Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority have approved a series of measures to cut costs across our fire service provision resulting in cuts in Cannock Chase alone in excess of £389,000.
This meeting held in July also highlighted delays for a number of other fire service changes awaiting the outcome of a project known as Staffordshire Efficient Response Options. We will have to wait and see what the outcomes are across the County and hope these are not hidden by time and a lack of media, public knowledge or interest. I for one will be keeping a look out for further potential cuts.
We are told by Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford that any decisions will be made without crossing two red lines of safety of the fire fighters and the safety of the public, sowhilst we can take assurance from these statements, we can also hold Mr Dartford to account in the future.
The proposal which was considered the most revolutionary was known as the New Service Delivery Model which would move the Fire Service to an emergency response, and this was rejected. The questions arise as to why this was included and further that a number proposals were not considered whilst SERO is worked through.
Marc Ganly, Green Party Rugeley Town Councillor commented
“We are delighted that the FRA is not progressing the proposed new delivery model which was recognised as universally disliked across our community. However it is extremely worrying that Cannock Chase has been hit disproportionately hard by the approved recommendations with cuts at both Cannock and Rugeley. The fact that an award winning Targeted Response Vehicle crew from Cannock can be cut as a consequence of austerity imposed on our public services is a sign of things to come as further cuts hit all our public services.”
With my Cannock Chase Local Party Co-ordinator hat on I explained in the media
“More broadly there are two concerning matters arising from the business of the FRA today. Firstly the recommendations and subsequent decisions across a number of stations to postpone the decision pending the outcome of the Staffordshire Efficient Response Options (SERO) project by the end of 2015 appears to have rendered the consultation into four stations (Stafford, Kidsgrove, Burslem and Tamworth Mercia) a waste of time and money. As SERO has been ongoing for quite some time this was not discussed in the consultation documents and further will we have more drastic changes being implemented without public consultation in these areas later in the year. Secondly the FRA voted unanimously to “explore opportunities for collaborating or where appropriate and justified by evidence, integrating services with other organisations” this is of great concern given the council’s agenda of privatising all our public services and the Tory national agenda to get fire services under the control of the police and crime commissioner as supported by our local MP. We really do need everyone to be aware that these decisions are being made every day on our behalf and we would encourage everyone to get involved with a voice to be heard about this systematic dismantling of our community infrastructure”