This consultation is now closed. The information here is retained for information purposes only.
Proposals which could change the way we meet the needs of the community in the face of funding cuts were considered by the Fire Authority at a meeting on the 5th June 2014.
This followed a public consultation which took place between 17 February and Monday 28 April 2014. This page has information about the consultation for reference purposes only.
Consultation Documents & Useful links
Statement from The Chairman
Chairman of the Fire Authority Councillor Phil Howson says:
As the elected members of East Sussex Fire Authority, our priority is to maintain a sustainable fire and rescue service which can protect the public now and in the future. This is an increasingly challenging job as central funding has been reduced as part of the Government’s austerity measures.
Last July it was established that the Service needed to save approximately £7.1 million up to 2018/19 as a result of the continuing downward pressure on public sector finances. This savings target is out of an overall revenue budget of just under £40 million, so it is a substantial drop.
With significant revenue savings already achieved through a number of measures including reducing support staff, combining our control centre with West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, better procurement through collaboration and reducing senior management posts, the Fire Authority has little option other than to look at the way frontline services are delivered.
When the proposals were drawn up, the impact on public safety was carefully assessed by the Fire Authority. A variety of factors were considered such as the number type and severity of incidents attended, the demographic profile of the local population, the type of businesses in the area and the risks of major incidents.
The Fire Authority has given detailed and careful consideration to the options available to them and agreed a range of proposals at their meeting of 5 June 2014 which will result in the Fire Authority continuing to provide an excellent emergency response capability across the county of East Sussex and the City of Brighton and Hove.
Despite the enormous financial challenges facing the Fire Authority, there has been no reduction in the number of fire stations across the county and the City. Every fire station will continue to respond as a full time, day crewed or retained duty system (on call) fire station.
There has been a change to the number of fire engines. From an emergency response fleet of 35 fire engines, we have had to remove two fire engines: one being a retained duty system fire engine in Hastings and one being a full time fire engine in the City of Brighton and Hove. To remove any fire engines is a difficult decision and if it were not for the extreme financial challenges, we would not have had to consider this option.
Yet despite the enormous financial challenges facing this Authority, we have maintained our existing service response standards and will continue to deliver our prevention and protection services that have seen over 110,000 smoke detectors fitted by our staff in local homes over the last 9 years. Our focus on community safety has resulted in a continuing reduction in domestic fires and we now respond to 40% fewer fires than a decade ago.
I would like to reiterate that when these plans are implemented there will not be any change to our response standards. If you have a fire in your home, we will still send out the same number of fire engines and firefighters in the same way as we did before the changes are made. We will still have a resilient fire and rescue service and we are determined to deliver the most effective service possible with the reality of a shrinking budget.
Thursday, 5 June 2014
Decisions made over future of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
East Sussex Fire Authority has agreed proposals to change the Service in the face of funding cuts.
Members met on 5 June 2014 to discuss the findings of a consultation which ran between 17 February and 28 April. It sought feedback on three proposals.
Chairman of the Fire Authority Phil Howson said: “Like many public services we are facing the challenge of needing to change the way we work. Funding has been reduced and we have considered options carefully to find ways of maintaining our response standards. All members of the Fire Authority take their responsibilities very seriously and the outcome of this meeting was reached after robust debate and discussion.”
The following proposals were discussed:
Proposal 1: Proposal to remove a fire engine from either Preston Circus or Hove. This means we continue to base four fire engines in the City which are crewed 24 hours a day. In addition, we provide an aerial ladder platform which can reach people in high rise buildings.
The provision of this appliance will be reviewed in 2014/15.
Decision: This was agreed 10 votes to 8
Proposal 2 a or b: These proposals were based on an “either/or” basis.
Proposal 2a - Convert Battle Fire Station from Wholetime (Day Crewed) to a new Day Crewed Duty System. The station could then provide cover 7 days a week instead of 5, giving more support for Hastings. Battle would retain both its pumps.
We will therefore be able to remove the Retained Duty System fire engine from The Ridge Fire Station in Hastings.
Proposal 2b - Convert Battle Fire Station from Wholetime (Day Crewed) to a retained duty system. Battle would become a one-pump retained station and the Ridge in Hastings would remain a two-pump station (one retained - one wholetime). Battle has a low number of calls and analysis shows there would be no significant impact on Service performance.
Decision: An amended version of 2a was approved by 11 votes to 7 – specifically to utilise some of the savings from the removal of the retained appliance at The Ridge Fire Station to provide a limited number of competent retained personnel at Battle Fire Station to make up a full crew of firefighters or Junior Officers at Battle.
Proposal 3: Introduce “Day Crewed Plus” at Roedean fire station in Brighton and The Ridge fire station in Hastings, both currently Wholetime stations. “Day Crewed Plus” would be a new way of working for East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and is successfully used by other fire and rescue services across England. It means that firefighters stay in accommodation provided by us on site on a self rostering system. They are therefore still ready to turn out 24 hours a day. This option would mean we could save money by reducing posts but it would not affect attendance times.
Decision: This was agreed 12 votes to 6
What happens next
There is no immediate change.
The proposals which have been agreed will need further work, including consultation with staff and representative bodies where appropriate.
Latest Update : 12 June 2018