The First Minister confirmed in a Parliamentary statement today (07 September 2011) that there will be a single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
The Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, gave a statement to Parliament and published a consultation document seeking views on proposals for the detailed operation of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
In a letter to the RFU the Minister for Community Safety, Roseanna Cunningham MSP said that the reform of fire services will:
- Protect and improve services against the backdrop of severe budget reductions by the Westminster government;
- Keep communities safer by providing more equitable access across Scotland to specialist support, expertise and national capacity when it is needed;
- Strengthen the links between the fire and rescue services and the communities they serve; and
- Provide clearer national governance.
The Minister went on to say.
“Reform will be led and delivered by everyone working in the fire service. I recognise the crucial contribution uniformed staff make in the service, and would expect them to help to shape and support that transitional work.
I also recognise there will be concerns among all staff about what a single service means for them.
All staff who are employed in the service on the date of transfer will be eligible to transfer to the new service and staff transferring to the new service will do so on their terms and conditions of service at that time, including any conditions relating to mobility across Scotland. Clearly, reform also provides more opportunities to develop careers across Scotland if that is what individuals want to do.
It will be for the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, after detailed planning and
transitional work, to determine the balance between uniformed and non-uniformed staff in the new service.
We do expect there to be fewer staff at the end of the reform journey than there are now but we will seek to deliver that through natural wastage and voluntary redundancies. The service and the Scottish Government will continue to work in partnership with unions and staff associations.
I value enormously the dedication, commitment and professionalism staff across the service demonstrate every single day. Your members will playa key role in helping ensure a smooth transition to the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.”