Page 19 - HOT NEWS JULY 2014
P. 19
I had the honour and privilege of attending and presenting Long Service and Good Conduct medals and bravery and meritorious conduct awards at a special event held at Aintree Racecourse on June 11th.
The event was particularly special as it took place during a landmark year for our Service. Earlier this year we marked 40 years since Merseyside fire and rescue service was formed and although the Service has undergone significant change, one thing has remained constant which is the dedication, bravery and commitment of our firefighters and non- uniformed staff.
At the event 16 members of staff received the Long Service and Good Conduct award. Those staff recognised at the event at Aintree Racecourse should be very proud - The Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medal is awarded by Her Majesty the Queen.
No person is recommended for the medal unless they have completed the qualifying period of service as an operational firefighter, and it is certified that their character and conduct have been very good.
It is also a requirement that the candidate is put forward by the Chief Fire Officer. Non-uniform staff receive a pin in recognition of their service.
Bravery and selflessness are something which should never be taken for granted and it is absolutely right that a special event should be held to honour such acts. At the Long Service and Good
Conduct awards presentation a number of crews were also rightly recognised for their bravery and devotion to duty at incidents, which are covered in other pages in this edition of Hot News.
Between them our Long Service and Good Conduct medal recipients had given a total of 320 years’ service to our communities, which is a fantastic commitment that is truly worthy of recognition.
Meanwhile, the Authority continues to face up to the challenge of balancing the budget and at its Annual General Meeting, on June 26th, approved the Reserves Strategy. A component of the Reserves Strategy is for the first time considering the option of voluntary severance (compromised resignation) to uniformed staff.
The expectations of the Authority in relation to productivity has fundamentally changed over the course of the current spending review. This has been brought about, in no small part, by the desire of the Authority to attempt to maintain a wholetime crewing model rather than the far more financially efficient retained alternative. This increased expectation has resulted in real, tangible change for large numbers of operational staff which, for understandable reasons, is not always embraced.
The reality is, however, that for the Authority to maintain any semblance of a wholetime crewing model all operational staff must demonstrate maximum flexibility and fully adapt to and embrace the current and further inevitable change to come. This reality, in conjunction with the changes to the firefighter pension scheme, may cause some staff to consider whether they wish to continue with their career in the Service or whether they would wish to consider other opportunities elsewhere.
This is something I recognise and is why the Authority was asked to give me permission to explore the option of voluntary severance in order to make this available to uniformed staff to consider.
Finally, I would like to urge those staff who have not filled in their staff survey to complete it. We care and value your comments and feedback. This is your opportunity to contribute to improving our organisation through completing your survey honestly, and confidentially. The more surveys are returned, the more we can be sure the feedback we receive is reliable. The survey is available to be completed now and until July 28.
Dan Stephens
Chief Fire Officer

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