite event in Newcastle on 13th & 14th November.  The update will be delivered by ESN Deployment Director and BAPCO Executive Committee member, Becca Jones.  The second session will be an Overview of Operational Assurance, also known as ‘How will we know that it works?’.  Make sure you register for the event.  You may also want to take advantage of the discounted accommodation options we have arranged this year with some of the local hotels. More information is available on our website.

At the same time as we are all focussing on the delivery of ESN, BT are working on something equally as important, the update to the UK’s 999 system.  The system we all currently use is based on some quite old technology and doesn’t support many of the ways of communicating and passing information that are common in today’s society.  We know the initial plan by BT is to ensure like for like functionality is delivered with the new technology but we are more interested in what else will be delivered and when?  In order to answer these questions, or at least explore the issues, BAPCO held a Next Generation 999 (NG999) event at the Army and Navy Club in London in June.

The event began with a number of speakers, with the later sessions dedicated to Round Table discussion of the themes raised and the issues delegates thought relevant.  We concluded with a summary session with further Q&As, led by BAPCO President John Anthony MBE.

We are compiling a White Paper from the event that will capture the main topics raised and the issues discussed.  The paper will be available to all.  Our keynote speaker, Darryl Keen ML, Chief of Hertfordshire FRS and Chair of the UK’s 999 Liaison Committee (999LC) will use it to highlight the issues to Chief Officer colleagues in all of the emergency services and to stimulate further debate and action in this important area.

This was a different type of event for BAPCO with its focus on a single theme, rather than a multi session conference supported by an exhibition. The format allowed us to explore NG999 much more deeply than would otherwise have been possible.  It also encouraged much better and wider audience participation, something we often struggle for at our traditional styled events.  The production of a White Paper will ensure the knowledge from the day is available to a wider audience for use.  In this case, that audience will include Chief Officer organisations and Government itself through the 999LC.

I am keen for BAPCO to hold more of these events.  It’s a vital part of what we are.  The ability to bring together influential and knowledgeable people to debate an important issue and to share their knowledge and opinions is part of what makes a difference in Public Safety Technology and Communications.  If you have an idea for a subject you think should be discussed, would like to speak at an event or could work with us to host an event, please get in touch.

In my last blog I talked briefly about the BAPCO Strategic Plan and Implementation Framework that will drive our efforts as an association for the next three years.  Members of our Executive Committee are working on the various strands of the implementation as the whole piece continues to take shape.  In some areas we need your help and input, Events is one of these.

We are keen to expand beyond our now traditional two events per year and to make what we do, more accessible to all of our members.  We will do this by delivering events in a number of formats and at different times.  We’ll also ensure the information from events is available afterwards for people to use and potentially comment on.

There is a lot of work involved in any event but they all share key components; subject, format, location, speaker(s).  Matt Leat from the MCA and our Executive Committee is leading on this work for us.  Matt would like to hear your opinion and ideas on any of these strands.

  • What subjects should we discuss or do you need more information on?
  • Who do you want to hear from in the field of Public Safety Technology & Communications?
  • What format works best for you?  Do you like to attend events, participate online, watch something later?
  • Is there a location you know of that works for events and presentations that is a bit different, a bit unusual that we could use?

On the subject of who or what you want to hear about, we are finalising the programme for our November 2019 Satellite Series Event at St James’ Park in Newcastle.  We’ll be publishing an Official Call for Papers but if you have an idea for a session, send us details and we’ll consider it.  Remember, if you’re thinking about it, you won’t be the only one, so tell us about it.

BAPCO President John Anthony and I are heading to the APCO International conference in Baltimore next month.  There is always lots of interest from colleagues in what is happening in BAPCO and in UK Public Safety Communications and IT.  We’ll be spreading the message of BAPCO as a thriving association, committed to our members and with a strong purpose and direction.

Thank you for your continued support, whatever you do for Public Safety. 

Ian Thompson


25th July 2019