Venue: The Hub, Somerset House, Service Headquarters, Exeter
Contact: Steve Yates 01392 872329 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Annual and Ordinary meetings of the Authority held on 7 June 2019 be signed as correct records.
Questions from Members of the Public
In accordance with Standing Orders, Exeter City Councillor Rob Newby asked the following question at the meeting and received the response indicated:
Question I would like to ask if a different proposal for Station 45, Topsham, could be looked at by your committee, being not to close the station but to leave one pump in post and remove the other to Middlemoor?
Response If approved, the consultation process will allow for alternative options to be suggested and subsequently considered as part of any final proposals to be decided by the Authority in the future.
Additionally, some six questions were received from Gideon Amos OBE (Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Taunton Deane) on a range of issues including central government grant funding for the Authority; the effect on response times in areas where station closures may be proposed; pay increases for on-call firefighters; the impact of removal of appliances on wholetime firefighter posts; and whether options to be subject to consultation would indicate both benefits and disadvantages. Mr. Amos was unable to attend the meeting and consequently, in accordance with Standing Orders, would be sent written responses to the questions asked.
Addresses by Representative Bodies
Address from the Fire Brigades Union
The Authority received an address from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) expressing its views on the proposal for public consultation on Service Delivery Operating Model options. These views included:
· that the options for consultation did not represent efforts to match resources to risk but rather represented cuts to front line services;
· that issues of unavailability of on-call appliances could be better addressed by improving contractual conditions for on-call staff;
· that more accurate, up-to-date data was needed to inform any service delivery proposals; and
· that, in light of the above and other issues, the options as presented should not be the subject of public consultation.
The Authority thanked the Fire Brigades Union for its address.
(SEE ALSO MINUTES DSFRA/16 AND DSFRA/17 BELOW)
Address from the Fire and Rescue Services Association
The Authority received an address from the Fire & Rescue Association (FRSA) expressing its views on the proposal for public consultation on Service Delivery Operating Model options. These views included:
· the significance of the on-call service (including those stations identified for possible closure) in providing resilience and support at major incidents; and
· that the Service had not secured any evolution in the on-call service over the years.
(SEE ALSO MINUTES DSFRA/16 AND DSFRA/17 BELOW)
Community Safety & Corporate Planning Committee
The Chair of the Committee, Councillor Redman, to MOVE any recommendations made by the Committee at its meeting on 27 June 2019.
RECOMMENDATION that any recommendations be considered in conjunction with item 8 below.
The Chair of the Committee, Councillor Redman reported on the meeting held on 27 June 2019 which had considered reports on Phase 2 of the Safer Together programme – the proposed re-allocation of resources for the Service Delivery Operating Model and the associated consultation process for this.
(SEE ALSO MINUTES DSFRA/15[a] and [b] ABOVE AND DSFRA/17 BELOW)
Report of the Chief Fire Officer (DSFRA/19/15) attached.
The Authority considered a report of the Chief Fire Officer (DSFRA/19/5) to which was appended the following two reports as considered previously by the Community Safety & Corporate Planning Committee at its meeting on 27 June 2019:
· Report CSCPC/19/2 – Safer Together Programme Service Delivery Operating Model Phase 2 – Reallocation of Resources; and
· Report CSCPC/19/3 - Safer Together Programme Service Delivery Operating Model Phase 2 – Consultation Process.
The first report identified that the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service (“the Service”) had undertaken a comprehensive strategic risk analysis of the fire and rescue related risks faced by its communities through the Integrated Risk Management Planning (IRMP) process. This had been supported by an organisational risk analysis detailed in the Fire & Rescue Plan. The two analyses had identified that changes to the current Service Delivery Operating Model were required to deliver against the Service objectives of:
· prioritising and increasing its capacity to deliver prevention and protection activities, targeted and focused to secure a reduction in known risks in each area;
· securing the best response possible in meeting statutory duties and by effectively matching existing resources to known risks; and
· utilising resources efficiently to ensure the right response is made at the right time.
The Integrated Risk Management Plan approved by the Authority in 2018 identified the following community risks:
· an increasingly ageing population;
· common health and well-being risks;
· the unavailability of on-call appliances;
· the historical distribution of service delivery resources;
· an increasing demand for emergency medical responses; and
· an increase in the number of serious fires affecting commercial premises.
