Authority sets out future of county’s fire service

The fire service will increase its precept by 1.9 per cent after a decision by its ruling authority today.

Thursday, 13th February 2014, 3:27 pm
Fire Service.Generic Fire engine and Fire service officers for Scarborough.Picture Richard Ponter 132217c

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Authority agreed to raise the precept in a bid to tackle the massive spending cuts facing the service.

Following a 12–week public consultation, the authority was presented with a series of proposals in relation to the ‘Transforming Service Delivery – Fit to Respond in 2022 and Beyond’ project.

Members agreed to the following outcome proposals –

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– Set up a working group to monitor the implementation of the ‘Transforming Service Delivery Fit to Respond to 2022 and Beyond’ proposals.

– To reduce the requirements for the number of existing uniformed and support roles (the Establishment) and manage the reduction in a sensitive manner to avoid compulsory redundancies over the next 2 years preventing the closure of stations. This will primarily be through a review of staffing arrangements and vacancy control on the retirement

and natural turnover of employees (both uniformed and support roles) and to meet future financial constraints.

– To maintain the recently built Stations and to look at Station closures as a last resort, subject to the financial position the Authority faces on Central Government’s financial settlements.

– To apply the Authority’s financial reserves to fund ‘Invest to Save’ projects and support Establishment costs as the number of roles reduces.

– To continue discussions with neighbouring fire and rescue services on the provision of ‘over the border’ services to Derbyshire before making any decision on the closure of Stations close to the border.

– To support the introduction of Smaller Response Vehicles (SRVs) as a more appropriate response to risk.

– To continue discussions with other organisations to explore opportunities in respect of maximising use of assets in its property portfolio.

– To develop opportunities for more effective working through shared services.

– To continue to explore opportunities to maximise income for the Service.

– To reduce mobilisations to non–emergency incidents.

– To continue to invest in prevention and protection activities such as, risk based Home Fire Safety Checks, the ‘Think Sprinkler’ campaign and the introduction of Operational Community Safety Officers (OCSOs).

– To continue to challenge all areas across the Service to ensure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in provision.

Speaking following today’s meeting, chairman of Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Roland Hosker said: “A comprehensive consultation with stakeholders highlighted the depth of feeling and community spirit that is present both in the city and wider county of Derbyshire.

“With continued cuts to the budget, the Authority has listened to the voices of its communities and will balance those with proposals that will deliver the savings the Service needs to realise in order to provide an effective emergency response service that Derbyshire can be proud of.

“The Authority has today agreed proposals that will not only match the level of service provision to risk, but will also work to drive down that risk through prevention and protection activities.

“Sadly, no change is not an option; however the Authority has agreed to look at station closures only as a last resort.”

More information regarding the agreed proposals and minutes of the Fire and Rescue Authority meeting will be available on the website in due course.