January 2014 saw the beginning of a mutually beneficial arrangement whereby Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) vehicles make use of capacity at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (HFRS) Fleet Maintenance Centre. One year on and the project has been deemed a success, achieving over £200,000 worth of public savings and in the region of 3,500 hours of vehicle maintenance carried out on RBFRS vehicles.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Officer Dave Curry said: “This arrangement is producing benefits for both fire services – there is a combined public sector benefit of around £200,000 per annum. And it’s definitely helping us both meet our ongoing financial challenges. As far as I’m aware there’s nothing else like this in the UK Fire Service where two authorities are sharing the running costs at one single facility.”
Royal Berkshire has, for many years, outsourced its vehicle maintenance to a number of private sector providers and wanted to bring service provision back in house. Meanwhile, HFRS has dedicated specialist workshop facilities with capacity to undertake additional workshop based maintenance.
From January last year, RBFRS appliances began arriving at HFRS’s Fleet Maintenance Centre (FMC). Hampshire operates the main workshop with RBFRS contributing a member of staff to the team. ‘On the road’ repairs and maintenance are undertaken by mobile workshops, staffed in the south by HFRS technicians and by RBFRS technicians in the north of the combined region.
In terms of the volume of vehicles that can pass through the FMC in Eastleigh, HFRS has around 330 vehicles and approximately 970 pieces of associated equipment, while RBFRS has around 150 vehicles and 230 pieces of associated equipment.
RBFRS Chief Fire Officer Andy Fry added: “This partnership has been so successful in terms of saving jobs and money, that we have just had Fire Transformation funding awarded to help create a light vehicle workshop to extend and enhance the partnership.”