Fire

White Paper at a glance: our Fire and Rescue Service: plans to reform and modernise the Service were announced by the Deputy Prime Minister on June 30 with the release of the White Paper. The summary provided here, focusing on the action points and radical areas of change, suggest a transformation as the Service is finally perceived centrally as a 'vital' public service.(White paper In Brief)

SUMMARY

The six broad areas of fire reform:

(i) Protecting people:

* Legislative support for responding to flooding, terrorist incidents etc;

* A new statutory framework placing responsibility on Service to plan and respond to emergencies on the basis of risk assessment and management;

* IRMP responding more flexibly and efficiently.

(ii) National, regional and local responsibilities:

* Too little strategic direction from Government, too many small authorities not being cost effective;

* There will be regional fire and rescue authorities when regional assemblies come in;

* Elsewhere regional management boards where necessary in the interim;

* Devolved responsibility to Wales, as with Northern Ireland and Scotland.

(iii) Institutions:

* Radical overhaul of institutions to achieve strategic direction:

* Establish two forums to seek input of practitioners and stakeholders to the development of policy.

(iv) Management:

* Managerial independence to deliver authority plans;

* Three new pay negotiating bodies. (v) Working in the Service:

* Introduce IPDS reducing 12 ranks to seven, introduce multi-tier entry and accelerated development schemes;

* Reform closed culture to promote diversity;

* End bullying and harassment;

* Reform pensions, discipline and disputes arrangements; and

* Improve the conditions of retained firefighters.

(vi) The Future:

* Modernise and update existing fire law.

CHANGES AT A GLANCE

* A new Bill as soon as parliamentary tame permits;

* An action plan by the Service Improvement

Team that will include a detailed timetable for the delivery of changes;

* A new group of advisers to provide strategic advice to ministers;

* A Practitioners Forum including all stakeholders, led by CACFOA;

* A Business and Community Safety Forum, continuing from the FSAB;

* A Comprehensive Performance Assessment framework will be established with the Audit Commission;

* Regional Management Boards will be established in consultation with the LGA, including how they will be structured in each region:

* Proposals for changes to the pensions scheme;

* A new structure for the retained to put them on the same basis as wholetime:

* Amendments to the Appointment and Promotion Regulations;

* Repeal the Discipline Regulations;

* Amend the training Regulations;

* The Service Improvement Team will publish the National Framework for the Fire and Rescue Service for consultation next year. …

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