Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority (HFRA) and Serco have announced their intention to work together and bid for safety related contracts in a move which HFRA chair Royston Smith says is a perfect example of how Hampshire "take innovative solutions to improving community service".

The deal will see HFRA partner with Serco via its newly created commercial trading arm to offer "a multi-skilled" offering to both the public and commercial sectors on contracts such as Defence Fire Risk and Management Organisation (DFRMO) which is expected to come to market shortly.

DFRMO currently provides fire risk management to MOD sites and operations in the UK and overseas, and will be the initial focus of the collaboration according to Serco's BU Transformation & Business Support Director Jolyon Jackson.

"We're all very excited about this development and the potential it offers to utilise our joint capabilities for a unique, high quality and cost-effective solution for delivering fire and rescue services," said Mr Jackson.

"Once we became aware that the DFRMO contract was due to become available, we began looking at fire and rescue services to collaborate with and Hampshire, as one of the most proactive and high performing fire and rescue services in the UK, were the perfect fit."

Cllr Smith added that the move will not only help  HFRA’s meet future financial challenges  caused by the squeeze in public finances, but also help protect frontline services for the local community as any deals will see profits reinvested back into Hampshire's day-to-day services.

"All Fire Authorities face a significant financial challenge at the moment and so in that situation, you have two options: you can either man the barricades, keep putting your case to the government and hope the funding situation changes or look at other options," he explained.

"It’s not by accident that HFRS is one of the best services in the country, it’s by developing innovative solutions to the problems we face and this [deal with Serco] is just one step we are taking to improve the service we provide to the local community."

To read our full report on the HFRA and Serco partnership, including exclusive interviews with HFRA chairman Royston Smith, HFRS DCFO Dave Curry and Serco's Jolyon Jackson click here to subscribe to FIRE Magazine.

Posted 20/02/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com