Agenda and minutes

Fire Services Management Committee - Friday, 18th July, 2014 11.00 am

Venue: Westminster Room, 8th Floor, 18 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HZ. View directions

Contact: Daniel Kalley (tel: 0207 664 3005, email: 

No. Item


Chairman's report pdf icon PDF 87 KB


Members of the Committee thanked the Chairman for these reports and congratulated her on her achievements over the past two years.




Chairman to write to Cllr Heaster to wish him well following an operation.




Members noted the report.



JESIP Legacy pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Roy Wilsher, CFOA Director of Operations and Chief Fire Officer, Hertfordshire County Council will be in attendance for this item.


Roy Wilsher, Director of Operations Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) presented to the Board the work of the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP). Members were informed that the original programme and grant will finish in September 2014. The strong Ministerial commitment to interoperability will see JESIP transform and continue the vision of embedding the aims of the programme into business as usual. In addition the Government had provisionally agreed to fund £500,000 for the project for the financial year 2015/16, however this was subject to the next spending review.


The committee was informed that there were four key areas central to sustaining interoperability namely:


           The joint doctrine;


           testing and exercising; and

           joint organisational learning.


Members thanked Roy for the presentation and asked a number of questions to which Roy responded including:


           Members were keen that the funding for JESIP would continue to come from central government. Members were concerned about the additional financial burdens to the sector if this funding was not forthcoming.

           The fire sector should be achieving level four standards (Optimal/Best Practice) by the end of the financial year 2015/16.

           Most areas had completed their training and all areas except London will be complete by September, with London completing by April 2015.




Members noted the report and thanked Roy Wilsher for the presentation.


Independent Commission on Local Government Finance pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Additional documents:


Eamon Lally, LGA Senior Adviser, introduced the report. He informed Members that the LGA and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) had established an Independent Commission on Local Government Finance. Members were informed that this was an opportunity for Fire and Rescue Authorities to set out any issues they had in relation to financing the sector in the future.


The Independent Commission had published a call for evidence on 3 July 2014. The deadline for submissions was the 15 August 2014. It was suggested that FSMC and CFOA work closely on responding to the call for evidence.


Members welcomed the report and raised a number of questions and comments including:


           Members suggested that going forward the Independent Commission should look at the funding formula as it was felt that was some disparity between different areas of the country.

           There was disappointment that Fire was not mentioned as a specific area that the Independent Commission would look at. In addition there was no mention of resilience, which members felt should have been included in light of the recent flooding crisis.

           A joint response from the LGA and CFOA would be preferable. Members were keen that the Commission was made aware of the financial difficulties facing the fire sector and their concerns that the fire sector would not be able to cope with further reductions to funding.

           The sector did a large amount of work across government. departments and priorities, having a positive impact on outcomes. There was a discussion about the possibility of seeking financial support for the sector’s work across a range of government departments.


Members expressed concern that the membership of the Independent Commission did not include anyone currently working or serving in a local authority capacity. Eamon stressed the commission was independent of the Government and LGA. It was tasked to examine three areas:


           The current position of the local government finance system;

           A potential new system that enables better public service and economic growth; and

           Practical options that could be implemented by a new government.


Cllr Hammond welcomed the views of the FSMC and agreed that she would write to all chairs of Fire Authorities in England to emphasise the importance of FRAs responding to the Commission’s call for evidence, showing their positive impact across a wide range of areas.




Cllr Hammond to write to all Fire Authority chairs regarding the Independent Commission’s call for evidence.


LGA to circulate the joint response to the Commission from the LGA and CFOA.




Members noted the report and agreed to a joint response with CFOA, cleared through Lead Members to the Independent Commission’s call for evidence. LGA officers to circulate the response.


FSMC Industrial Relations update pdf icon PDF 98 KB


Gill Gittins, Principal Negotiating Officer introduced the report and advised Members there was an update to the NJC Brigade Managers pay increase. The National Employers had now made an offer – 1% to those whose basic salary was £99,999 or less and £1000 to those whose basic salary was above that point.  The Association of Principal Fire Officers (the employee representative body for this group) would now consult its members.


Members were informed the technical pensions post had been supported by all bar one fire authority who had yet to make a final decision. Given that position, for the current year the LGA would meet the cost gap. The move towards recruitment will now step up over the summer.


Members were directed to the written ministerial statement from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP in response to Knight.  This statement included an announcement about an Independent Review into Terms and Conditions of operational staff in the fire and rescue service. Gill Gittins reminded Members that the NJC was already involved in constructive discussion on potential changes to meet the needs of the fire service of the future, which encompassed flexibility around roles and work undertaken etc. Correspondence to the Chair of the National Employers had suggested its remit may be wider than conditions but DCLG had been unable to provide clarity in respect of wider intent, rationale, and potential terms of reference.


Members contributed a number of different views in relation to the future  independent review.


Some Members felt that it was the appropriate time to review conditions as the pace of change through the NJC can be slow.


Some Members felt the independent review could usefully look at the role of the modern firefighter alongside a broader look at the fire service and make proposals in the best interest of the sector. It was felt that any outcomes relating to contractual employment matters, if felt to be appropriate for the service, could then be negotiated through the NJC. 


Some Members offered a different view. It was felt that conditions were a matter for the NJC, which had already moved forward in its review. A new review might stall the work that had already been done and hamper progress at this time. It was suggested that the Minister was written to, informing her that a review was already in place.


Gill Gittins advised members that she would ensure all their views were passed on to the National Employers, whom it was expected would wish to raise the matter of potential terms of reference with the Minister.


Cllr Hammond commented that the FSMC should wait for any new terms of reference to be drawn up before looking at the value of the independent review. It was agreed that the new Fire Minister be invited to the Fire Commission in October.




Chairman to write to the new Fire Minister and invite her to the Fire Commission meeting in October.




Members noted the report.


Fire Services Management Committee update paper pdf icon PDF 80 KB


Cllr Les Byrom CBE commented that the fire statistics that had been published should be weaved into any publications or work that the FSMC do going forward. Members agreed that these figures showed how much the sector contributed both nationally and internationally. Members commented that the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award was reward for all the work the Fire and Rescue Service had accomplished over the years.


Cllr Simon Spencer welcomed the report and commented that this was a good place to highlight all the work that the Fire and Rescue Service carries out.




Members noted the report.


End of year report pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Peter Dartford, Vice President Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and Paul Hancock Vice President Elect CFOA will be present during this item.


Cllr Hammond thanked the Committee for all their efforts over the past year and highlighted a number of achievements as detailed in the report. The Chairman commented that the Written Ministerial Statement in response to the Knight Review was welcome and that the only remaining parliamentary process outstanding was the  Communities and Local Government Select Committee report.


Members made a number of suggestions for future items on the Committee including:


           The response to the flooding and highlighting the successes of the service during the response.

           Further reports and information on how the new pensions governance reform would affect local authorities. Members were keen that local authorities came together and created regional pension boards instead of each authority having their own. Members were informed that DCLG’s view is that the starting position next April (when new governance arrangements are introduced) is that each service will have its own pension board. The LGA was arguing that this was not necessary and that authorities could join up, this was supported by the LGA’s pension experts.


Cllr Hammond agreed that Fire and Rescue Authorities should look at priorities over the coming year and let officers at the LGA know their preferences.




To write to Mr Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, asking if it now intends to make representations to the Government on the delay in responding to the Knight review.




Members noted the report.


Notes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 107 KB


Members agreed the minutes from the previous meeting on 30 May 2014.