The States of Jersey has proposed a merger of the fire and ambulance services following its Comprehensive Spending Review. A spokesperson said this would create a cost effective Fire and Ambulance Emergency Service with an improved service delivery from a larger workforce with a wider and deeper skills base. FIRE was told that this builds on the close working relationship between both services including operating a joint fire and ambulance service control room.

The proposal is that the merged service will be part of the Home Affairs Department but strong links will be maintained with the Health and Social Services Department to ensure that clinical governance, standards and operational requirements are met. The proposals will now be subject to further analysis and feasibility assessments by the departments before forming part of the business plans for 2011 and 2012.

Chief Fire Officer Mark James said: "The merger proposal is an exciting opportunity for both services to achieve a greater level of collaboration and integration. This will create a first class emergency service for the island whilst at the same time achieving improved efficiencies and cost savings. This merger will ensure that we can meet future challenges with a reduced budget."

The recommendations from the savings review have been supported by the Council of Ministers following the presentation by the Treasury Minister for the States of Jersey.

Jersey's Comprehensive Spending Review is targeted at delivering £65 million (over ten per cent) savings by 2013.

The savings review examined the strategic fit between both emergency services to see if a merger would improve their overall efficiency, effectiveness and resilience. The review was undertaken by the Chief Fire Officer and the Chief Ambulance Officer with independent peer review by the Tribal Group throughout. Part of the review process involved visiting the combined Fire and Ambulance Service in Dublin which showed that such a merger can be successful and deliver benefits.

The independent experts from the Tribal Group concluded that 'the review on the potential to merge fire and ambulance service is reasonable and both services should be commended on the responsiveness, commitment and joint working that they have evidenced conducting this work'.

The proposal is to merge both the services to deliver:

  • A single Fire, Rescue and Ambulance Service for Jersey
  • One principal management team (senior and middle managers)
  • A single command and control structure
  • Shared accommodation and resources
  • A single administration team and support managers
  • Shared HR, finance and IT functions
  • Maintain clear separate emergency response identities with the option for further change in the future as the merged service develops.

 

Photo: The States of Jersey Fire and Rescue Service working alongside the States of Jersey Ambulance Service

 

Date posted: 26th October