The results of a major consultation by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have been published.
The ‘Your Service, Your Voice’ consultation called for views on proposals that would see the role of firefighters change and expand to do more for communities.
There were 1,563 responses which were analysed independently by researchers at the University of Edinburgh with overwhelming support for the Fire and Rescue Service to remain focussed on their core work of public protection.
Also finding general acceptance was:
- using latest technology to improve firefighting and public safety
- firefighters should be trained and equipped to meet new and emerging risks
- firefighters should be rewarded for taking on an expanded role according to risks involved.
There was a lack of trust surrounding the ability of the service to maintain its core function of protecting the public if some of the reforms were to dilute its response to emergencies. Members of the public were particularly worried about SFRS being used to cover medical emergencies.
Interestingly those who had responded from the Highlands and Islands were more supportive of transformational reform than in urban Scotland.
Dr Kirsty Darwent, Chair of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Board said:
“We are fully committed to ensuring our people, communities, partners and stakeholders are given a clear voice in shaping our future.
“It comes as no surprise to us that we are seeing overwhelming support in some areas while there is a need for further discussion in others.
“We are already working on an action plan to directly address these very areas, as it is vital that we are able to show how we will deliver a transformed Service.
“We have sought this conversation and we embrace the need for further discussion – we want you to continue to have a strong voice in shaping the right solutions.”
“There is no doubt, transforming to take on a broader role will allow our Service to better meet the changing risks we now face. However, we will not lose sight of our core role as the providers of the national fire and rescue service.
“We also welcome the Scottish Government’s ongoing support for our proposals, and their confirmation of over £5m additional funding in the 2019/20 draft budget – funding that will support our continued work towards transformation.
“Transformation remains the right thing to do … not only for the future of the Service – but for the people of Scotland.”