Between a rock and a hard place: retained selection tests and the real world: exploring the complexities of entry and work for retained firefighters.(Retained Duty System)

A SINGLE SELECTION AND development process for all firefighters is a laudable aim. Point of entry systems that lead to differentiation between staff on different duty systems are likely to be made a thing of the past and unarguably this is the correct approach. So why then, are some retained staff worried for the future of the Service? What are the concerns they have that are not being addressed and is it possible that in the dash for a level playing field a reality gap has appeared?

The Retained Duty System Report, published in March, at long last acknowledged the key role that retained staff play in protecting the community. Accepting that all firefighters have the same role, albeit within a different duty system, the merging of selection and development systems into one universal process should embed this notion within the culture of the Service. Once and for all the myth that the RDS firefighters are second class would be demolished.

The initial impetus hoped for by the Retained Review Team following publication has seemingly dissipated and the momentum is in danger of being lost. Fortunately, this has been recognised in time and that with a degree of commitment and effort on the part of the ODPM and the fire industry, the enthusiasm with which the report was received by all parties including the RFU and FBU can be maintained. There still remain a number of problems that need to be considered and addressed before the ideal state set out in the RDS report can be achieved. …

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