15th March – update
Following a collective meeting on Thursday 9th March with FRS senior users and Systel, we can confirm that Systel have committed to ongoing regular communications with both the NFCC and UK Systel users to ensure consistent and up to date messaging is conveyed to the sector.
The meetings will be scheduled to take place around the 1st of each month. The next scheduled meeting shall be Tuesday 4th April 2023.
Who are Systel?
Systel, established 35 years ago, currently provides Control Room solutions to a small number of UK Fire services.
In addition, they hold c.47% of the French Fire Service control room market (this includes joint Fire and Ambulances for 4 clients) and provide other clients in several countries such as Republic of Ireland, Belgium, Monaco and Switzerland.
What we need to know
In November 2022 it was announced that Systel had voluntarily filed a case for ‘Redressement Judiciaire’ under the French Business court, due to undergoing financial difficulties, with a 6 month observation period.
To be clear, this is not the same as UK law when a company goes into Administration.
- Systel are now under the protection of the French Business Court, which means:
- Any debts, taxes and liabilities are temporarily ‘frozen’ for an observation period of 6 months (and a possible further 6 months if required);
- Systel to demonstrate that they are a financially viable company over that period;
- Fully transparent accounting to be reported to the Business Court on a monthly basis to evidence profitability and sustainability during the observation period;
- Systel are re-organising and operating a smarter and leaner business model, with a closer focus on commercials, which also implies renegotiation of existing DCS purchase orders and some maintenance contracts;
- In early May 2023, Systel is seeking to exit the Business Court arrangement if they continue as they have been to date, and continue trading.
What does this mean for FRS with Systel control room solutions?
Whilst this has understandably caused nervousness within our Sector, it should be noted that Systel are positive that there is no risk to any existing control room provisions due to the above and have mitigations in place to ensure continued services.
Let’s engage together with Systel…
Systel are not attending the BAPCO event in Coventry this week given the current circumstances.
Systel are however inviting all Senior members of their UK customer base to join a meeting this week on 9 March to talk through the above and understand directly from the Systel Senior Management team what they are doing to mitigate issues, which will include a question-and-answer session.
This meeting will be attended by NFCC and Home Office colleagues who are working with Systel to understand the impacts to the UK Fire Sector. Please note that other countries shall have a separate engagement session with Systel.
Despite all the challenges, Systel has confirmed their intention to continue to operate in the UK market and are planning ahead to respond to future tenders in the UK.
Further official information shall be disseminated via the NFCC and Procurement Hub.