The development of the Service Delivery Operating Model was aimed at reshaping service delivery provision to provide an efficient response to risk, meeting statutory dwelling fire and road traffic collision duties, addressing over and under capacity, updating duty systems to better match both response requirements and staff needs and releasing resources to support further investment in prevention and protection activities to reduce future risk. Consequently, the proposals encompassed stations, appliances, operational duty systems and staffing levels.
The detailed risk modelling process had identified an over-provision of resource to the extent that 17 appliances could be removed from the existing fleet of 121 and 8 stations closed without any significant impact on the risks faced by the community. Three stations could change status from having whole-time staff on duty both day and night to crewing with whole-time staff during the day and on-call staff at night. Another 14 appliances could have availability varied to more effectively align to risk, again all without significant impact. Additionally, analysis of the changing risk across Devon and Somerset highlighted a need for a more flexible response to changes to risk that could occur daily and seasonally. To address this, it was proposed to introduce day-duty “roving” appliances that could be deployed dynamically and targeted at known risk “hot spots”.
A pre-consultation exercise had been undertaken by an external company – the Consultation Institute – to sample the population of Devon and Somerset and gauge their expectations of ... view the full minutes text for item DSFRA/17
Report of the Chief Fire Officer (DSFRA/19/16) attached.
The Authority considered a report of the Chief Fire Officer (DSFRA/19/16) on a review of the Authority’s process for addressing complaints against its statutory officers (Chief Fire Officer, Monitoring Officer and Treasurer). The review had been prompted by correspondence received by relevant authorities (excluding combined fire and rescue authorities) from the Joint Negotiating Committee for Chief Executives of Local Authorities (JNC). The correspondence invited relevant authorities to ensure, prior to the start of a new municipal year, that a compliant process was in place to address disciplinary issues for statutory officers.
The report identified that, whilst the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Authority was not a relevant authority for the purposes of the relevant regulations and JNC correspondence, it was nonetheless appropriate for it to have procedures in place which were comparable with those of county and unitary authorities and which, in turn, were based on the Model Disciplinary Procedure and Guidance issued by the JNC initially in 2015.
The process proposed for the Authority featured:
1. delegation to a [retitled] Appraisals and Disciplinary Committee to undertake the initial stages associated with receipt of a complaint against statutory officer i.e.:
a. determination of whether the complaint should be investigated;
b. if so, to decide – in agreement with the officer subject to the complaint – the designated independent person to undertake the investigation;
c. consider the outcome of the resultant investigation and determine:
i. whether any sanction, short of dismissal, should be imposed; or
ii. to recommend dismissal to the full Authority;
2. establishment of an Appeals Committee to consider appeals by the officer subject to the complaint against imposition of any sanction other than dismissal;
3. in the event of a recommendation of dismissal, an independent review stage (to be undertaken by the Authority’s Independent Person(s) appointed in accordance with the Localism Act 2011) prior to consideration by full the Authority of the recommendation to dismiss; and
4. delegation to the Monitoring Officer of power to suspend – following consultation with the Authority Chair - the Chief Fire Officer immediately in an emergency or if an exceptional situation arose whereby allegations of misconduct by the Chief Fire Officer were such that their continued presence at work would pose a serious risk to the health and safety of others or the resources, information or reputation of the Authority.
The above aligned with the process advocated for county and unitary authorities by the JNC.
The report also proposed minor amendments to the Authority’s approved Scheme of Delegations to clarity the power of the Chief Fire Officer to suspend the Monitoring Officer and Treasurer – should this be felt necessary – on receipt of any complaint against one of these officers.
(a). that the Chief Fire Officer’s Appraisals Panel be retitled the Appraisals and Disciplinary Committee with revised Terms of Reference, as indicated in paragraph 3.1 and Appendix B to report DSFRA/19/16, to undertaken initial stages associated with any complaint received against a statutory officer;
(b). that the assessment criteria for use ... view the full minutes text for item DSFRA/18
RECOMMENDATION that, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A (as amended) to the Act, namely information relating to the financial and business affairs of any particular person – including the authority holding that information.
RESOLVED that, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person – including the authority holding that information.
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Authority - Restricted Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 7 June 2019
(An item taken in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 during which the press and public were excluded from the meeting).
RESOLVED that the Restricted Minutes of the ordinary meeting of the Authority held on 7 June 2019 be signed as a correct record.