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Fire Gateway (e-Fire) National Project

The provision of Consultancy and Best practice guidance for XML, Web Services, SOA Design, e-GIF standards and WAI Accessibility Design. Responsibility for the standards and quality of all XML information assets and the logical data model, which will be captured by the e-Fire Portal and shared with the Fire and Rescue Services Community. Hyfinity acted as the Subject Matter Experts to support the e-Fire team in the procurement, design and delivery of the Portal based on XML and SOA architecture. The scope of the 'client-side technical support' role covered: XML information modelling (Schemas), web service integration scenarios, XML message exchanges, e-Forms capture and data integration.

e-Fire logo

Fire Gateway (e-Fire) is a National Project, funded by the HM Government, under the Local Government Modernisation Programme. The project is part of a radical e-Transformation programme for the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS). With the active involvement of FRS and other stakeholders, a range of exciting interactive web-based services will be produced and delivered over the Internet, for citizens and business. Each will be designed to provide a key component for FRS to use in their delivery of electronic government and to meet expectations to access public services at any time from any location. The Portal captures user requests for services such as: Home Visits and inspections, Business Risk Assessments, Community Visits, and so on. The portal identifies the appropriate Brigade and delivers the request for action via various access channels such as: online web portal access or web services integration to local Brigade systems.

XML has now become the nervous system of agile e-Gov projects. Simplifying the complexity and harnessing the true power of XML and e-Gif standards requires in-depth specialist expertise. The HM Government e-Fire team recognised the need for 'subject matter' expertise and support to ensure their approach was right from the start of the project. Hyfinity was selected to provide expert guidance, methods and support relating to XML and SOA , usage and standards adherence throughout the procurement and development of the e-Fire National Project.


Hyfinity delivered professional services that provided a 'client-side support' role. This delivered XML and SOA 'Technical Architect' and 'Quality Assurance' support roles for the procurement and design of the new Portal. A series of engagement stages were structured around a series of clear product deliverables:

  • Development of e-GIF, XML and SOA Best Practices and Guidelines for the FRS Community

  • Assistance with the procurement and selection of a prime contractor (consortium) to deliver and manage the e-Fire Portal

  • Support the Requirements and Analysis stages to ensure sensible, feasible solution

  • Assistance with the design of the XML Information model (schemas), Web Services Interface Design, and e-Forms capture to ensure a robust, compliant and coherent information architecture

  • Provision of e-GIF quality assurance and testing including: Web Services interoperability (WS-I compliance), Web Accessibility support (WAI - Double-A)

  • Provision of support to the Fire and Rescue e-Transformation team to ensure community standards convergence


XML, SOA and e-GIF are extremely complex areas that require in-depth skills and understanding in order to ensure that high quality, robust and open solutions are delivered. It is critical for project teams to ensure that they have the right 'subject matter' expertise to ensure quality solutions are delivered on their behalf. The early identification of problems during the project life-cycle leads to a reduction in cost overruns and timescale slippage.


The primary business value is to ensure that the right solution is delivered for the wider Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) community, and to ensure a framework for future FRS e-Transformation projects. The subject matter expertise is targeted at supporting the delivery of a best value solution by the prime contractor.

Key Features and Benefits include:

  • Improved solution by ensuring a more flexible design within the original prime contractor agreed price

  • Ensured high-degree of GovTalk schema re-use avoiding bespoke project design

  • Improved quality of deliverables from the prime contractor within the fixed price

  • Avoidance of unnecessary change requests during the design and development phases

  • Protection of key milestones due to rigorous, in-depth reviews avoiding future avoidable change

HM Government logo

The HM Government recognised the need for clear expertise and guidance from the start of the project. - Chris Carlton, e-Fire Technical Architect [ODPM]