Page 19 - Hot_News_March_2015
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THE FINAL WORD
As you will probably be aware at the budget meeting on 26th February the Authority confirmed the closure of Allerton Fire Station following a three-month consultation process.
It is extremely disappointing to have to preside over the closure of a Merseyside fire station which is the very last outcome I want as the Chief Fire Officer. Unfortunately, in the circumstances there is no better option to limit the overall impact on operational response.
The opportunity for merger in Liverpool is very limited as there are no pairs of older stations adjacent to each other which could be closed and a new station built to replace them.
Merseyside has a greater density of fire stations than any other fire and rescue service and this density is most evident in Liverpool. The neighbouring stations to Allerton - Old Swan, Toxteth, Belle Vale, Speke and Garston and Kensington, are all close enough to provide good cover across the Allerton station area.
Allerton will close in April and its fire appliance will be relocated to Old Swan Community Fire Station and crewed on a wholetime retained basis. This involves wholetime firefighters providing cover to enable the appliance to be mobilised to major incidents or during periods of exceptionally high demand on a delayed recall to duty.
Staff currently working at Allerton will be posted to surrounding stations.
The decision was taken as part of a plan to make savings of £6.3 million in 2015/16 in response to further Government Grant cuts to the Authority budget in addition to savings of £20 million since 2011/12.
While £2.9 million of savings are being made through reductions in support services and financial management, the remaining £3.4 million has to come from emergency response.
Principal Officer briefings will start in March to update staff on the Authority’s budget decision, interim measures that I intend to take to maintain appliance availability, including 24s in conjunction with wholetime retained, and to consider issues post this year’s General Election.
I also wanted to update you on work following last year’s staff survey. We wanted to seek a wide range of views around the key priorities staff felt were important to them for inclusion in an Engagement Action Plan and to identify possible actions for improvement. A total of 35 Focus groups/ Stakeholder meetings took place between November 2014 and January 2015 with 135 staff (59 Uniformed, 44 Support and 1 Authority Member) attending those meetings on an entirely voluntarily basis.
The Strategic Management Group (SMG) are currently in the process of reviewing the feedback from those sessions to help inform the development of the MF&RS Engagement Action Plan which will be made available to staff in May 2015. We will keep you updated and provide more information as the year progresses.
In the meantime if you have any further questions around the survey, or progress with the Engagement Action Plan, please contact Wendy Kenyon at wendykenyon@merseyfire.gov.uk or ext. 4422
In other developments, a 12-week consultation runs from 2nd March to 18th May, 2015, over proposed changes to the Service’s emergency response cover in West Wirral.
The decision for a second consultation relating to a proposal to merge West Kirby Fire Station and Upton Fire Station, was taken by the Fire and Rescue Authority as a result of the comments and responses received during the initial consultation process held last year.
The public consultation will consider two options:
A) 1. The closure of West Kirby and Upton fire stations, the building of a new station at Saughall Massie Road.
2. The re-designation of one of the two existing wholetime appliances as “wholetime retained” (with a 30-minute recall), whilst;
3. Inviting suggestions for other suitable alternative options to deliver the savings required as a result of further cuts to the Authority budget.
B) 1. The outright closure of West Kirby as the alternative to merger.
2. The re-designation of one of the two existing wholetime applianceas “wholetime retained” (with a 30-minute recall), whilst;
3. Inviting suggestions for other suitable alternative options to deliver the savings required as a result of further cuts to the Authority budget.
The outcomes of the consultation will be reported back to the Authority for a definitive decision in June.
The public meetings will be held for this consultation on
20th April at the St Mary’s Centre, 127 Saughall Massie Road, CH49 4LA starting at 6.30pm (1830hrs); 28th April at Holy Cross Church community rooms, Woodchurch, CH49 7LS, starting at 6.30pm (1830hrs); and 5th May at The Hoylake Community Centre, The Parade, Hoyle Road, Hoylake, CH47 3AG, starting at 6.30pm (1830hrs).
Dan Stephens
Chief Fire Officer
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