03 November 2016

After some delay, the government has finally published the ‘Independent Review of Conditions and Service for Fire and Rescue Staff in England’ by Adrian Thomas. The FBU has already strongly criticised the conduct of the review and commented also on a leaked version which surfaced over the summer. With its focus on working practices, management and industrial relations, the report is sure to draw further fire over the coming days.

As the Trade Association representing suppliers to the Fire and Rescue sector, we shall leave the debate on FRS conditions of service to others. We are delighted, however, to find that the review is hugely supportive of our work with the Fire Service College and CFOA on the development of a central FRS R&D facility which is known as the RDTI Hub. Among the activities of the Hub will be to serve as a centralised focal point for the trialling of FRS equipment, thereby avoiding the costly and time-consuming duplication across the FRSs that currently occurs.

The review notes that ‘technology and equipment enhancements are evaluated multiple times’ and that ‘it would be bizarre if each hospital in the NHS undertook its own drug trials….and yet, this is effectively what happens currently in the Fire and Rescue Service’. It goes on to say ‘[the] cost of duplicated equipment evaluation is significant on the fire industry…and therefore the tax payer. In addition, each Fire and Rescue Service undertakes its own evaluation and reporting procedures adding further indirect cost’.