Fire Service Funding – Advertising/Branding
Since 2005 when the then government were in the throes of putting together the publication ‘Retained Duty System – A Review of the Recruitment and Retention Challenges’, the RFU argued that if the government were truly serious about overcoming the deficient of Retained Firefighter posts across the country, there needed to be a national campaign to raise awareness of the Retained Duty System within the public. Sir George Bain back in his report of 2002 made the same suggestion.
Move on 15 years and it looks like the penny has finally dropped, as the Home Office has identified funding for a national campaign to raise awareness of the role of a firefighter. The campaign might not be specifically focused on Retained/On-Call firefighters, but it is a step in the right direction. We intend to continue to have dialogue with the Home Office to influence the finer detail of the campaign which will also aim to improve diversity within the workforce.
There will also be a piece of work nationally to ‘re-brand’ the Retained Duty System with conscious move to the phrase ‘On-Call’. The idea behind the change is that the role of an On-Call firefighter is somewhat more obvious compared to the current term, Retained Firefighter.to patients that and service delivery.
The newly created fire inspectorate is due to be in place this year with the announcement of the operator imminent, although we expect it to be awarded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC). The first inspections will take place later this year and act as a means of ascertaining the benchmark for future inspections to be measured against.
The RFU lobbied the Home Office (previously the DCLG) for the re-introduction of an inspectorate (dismantled in 2004 via the Fire Services Act) for a number of years due to a lack of much needed scrutiny and accountability at local level. We have also met with representatives from the Home Office to discuss our views as to the model of the inspectorate and how it needs to have a suitable level of knowledge to ensure adequate provision is being made to support Retained/On-Call establishments at a local level.
We therefore welcome this change and are of the view that the inspectorate will play its part in delivering fire reform and improve and support the sustainability of the Retained Duty System across the UK.
Recent member successes
We strive to offer a broad range of benefits to members, both when we are called upon for assistance, support and advice but also for the nicer benefits that are open to ALL members at any time, which is why we created RFU Rewards.
Recent member successes have been, a £5,000 tax rebate from HMRC, a £20,000 personal injury claim, a level 3 disciplinary defence and a ill-health and injury award resulting in a lump sum payment of over £100,000 plus annual pension.
Misfortune has a habit of not being choosey as to who it picks on, it can be reassuring that you can contact an organisation for advice and support that has been looking after its members for over 40 years. If you want to be part of the RFU Family, you can join online or you can request a visit from an RFU representative to discuss the benefits of membership.
Statutory Flooding and Water Rescue Duty in Wales
The Welsh Government has completed a lengthy consultation over the introduction of a statutory role for all 3 Welsh FRSs in dealing with Flooding and Water Rescue.
Carl Sargeant the Cabinet Secretary with responsibility for the Welsh FRS said “Flooding can be just as hazardous as fire, and wider ranging. It can devastate whole communities, threaten widespread casualties and destroy property and the environment. We need to be sure that our fire services will be ready to respond – and our firefighters need to know what is expected of them”.
The RFU supported the proposal and welcomes its introduction along with £1.8M of capital funding over 2 years for new equipment.
This now leaves England as the only UK country yet to introduce a similar duty for its FRSs, this is urgently needed to reduce the current levels of ambiguity when life threatening flooding incidents occur.