Fire Service lecturer and Senior Correspondent Tony Prosser compares the Reforming our Fire and Rescue Service white paper with previous reports and discovers a work in progress.
Another government, another white paper: the Bain Report, 2002 (The Independent review of the Fire Service), the Knight Report (2013) etc and now Reforming our Fire and Rescue Service. There is an element of schadenfreude on the part of observers noting that each of the above reports purports to point out the many failings of a service that no one has noticed before. This time the subtext is building professionalism, boosting performance and strengthening governance. Consultation has begun and will end on July 26 this year (or given the delays in publication, it may be some time later…).
Once again the report recognises the success of the service and its members’ skills but wants to build services with communities at their heart. One is tempted to ask if the Home Office or the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (now sharing responsibility for the FRS and its minister) has looked at where the service has come from and the legacy of the past 20 years or so. A decade where statistics for fires, fire deaths and fire injuries have never been so low and no firefighter deaths since 2013 should be celebrated and the service lauded; most particularly since the number of firefighters have been reduced by almost a third.
Read the full article on our digital issue, page 12-13.