On the 23rd April, East Sussex Fire Authority agreed that a draft document (entitled “Planning for A Safer Future”) containing a set of proposals for changes to the Service should go out for public consultation. The consultation went live on the 24th April 2020, and ended on the 19th June 2020.
The Fire Authority would like to thank all partners, members of the public and organisations that made responses and also attended forums. We had the highest response rate ever to a consultation and we would like to assure all contributors that each response will be considered.
The Service also welcomes all the feedback that has been received from staff and our representative bodies and whilst the public consultation has been running, in parallel, senior officers have been engaged in meaningful and constructive dialogue with staff representative groups and trade unions.
The modified proposals will reduce impacts on our workforce and mitigate a number of the concerns presented to the Service through the consultation. It is a statutory duty for Fire and Rescue Authorities to have an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) and our current plan expires this year. It remains vital then that our available resources are used in the most effective way to mitigate the risks our communities face.
The modified proposals will: -
- Facilitate the introduction of a flexible “resourcing” pool of firefighters, which will enable us to ensure improved availability of fire engines in higher risk areas.
- Change the original proposal through continuing to operate a 7 day a week “day crewed” system, with immediate on-station response during the day at weekends, at the following stations:-
- In line with the current proposal, it is still proposed that Battle will change to 5 day day-duty system with an on-call response at weekends.
- Bexhill, Crowborough, Uckfield and Newhaven will have a secondary fire engine located at the station. These will be utilised as flexible Service wide assets providing part of the service’s spare appliance fleet, as well as being operationally available at the stations for response to incidents.
- Other stations will have access to specialist operational vehicles so that Lewes, Battle, Rye, Heathfield, Seaford and Wadhurst maintain at least two operational vehicles.
- In Hastings we will continue with the plan to enhance cover at Bohemia Road whilst maintaining the dedicated cover for the Hastings aerial (high-reach) appliance to provide cover to the eastern part of our county. The Ridge fire station will change to a 7 day a week “day crewed” system.
- We will continue with the proposed changes to vehicles in Eastbourne to ensure that Eastbourne has the right mix of operational vehicles and capabilities to meet the risk.
- The modified proposals will no longer propose changes to the staffing arrangements on all our 24/7 shift stations and, instead, will propose a change to “group crewing” in the City only. This will facilitate additional resources being put into business safety inspection work, which is fundamental to public safety in the City
Under the new proposals 20 posts will be released, however 10 posts will be reinvested into the flexible resourcing pool and additional fire safety work. The net reduction in posts will be 10.There will be no compulsory redundancies.
Whilst no final decisions will be made until the 3rd September, the Fire Authority are satisfied that the modified proposals can still deliver the originally intended outcomes, but do so in a way that acknowledges the alternative views and feedback from members of the public, staff, representative bodies and other stakeholders.