Plans to boost resilience of 999 system announced

The government has announced new measures it says will boost the resilience of the 999 system, following its worst outage in almost 90 years.

A nationwide technical issue meant calls were not connected to emergency services in June 2023.

The government will increase its oversight of any future incidents and improve communications between emergency services.

BT, which manages the system, says it "fell short of its own high standards."

Ofcom is investigating the telecoms firm, which took responsibility for the fault, with the outcome expected in the coming months.

"The level of disruption to the service on Sunday 25 June 2023 has never been seen before and we are sincerely sorry for the distress caused," said BT security boss Howard Watson.

"As outlined in the Government's Post-Incident Review, we have put in place a comprehensive improvement plan to prevent this series of events reoccurring."

To improve its oversight of similar events in the future, the government will identify who is responsible and accountable for the 999 system in the face of different threats, such as cyber attacks and natural disasters.

And it will identify a way to advise the public on what to do so people can contact emergency services if the 999 system becomes inaccessible across the UK.

It said the plans would be in place by the end of April 2024.

"We are determined to prevent history from repeating itself, with public safety being absolutely paramount," said Technology minister Michelle Donelan.

"This is why, following a thorough review of the incident, we are working with BT to establish enhanced resilience measures, ensuring the UK is always prepared to effectively address major emergencies."

While the outage affected various emergency services in different parts of the country, there are no confirmed cases of serious harm which have been connected to it.