The RFU has now formally received the proposals put forward by Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service to find additional savings within the Fire Service of £1.75 million, these proposals are now in the public domain and form part of a 12-week consultation exercise.
Within the consultation document the service proposes to make the unprecedented move to remove all Retained Duty System (RDS) posts opting for a brigade totally reliant on Wholetime staff from a fewer number of Fire Stations (reduced from 33 to 15) and fewer front-line appliances (reduced from 42 to 15). Potentially this would mean the loss of almost 500 Retained Firefighter jobs.
As an organisation dedicated to serving Retained Firefighters in the UK we are deeply concerned that such a proposal would be tabled, especially in light of the Sir Ken Knight report ‘Facing the Future‘ which highlighted the cost effectiveness of Retained staff. There are also big question marks over:
How resilient the county would be during a major incident or periods of industrial action, if no Retained staff were to be available in the county.
Is there an expectation that adjoining services would be able to come over borders to assist in making such a plan viable and at what cost?
In terms of national resilience would central government be content with the loss of 27 frontline firefighting appliances from the region?
Therefore, in coming weeks we will be putting together an alternative proposal that not only provides the required financial savings but that also doesn’t have such a negative impact across the county.
As you will appreciate, providing a response to such a plan will be a huge task, all member stations will be affected by these proposals. It goes without saying that we will need help in the form of an action group, if you are willing to lend a hand, please contact me directly or via RFU HQ.
RFU Secretary, Staffordshire
email me here
Mobile: 07809 120755