Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service have saved at least £4.1 million since its combination five years ago this month, says Deputy Chief Neil Gibbins.

A Local Government Association review has found that the combination − the first voluntary merger in the history of the UK Fire and Rescue Service − has resulted in significant financial savings, therefore minimising increases to the service's council tax precept. Other benefits highlighted include sharing staff and resources and releasing capacity to improve the delivery and efficiency of its services.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Neil Gibbins, who was the Combination Project Director, said: "The joint organisation is in a far stronger position than would be the case if the two services were still separate. We have made significant financial savings whilst creating a more flexible workforce which allows us to put our resources where they are most needed.

"We also have a stronger influence nationally, which means that we can raise issues that affect rural fire services like ourselves at the highest level."

The shared resources has enabled improvements to be made in training and staff development and the growth of the service's commercial operations, he said, which raises additional income and can be re-invested into staff development.

DCO Gibbins added that the service has also been able to be more targeted and innovative in its community safety work, which a growth in its contribution to reducing deaths and injuries from road traffic collisions.


Posted April 12th, 2012 at 0900 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: