East and West Sussex fire and rescue services are developing options around closer collaboration with each other, in the hope of increasing operational resilience and preserving frontline services.

Both services are developing a business case to examine the potential benefits such collaboration would bring to residents across Sussex and the City of Brighton and Hove. The focus, according to a statement, would be on increasing operational efficiency whilst making savings in management costs and back office functions. At this stage, no options have been ruled out and no decisions taken.

The options for closer collaboration will go before East Sussex Fire Authority and West Sussex County Council for a decision in March 2011.

Chairman of East Sussex Fire Authority, Cllr Ted Kemble, said: "I think it is right that both services are exploring the potential benefits of closer collaboration with the aim of providing the people of Sussex with an even better and more resilient fire and rescue service. Working closer together may also enable significant savings, especially in terms of management costs. Both services already work closely together on many issues and have a strong working relationship, particularly in supporting each other at operational incidents."

Cllr Peter Evans, the Cabinet Member for Public Protection at West Sussex County Council, said: "This initiative could drive improvements over and above what has already been achieved under the West Sussex Fire Service Redesign Plan. The business case will focus on preserving frontline services and developing service capacity."

He continued: "My priorities are the protection of our residents, protecting the Fire and Rescue Service workforce and providing them with the best equipment to do their jobs."


Posted December 20 2010