Reinvigoration of partnership approach locally and nationally: as a raft of local strikes take hold across the country, Mike Fordham argues against government's stranglehold on public services and espouses progress though partnership between government and trade unions at local and national level.(The Mike Fordham Column)

If a week is a long time in politics a year should be an eternity in retirement, reality proves to be something very different.

A year ago I wrote my first post retirement column for FIRE and challenged the then Minister with responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Services Jim Fitzpatrick MP, to meet five tests which I believed would examine his stated belief in the concept of public service.

Sorry Jim, but despite the time you and your successor have had you have failed on all five accounts. There is still no meaningful consultation process. There is still no honouring of the NJC constitution agreed as part of the deal that ended the dispute. There are still no national response standards, nor a suitable inspection and checking process. There is still not the support or commitment needed from senior managers for IPDS, thereby missing out on the opportunities given by the pay agreement. And importantly, there has not been the change in culture needed from the 'centre' towards the union and the members they represent and the consequent balancing of the weight given by government to the advice received from brigade managers through CFOA. …

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