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Yvette Cooper's Plans for the UK Fire Service


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I know this site doesnt do politics and with good cause. Its a fire service site and often when politics get involved it all gets very divisive and messy - as can be seen on other forums and FB Groups. So please see this post as apolitical in all ways.

Its fair to say when a new Govt immediately want to change things, it can cause anxiety. As everyone knows firefighters hate the way things are but also hate change!!! 

Have a look here as the new Home Secretary has already released the Govt's vision for the fire service 

What are your views on these proposals?

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Following the Labour Party’s landslide victory in the General Election on 4 July, new Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has set out Labour’s plan to develop a national structure designed to inform policy and establish national standards in the Fire and Rescue Service.

The Government will work with Trade Unions and other stakeholders on the new structure, which will aim to raise standards across the Fire and Rescue Service (including on key issues like Health and Safety and service standards).

The Fire and Rescue Service has undergone significant geographical fragmentation in recent years. There are no UK-wide standards, meaning that a de facto ‘postcode lottery’ in terms of fire cover has been in place.

Since 2010, the Fire and Rescue Service has lost one-in-five firefighter jobs and 30% of its central Government funding. The average response time for the first fire appliance to arrive has risen to nine minutes and 12 seconds in England (the worst on record).

In its manifesto, Labour had already committed to re-establishing national standards in the Fire and Rescue Service and to safeguarding collective bargaining in the sector.

Cooper’s announcement sets out the vehicle for establishing those national standards. The Home Secretary has also reaffirmed the Labour Party’s commitment to delivering the New Deal for Working People, including the repealing of the Minimum Service Levels Act and the ending of fire and rehire.

Public services

Yvette Cooper explained: “The Tories have badly let down out public services over many years. They have turned their backs on the Fire and Rescue Service, the growing challenges it faces as a result of climate change and the burgeoning impact that its work has on people’s lives.”

Cooper continued: “We do not have an easy inheritance, but we can and will do things differently. In the Fire and Rescue Service there’s a patchwork of different standards and practices which have created a postcode lottery on fire cover. In Government, Labour will deliver new national standards set by a new structure that will include the Fire Brigades Union and stakeholders.”

Cooper continued: “We are also going to be defending the rights of working people. That means making work pay and implementing the New Deal for Working People, scrapping the Minimum Service Levels Act and ending fire and rehire.”

Period of crisis

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, responded: “After 14 years of Tory rule, the Fire and Rescue Service is in crisis. Cuts and fragmentation have put the safety of the public and firefighters at risk. There is currently a complete lack of joined-up thinking. If we are to tackle new risks, including the challenge of the climate crisis, this needs to change urgently.”

Wrack added: “Labour now has an opportunity to turn things around and end the postcode lottery on fire cover. The commitment to deliver national standards in the Fire and Rescue Service is a vital first step. Yvette Cooper’s announcement sets out clearly how this might be delivered, with the creation of a new national body in consultation with all stakeholders, including the Fire Brigades Union. If implemented, this has the potential to transform the Fire and Rescue Service by giving professional front line firefighters a voice in terms of how the service is run.”

 

Labour Party Makes Commitment To FRS

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It had to come to an end eventually.

In the last few years a lot of B.M.T.s have chased each other to the bottom and then sent for shovels.

Last month Merseyside Fire Authority opened it's own Fire Service College replica, Greater Manchester and West Midlands are following suit, while North Wales FRS has started on a £48million Training Centre !

All these toys can only be afforded by the economic destruction of Response and Resilience.

Merseyside F.A. were about to introduce new operational standards as the only way to stay within budget, but have delayed the decision pending the new Government's views:-

1. Watch Officers would not longer ride appliances and would be assigned new duties.

2. All front line pumps would then be manned by a maximum of 3 riders, since most fire are "small" and do not need a full crew.   P.D.A.s would remain unchanged.

3. 50%  of  pumps would be replaced by mini-pumps  because you do not need 5 seats.

North Wales F.R.S. have ring fenced the Training Centre funding, but intend to reduce first attendance time to 20 minutes,  reduce some W/T stations to day-crewing and have already reduced their minimum pump availability  to 18 out of a theoretical 56 pumps.  It is not unknown for a pump to travel 62 miles on a standby.

No doubt many more FRS were hoping to copy these fine examples.

 

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At first glance, you would have to welcome the proposals, but as always the devil will be in the detail. With any new government there's always plenty of promises, whether they can afford or deliver them is another thing entirely.

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  • Carl changed the title to Yvette Cooper's Plans for the UK Fire Service

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