Exclusive: London Fire Brigade sacks the 2cv racing baronet

Sir Aubrey Brocklebank: Sacked by the London Fire Brigade; Picture courtesy Daily Telegraph

The  incredible scandal surrounding the botched privatisation of London Fire Brigade takes yet another mad twist.

Sir Aubrey Brocklebank, the baronet who bought  the brigade’s entire fire engine fleet for £2 just three months ago, has had his contract terminated by the London Fire Brigade today. His company has gone into administration only  four months afterv it was set up, it was among a string of companies that appear to have been set up by the baronet only to fail.

The eccentric baronet who loves to race ageing  2cv’s at  racetracks across the UK and lives in a three bed semi in Wellingborough, Northants, thought he could make a fast buck by selling on the company. There is a previous blog which will tell you everything you need to know about him on this site.

You the  council taxpayers have been  paying this man £1.5m a month to look after London’s fleet. He got this  at a knock down price because  the Greater London Authority foolishly sold off  London’s fire engines and a 20 year lease on its own maintenance headquarters in Ruislip to a private firm.

The firm was sold on to AssetCo ( which I have written about extensively) whose  own chief executive, John Shannon, dismissed by the firm, after he left it teetering on bankruptcy.  He is now going bust himself. The engines are at present owned by bankers, Lloyds TSB, one of the chief creditors of AssetCo London which had over £30m in debts and haven’t a penny to  replace the ailing fleet of engines from 2014. This has been admitted by Sue Budden, director of finance,of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. She told councillors at a meeting in September: “When they look ahead and look at the big vehicle replacement that is due to start in 2014, I think they can see they are not set up to cover that.” The full story by me is on the Exaro  news website at http://www.exaronews.com.

Now it emerges  surprise, surprise that after a few months that he can’t deliver and the authority has had to use emergency powers to end the contract and has handed it over to Babcock without any tender competition. The interim contract will last next 18 months.

This is their statement:


London Fire Brigade has appointed Babcock International Group to manage and maintain its fleet of fire engines and specialist equipment on an interim basis.

Due to a deterioration of the services provided by Premier Fire Serve Limited (previously called AssetCo London Ltd), the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, which runs the Brigade, has exercised its right to terminate the contract and appoint a new provider.

 While, undertaking a full, competitive procurement of the services, it has appointed Babcock to maintain the fleet on an interim basis of 18 months until the new provider has been appointed.

 London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “This move should stabilise the way in which our vehicles and equipment are managed and enable London Fire Brigade to continue to provide the Capital with the world-class fire and rescue service it deserves.”

However London Assembly’s Green Party spokesman Darren Johnson said:

“The sensible long term solution is to bring the contract in house and scrap the PFI arrangement. Many other fire authorities have a straight forward leasing arrangement. I hope that both the Mayor and the Government will see sense and recognise that the experiment with PFI has failed. We shouldn’t be taking financial risks with something so essential as our fire engines. Government funding guarentees for PFI credits could be better spent on developing an in house contract.”

what a mess!



BREAKING NEWS: A Donegal call-centre has gone into administration with the loss of 30 jobs.

Workers at the Buncrana-based Assetco Manage Services ROI were told the bad news this afternoon.

The company, is part of a larger company, Assetco London Ltd, which works with London Fire Brigade.

London Fire Brigade failed to renew a major contract for Assetco London Ltd leaving workers out in the cold.

Shell-shocked workers at the company, based at the IDA Business Park in Lisfannon since 2006, were told the news today.

Even worse is the fact that none of the workers will be paid redundancies.

Ironically most of the London-based employees will be taken on by the company who won the new contract, Babcock.

However, the Irish company have not been given part of that new contract and will lose their jobs.

Members of KPMG, who are acting on behalf on London banks, turned up at the Buncrana company’s headquarters today to break the news.

Angry workers say they are outraged at how they have been treated.

A spokesman told Donegal Daily that they are considering their positions and are even thinking of staging sit-in at the plant.

“We have been very loyal to Assetco London and this is how we have been rewarded.

“We would like London Fire Brigade to know this and to know how we are being treated.

“There are 30 families being thrown on the scrapheap just before Christmas it’s just not on,” said a spokesman.

10 thoughts on “Exclusive: London Fire Brigade sacks the 2cv racing baronet

  1. Thank christ them idiots have been kicked into touch, but I have to ask what experience and facilities do Babcocks have to enable them to service and maintain Londons fleet and equipment? It nay only be 18mths but thats a long time in the life of a fire appliance!!


  2. have to agree with mr i wonder.if the maintenance of vehicles is like their training every thing will be cancelled at the last minute and they’ll be running on the barest minimum. Had to ride in charge of a “P” reg Volvo the other day as that was the only spare machine in the brigade so much for 21st century fire service
    but the commissioner is ok as he’s retired so it dosn’t bother him as long as he gets his knighthood oh and of course that big fat pension when he just leaves


  3. Dare I tempt fate and ask can it get any worse?? In Babcocks defence, they do the Mets fleet and a few other brigades as well(i think) let’s hope they do a better job than with the training is agreed. Tho I am lead to believe London is the first time Babcock delivers the training itself…hence why they’re still cocking it up! Fingers crossed chaps, we’ll still get the job done- thats what we do.


  4. The Commissioner has done something about a deteriorating situation and your still moaning. There’s no way the LFB fleet will come back in house it’s now a FBU aspiration without legs.

    As for Babcock, give them a chance. Some training courses may have been cancelled but how many actually took place? and were well received. This is 7 months into a 25 year contract and courses were cancelled when the LFB run them. As for Babcock’s credentials to run the fleet, take a look at their website. They run the Met police fleet and maintain the odd nuclear submarine and nuclear power station, but I doubt the FBU left wingers will like that.


  5. I knew Assetco was a scam from day one, and also knew that as small business, supplier of services, I would loose out one day.

    And so, it came as no surprise when Lincolnshire pulled the plug, that monies owed would not be forthcoming, but I was hopeful that Premier Fireserve would last a bit longer than it did.

    Ahh well, perhaps Babcock will prove to be a more stable customer.

    I do find it strange though, that there is no mention of this fiasco in the media, other than here, and the websites of LFB and KPMG. Even the FBU makes no mention of it!

    The article on Exaro seems to have disappeared.

    All very odd!!


    • jacey

      you are right it was a scam and the press have ignored this tale of woe.
      The Exaro piece is still up- I checked today. But it isn’t a surprise about Brocklebank – he hardly seemed to have any cash and his management skills were not that good either sadly.
      The FBU have tended to refer to my articles – mainly covered on their London region site. I hope you haven’t lost too much money in this mad venture.


      • In real terms, I’ve only lost about £1k, mostly down to PFS. I knew it was a risk, but I would not leave our fire fighters short of safety equipment.

        Because I won’t be paying Income Tax, VAT and National Insurance contributions on the unpaid invoices, the Government is also a victim of their encouragement of the scam.

        But I’m one of the luckier suppliers, others have lost far more, and HMRC lose out on those too!

        No wonder the country is in the state it is!


  6. The knowledge of the 29 members of Assetco based in Co. Donegal is worth only £55k to LFB (offer made by KPMG). These staff worked 24/7 to supply service to LFB stations.

    How succ


  7. Pingback: Civil and public sector workers should say NO to Croke Park 2. - Page 74

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