For the attention of RFU Executive Officers and Brigade Reps
The Government has recently published its response to the Fire Futures reports which have been compiled from a number of meetings involving stakeholders where specific questions were raised within four workstreams, namely:
- Role of the fire and rescue service – Delivery Models
- Efficiency, Effectiveness and Productivity
- Localism and Accountability
- National Interests.
These reports are available to download from the RFU website (http://therfu.org/?p=940).
Within the response the Government clearly wishes for the RDS to not only remain as an integral part of the Service but to be expanded upon – see first three points within the ‘Ideas Bank’.
The Retained Duty System model exemplifies Big Society objectives and has significant potential for expansion, including within an urban environment and in providing, for example, night time cover
To secure and expand the willingness of employers to allow their staff to participate [in the Retained Duty System], the Service must build stronger links with the business community both locally and collectively on a national basis
There are issues which need to be addressed in the Service's reliance on the Retained Duty System in some localities [including staffing costs, recruitment/retention and managerial overheads]
It would therefore be advisable to raise the Governments response with your FRS highlighting the references to RDS and ask how the RFU can assist to move these points forward.
It is also very clear that the Government wishes local matters, together with the review of resources (inc. the closure of fire stations) to be a local decision which is part of the Governments ‘localism’ agenda. This means that the forging of good relations between local RFU officials and Fire Authority members is vital, not to do so will lead to elected members relying purely on the advice from Senior Managers, which has been witnessed in West Sussex and Cambridgeshire where the RDS has come under attack.
If RFU HQ can provide you with any support or advice on how to progress the above please contact Tristan Ashby or 01953 455005.
Assistant National General Secretary