sirkenOutgoing government Chief Fire & Rescue Advisor Sir Ken Knight has begun the field work stage of his comprehensive operational efficiency review of fire and rescue authorities in England.

The start of the review has been welcomed by several in the sector including Gloucestershire chief Jon Hall who believes it offers a chance for FRSs to show how cost-effective they have become.

“Gloucestershire pride ourselves on being a highly successful service and, from the comments we receive, I know that local communities hugely value their firefighters,” he said. “We are always looking at ways in which we can protect the most vulnerable people in society while maintaining that value for money.”

The review will seek to identify ways fire and rescue authorities can pinpoint savings and improvements, but as the DCLG announcement of the review added "without reducing the quality life-saving services that the country’s firefighters are known for".

In conducting the review, Sir Ken Knight will talk to key partners to help develop his findings including the Local Government Association, Fire Sector Federation, the Chief Fire Officers’ Association and the Fire Brigades Union, as well as individual authorities and other emergency services in order to produce a report for Fire Minister Brandon Lewis in the spring of 2013.

Cllr Kay Hammond, Chair of the Local Government Association's Fire Services Management Committee, also said she was looking forward to the review.

"The reductions in government money for fire services are going to be severe and we are unlikely to see any change in the funding trajectory before 2018, so this review is a timely one," she added.

"Some fire authorities have been very successful at becoming even more efficient, and this review will be an opportunity for some of that excellent work to be shared across the sector. We are keen to work with Sir Ken to ensure that the review is as informative as it can be while still allowing fire authorities the full flexibility they need."

Posted 09/01/2013 by