In an exclusive article for FIRE, incoming President of the Chief Fire Officers Association Peter Holland has predicted that Fire Futures will usher in a new phase of major change for the FRS. He also warned that, even in the light of budget cuts and the Big Society agenda, CFOA cannot be expected to strategically direct the Service on behalf of the government.
He said: 'Since 2003 fire and rescue services have had to examine the way that they use their resources and have redirected those resources into community safety activities. This change in focus has been extremely successful and the challenge now is to sustain the momentum, whilst at the same time, ensuring that the protection and operational response elements of the service's work are in no way neglected.
'The Fire Futures strategic review will undoubtedly advocate further change, and will have a profound impact upon fire policy for many years to come. Whatever the outcome of the review, we can all expect more change as we come under increasing pressure to work more efficiently with fewer resources, whilst providing the same or indeed a better level of service, perhaps across a broader spectrum of services.
'With cuts in public sector funding, delivering a better service with potentially less resources will indeed be challenging. All chief fire officers and chief executives will be under increasing pressure to spread limited resources even more thinly.
'In the headlong rush by government to decentralise fire policy, clearly a view must be maintained as to what should remain within central government control. The Chief Fire Officers Association cannot be expected to take on the responsibility of managing the Fire and Rescue Service on behalf of the government, nor should it. Whilst the Association is keen to progress what may be perceived as national functions, the government must still maintain its overall responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service'.
For the full article, see the October issue of FIRE.
Posted September 30 2010