Page 19 - Hot_News_Nov_2015
P. 19

THE FINAL WORD
I had the opportunity to host a breakfast meeting with staff working at Headquarters and Vesty Road recently.
The meeting was very useful in affording me the opportunity to gain an insight into the way the uncertainty resulting from the ongoing cuts are affecting staff.
I recognise staff are worried about the future and may have questions that they understandably don’t want to ask at the Principal Officer briefings.
The breakfast time meeting was the first of what I hope will be a number of such opportunities. The staff who attended the breakfast meeting said they felt it was very worthwhile and I would urge others to sign up when they see the next meeting dates highlighted through Message of the Day on the Portal.
I will however use this column to provide a more clarity for staff who are unable to attend future meetings.
The second meeting of the Joint Fire and Rescue and Police Committee was held on 19th October. The purpose of the committee is to consider ongoing and potential future collaboration between
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, Merseyside Police and Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
At the first meeting on 1st September, the Committee agreed terms of reference as well as approving a framework (including guiding principles for how work will be carried out) which was recommended jointly by myself and the Chief Constable.
The meeting on 19th October received an update which included details of the communications strategy and the approach to potential future collaboration. A separate meeting was held in September to discuss the best means of communicating and keeping staff and other stakeholders up-to-date. The communications approach will evolve as the exploration of potential collaboration areas continues to develop. A new page on the Think People section of the Portal will include information on the collaboration methodology and how we intend to advise staff of progress.
As worrying as the situation we find ourselves in undoubtedly is I would like to reassure you all that although work will be undertaken to consider how the Police and Fire and Rescue Service can work more closely together, no decisions have been made as yet on if or how any joint working or collaboration will progress.
It goes without saying that first and foremost there will need to be a strong business case in terms of making savings whilst maintaining the quality of service delivered before any recommendations over collaboration will be pursued.
If anyone has any questions about the collaboration work or about the Joint Committee, please email the Think People email at: ThinkPeople@merseyfire.gov.uk .
You will also be aware that the Chancellor will publish the Autumn Statement and the outcomes of the Comprehensive Spending Review in November. However whilst the Autumn Statement will reveal the overall quantum of savings for DCLG the Merseyside specific figures may well not be announced until late December.
Once we have analysed what the Spending Review means for the Service, we will be in a much better position to update staff as to the extent of the structural changes that we will no doubt have to make.
When we are experiencing so much change we recognise the need to share as much information with staff as we are able to and as a result there will be a new round of Principal Officer Briefings early in the New Year. More information will be provided once the dates have been finalised.
Finally the 12-week consultation over the proposed merger of Eccleston and St Helens fire stations at a new station on Canal Street concluded on 25th October. The consultation included three public meetings,
a stakeholder meeting, three forums as well as the distribution of the consultation document outlining the proposals.
A report will be submitted to the Authority detailing the outcomes of the consultation and any operational implications raised as part of the process.
Dan Stephens
Chief Fire Officer
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