Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has started work on a change programme to enable it to meet significant financial challenges next year and in future years.
The Service must find savings of £3 million to set a balanced budget for the next financial year (2024-5). Further savings will need to be found in the following three to four years.
To meet these financial challenges, the Service has developed a target operating model to identify how it could become more efficient while keeping people safe in emergencies.
Chief Fire Officer Gavin Ellis said: “Everybody will be fully aware of the impact of the global economic crisis that we've faced, the cost-of-living crisis, unfunded pay awards as well as a rise in interest rates, which has had an impact on our utilities and our resources.
“We also need to invest in those areas that are important to us, such as our estates and firefighter training, and work with our staff to drive through these efficiencies.”
Areas that will be reviewed include:
• Wholetime firefighter shift patterns.
• On-call firefighter pay for availability system.
• Attendance at unwanted fire signals.
• Specialist rescue capability.
Mr Ellis updated Members of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority on the proposals at a meeting on Monday 11 December. The formal papers for that meeting can be found on the Fire Authority section of this website.
Senior officers presented to Members on the proposals for changes to the Service to meet the financial deficit next year and in the following years.
Members unanimously endorsed the planned areas for change and that they be included in the revenue budget proposals for 2024-25.
Further work will now continue on the projects to gather information and work with colleagues and other stakeholders where necessary before any final decisions are made.