Fire services could save £200m

Fire and rescue services in England could save up to £200 million a year if they were operated more efficiently, according to a report.

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Essex County Fire and Rescue speak out to reassure the public over the future of the service

Senior officers at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service have today spoken out to reassure the public over the future of the County’s fire service.

The reassurance comes in response to a widely-publicised, independent report by Sir Ken Knight, former chief fire and rescue adviser for England, recommending change for the UK’s fire and rescue service.

The report, called Facing the Future, looks into efficiencies which could be achieved by fire services and points towards merger, collaboration and even potential nationalisation as a route to delivering up to £200 million in savings.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley says: “As a Service, Essex is already following a number of the strategies set out in Sir Ken’s report and we have a good story to tell.

"We are midway through a major workforce transformation programme designed to completely overhaul the organisation, its people and its processes.

“We are implementing new ways of working to use our people in the most efficient and effective way to cover temporary shortfalls on fire stations and improve the availability of fire engines across the County. We have reduced firefighter numbers.

“Over the next few years, we are anticipating a need to deliver services with significantly less money, so clearly some of the strategies Sir Ken outlines will continue to be on our radar.

“The fire and rescue service is likely to undergo significant change and traditional work practices will have to be challenged as managers across the UK look to deliver more for less.

“ECFRS senior managers will consider the report and the recommendations with members of the Fire Authority in due course.”

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