Fire cut-backs

Devon and Somerset Fire Service look at how they can make savings.

Fire cuts voted on next week

Devon and Somerset Fire Service members will vote on saving proposals next Wednesday (10th July). The service will be looking at how to make £8 million in savings by 2015.

The proposals include increasing work in the community to prevent fires and changing the way some fire engines are crewed by having ‘on- call’ Firefighters.

The Service is also reducing support staff numbers and this year alone plans to reduce numbers by around 40 posts. Senior posts have also been reduced. From 2010, the Chief Fire Officer has reduced the Senior Management Board from nine Directors to four.

"The savings we need to make are significant, and following the Spending Review announcement last week and Sir Ken Knight’s review of efficiencies in Fire and Rescue Services, we are clearer about the level of further reductions in the near future.

We have made savings already by looking at how we do things more efficiently as an organisation.

We don’t have the option of staying as we are - we need to make changes in order to maintain a sustainable and effective service to the community."

“The proposals being considered do not require closure of fire stations, removal of fire engines or at this stage compulsory redundancies.

We do however need to live within our means and whilst I would rather not be taking out this amount of money from the Service, in reality we don’t have any control over the funding allocated to us by Government.

I, and the Chairman, will continue to lobby Government to ensure a fairer settlement for the future but we have to face the reality of today.”

– Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell

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Devon and Somerset Fire Service to make 40 job cuts

Devon and Somerset Fire Service say they will be making 40 non-operational job cuts this year, which is 13% of staff. They say this will not include any compulsory redundancies but will be found through deleting empty jobs, retirements and redeployment.

They say they have entered discussions with Avon Fire Service about a merger but currently the talks are about collaboration instead.

Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell says the savings required are unprecedented in the history of the fire service.

Devon and Somerset Fire Service look at savings

After the Chancellor's announcement last week Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service say they now need to find £8 million of savings by 2015/16. That includes the £5.5 million they have to make by 2014/15.

A meeting today has revealed that current savings only reach £7 million so they will have to either make compulsory redundancies or dip into their reserves to balance the books.