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Principal Officer briefings to update staff on budget decisions made by the Authority, interim response arrangements and the likely issues post the General Election continue throughout this month.
Undoubtedly the most significant of these decisions has unfortunately seen Allerton community fire station formally close. Whilst this is an outcome I know none of us wanted, we all knew the alternatives would have been no less challenging, as I have explained on the PO briefings.
The fire appliance from Allerton will now be relocated to be crewed on a retained basis with the introduction of 24hr / WTR working at a number of key stations.
For those of you who have expressed an interest in the 24-Hour Wholetime Retained (24HR/WTR) working, the position is as follows; we received sufficient expressions of interest in numerical terms to support the adoption of the 24HR/WTR model at all eight stations. We did not, however, receive sufficient expressions of interest for the Liverpool stations to avoid a situation which would have resulted in a significant number of postings. We agreed with the representative bodies at the outset that this was a situation we wanted to avoid and that we would jointly review the expressions of interest to ensure we achieved the best possible outcome.
Following this joint review, we have reached a collective agreement with the FBU and FOA that we will implement 24HR/WTR at the Bromborough and Upton and Huyton and St Helens paired units in the
first instance. A selection process has been undertaken and successful applicants will be offered contracts which we are aiming to have processed in order that we can go live by the end of the month.
We remain focused on increasing the number of wholetime retained appliances operating across Merseyside aligned to our wholetime response model and in the event that sufficient expressions of interest are confirmed for the Kirkby and Bootle/Netherton paired unit, we will move to implementation at some point in the future on a date agreed with the representative bodies.
1st April also sees the introduction of the new Firefighter Pension Scheme 2015 along with the associated protection and transition arrangements. I know it may not feel like it but despite all the changes, this remains a very good scheme. The advice from the Authority and the representative bodies is to remain a member of the pension scheme so it is a cause of some concern that a number of Firefighters have chosen to opt out. I would strongly suggest that you find out as much information as possible before making any potentially life-changing decisions - a number of roadshows are taking place over the next few weeks and I would encourage everyone to attend.
On 7th April we welcome the first firefighter recruits joining Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service during my tenure as CFO. Our new Firefighters have been recruited specifically to cover day shifts and to provide wholetime retained cover which will assist us in maintaining the availability of the relocated Allerton appliance and for any other structural changes we need to make in the future. I would like to warmly welcome all of those recruits and wish them the best of luck for their training and subsequent career with the Service.
The IRMP Supplement 2015-2017 has been published and is available on our Service website. District Plans have also been published along with Station and Functional plans which set our performance objectives for the coming year.
Finally a couple of well-deserved acknowledgements – thanks to the award winning Positive Action team for a successful recruitment campaign and a big thanks to those staff who have been working hard to get everything in order for the end of the last financial year and the start of the new one. Your work very often goes unnoticed but is very much appreciated none the less.
Dan Stephens
Chief Fire Officer

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