The creation of the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme can help build a national policy from "towers of excellence across the services" according to Fiona Barton QC.

Speaking at the JESIP launch summit taking place as part of the Emergency Services Show [21-22 Nov] the ES lawyer told delegates, "just because they [all Services] aren't broken doesn't mean they can't be upgraded" suggesting that the new interoperability programme was key to achieving this.

In a frank challenge to all emergency service leaders, Barton said she sought to "raise issues for room for improvement across all services".

She continued: "The problem we have at the moment is that the Civil Contingencies Act needs to be applied on national level not just locally ... Localisation is leading to huge pitfalls on national co-ordination and a key goal for JESIP is to overcome this.

"We have towers of excellence in each of the Services but like Kaplunk if one of the Services pulls out then the whole building falls down. JESIP can help plug the holes through communication and co-ordination on a national level.

"There is nothing more damaging to the public's perception of the Services than a lack of co-ordination between responders, the kind of which we saw back during Hillsborough and 7/7.

"It's clear local procedures and protocols don't work in national-scale incidents. Only through a programme like JESIP can we develop the necessary formal basis to what is an already excellent day to day working relationship between police, ambulance and fire."

Taking on the subject of the challenges facing JESIP over the next 22 months it will exist, policing lead Chief Superintendent Jo Byrne labelled them as:

- Visibility

- Engagement

- Service autonomy

- Collective attitudes 

- Appetite for change 

She went on to suggest that "we [officers] need to stop thinking in terms of fire ambulance or police response but Emergency Services response to incidents".

Her colleague, ambulance lead Keith Prior outlined the four main working groups of JESIP as: doctrine; learning; situational awareness; and operational communications, before urging all Service leaders to get involved in the programme.

It was left to JESIP chair and Hertfordshire CFO Roy Wilsher to close proceedings on the launch by saying that "the programme can only be effective if each agency takes individual ownership and so we hope to hear from you all in the near future".

For more from the Emergency Services Show follow @fire_editor  on Twitter with #ess

We will have much more on the developments of JESIP in upcoming editions of FIRE Magazine, Policing Today and on Ambulance News.

Posted 23/11/2012 by