Combination – Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Uniform and Support staff figure

 

CIRCULAR: ALL MEMBERS SY/01 13THAugust 2019

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sister’s

 

 

Combination – Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Uniform and Support staff figures

 

 

In April 2007 Devon Fire and Rescue Service combined with Somerset Fire and Rescue Service on the back of assurances being made by both former Chief Fire Officers that there would be no compulsory redundancies, station closures or cuts to front-line appliances. This is why both FBU Brigade Committees supported this combination at that time. We were led to believe that any savings would be in the “backroom” as we would not need two headquarters, workshops etc. 

 

So where are we today?

 

In the last twelve years 461 uniformed post have been cut. Yes 461 posts, roughly a 25% cut. These cuts have been made by cutting two control rooms down to one, cutting dedicated crewing for special appliances, cutting wholetime crewing of fire appliances and cutting the wholetime crewing at Plymstock and Plympton fire stations. 

 

Devon and Somerset are now proposing to close eight fire station’s, remove a further eight appliances, cut the wholetime night cover at three stations and cut the day cover at a further fourteen Retained Duty System stations. Thirty-three front line appliance’s will either be removed of have their fire cover cut. These proposals could see a further two hundred and forty uniformed post go, all under the title of ‘Safer Together’.

 

Despite these cuts to uniformed posts, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) has seen an increase of sixty jobs in support staff, roughly a 25% increase over the same period of time.

 

Support staff jobs still continue to be advertised today, ICT Software Developer Apprentice, 4 x ICT Software Analyst/ Developer, Head of Estates and Home Safety Administration assistance are an example of this. 

 

This difference is even starker when put in financial terms;

 

 

 

Budget 2007/08

Budget 2013/14

Budget 2019/20

Difference 12 years

Wholetime employee costs

32,661,000.00

32,050,000.00

31,156,000.00

-1,505,000.00

RDS Cost

11,320,000.00

11,905,000.00

14,417,000.00

3,097,000.00

Control

1,942,000.00

1,637,000.00

1,419,000.00

-523,000.00

Support staff

6,954,000.00

10,977,000.00

11,848,000.00

4,894,000.00

 

 

I believe the rise in RDS cost is mostly down to the Part Time Workers Settlement won by the FBU but this is in stark contrast to the over £ 2 million reduction in Wholetime and Control cost, but both of these figures are insignificant when you compare them to the rise in the support staff cost’s. Nearly £5 million pounds in 12 years. How can this be the case following the assurances that were made in 2007 plus the assurance that were given by our present CFO, that support cost would fall due to the cuts in uniformed post that the Fire Authority agreed in 2013? These assurances have clearly not happened.

 

Could the FBU support this combination today?

 

The answer to this question is a resounding NO. You can only come to the sensible conclusion that consecutive CFO’s have broken their assurances and taken their eye off the ball. To allow the frontline to be savagely cut whilst allowing the backroom to balloon is unacceptable. The FBU raised this issue six years ago but the CFO has not addressed this issue at all. This is as unacceptable as the ‘Safer Together’ proposals are. The FBU calls on the CFO to remove the ‘Safer Together’ proposals and start to work on the assurance he made to both the FBU and the public in 2013.

 

 

Yours in Unity

 

Scott Young

 

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