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21 October 2014
The FIA and FIRESA have welcomed the announcement by Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt this week, of the winners of a £75 million fund designed to improve frontline services and save taxpayers over £300 million.
The Fire Transformation Fund, announced last March, is giving £75 million to fire and rescue authorities to help ensure better and more efficient front-line services for the public. In total, 37 projects from across the country will get funding.
• Surrey will lead a project with fire, police and ambulance services across Sussex and Surrey to deliver efficient emergency service transport functions. (Award £5.96 million / fire and rescue authority projected discounted savings to public sector £20 million.)
• Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority will work with county council services to re-locate library services in four Hertfordshire villages to on-call fire stations, with resultant joint-use rationalisation efficiencies whilst establishing a community friendly platform for prevention and protection service delivery. (Award £700,000/fire and rescue authority projected discounted savings to public sector £900,000.)
• Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority will work with both Kent and Essex fire and rescue authorities to establish a procurement hub leading towards a national procurement capability for the sector. (Award £370,000 / fire and rescue authority projected discounted savings to public sector £27 million.)
• Essex Fire and Rescue Authority will lead a syndicate of nine fire and rescue authorities establishing an insurance pooling arrangement open to all fire and rescue authorities with additional secondary insurance to cover extreme events. Efficiencies will be achieved via reduced insurance costs, whilst continuing to maintain a robust approach to risk management. (Award £220,000 / fire and rescue authority projected discounted savings to public sector £2.3 million.)
FIA Export Manager David Smith commented: “The FIA and its FIRESA Council welcomes the DCLG Transformation Fund, which has allocated significant monies to 37 projects in pursuit of improvements to the front-line activities of our Fire and Rescue Services. Of particular interest to our members is the award of £370,000 to the Devon and Somerset Authority along with Kent and Essex to establish a procurement hub that aims to deliver a national procurement capability to the sector. Given the ever-growing number of tenders that appear from a range of Fire and Rescue Authorities and other bodies, a collaborative approach has the potential to streamline the procurement process across the FRAs to the benefit of both the Services and its suppliers.
“The principles of the Fund are very much in line with central government policy, encouraging much-needed change in the sector but devolving responsibility to the practitioners rather than leading from the front. It remains to be seen whether a multitude of disparate projects that will rely on voluntary co-operation can bring about the concerted transformation that is needed within the Fire and Rescue sector itself and encompassing the ‘Blue Light’ services generally.”