Have your say on fire merger

This Is Wiltshire: Coun Garry Perkins Coun Garry Perkins

WILTSHIRE Fire and Rescue could soon be merged with another area’s service and work more closely with the police, in an attempt to save money.

In the face of heavy cuts, a proposal has been put forward to merge Wiltshire and Dorset Fire Services to save £4m and protect frontline services. The move would also see resources with other partner agencies shared.

However, this is not the only option available although it is the one which will save the most money.

Other possibilities include closer work with other agencies but these will not deliver the required level of savings.

Over the next few years, the fire service is expecting to see its budget from Government cut in half, leading to a 20 per cent reduction in overall funding.

People are being presented with three options to choose from. The first will see the service working more closely with both Wiltshire and Swindon Council, such as sharing office space. The second would involve the same moves but include more cooperation, although not a full merger, with Dorset Fire Service.

Neither of those options deliver the required savings so it is possible extra cuts to frontline services would be needed.

The merger option would see the two services combine to share back office services, which fire chiefs have said is the best way to avoid further cuts.

As well as merging, the third option includes closer work with the council and other partners such as Wiltshire Police. Coun Garry Perkins (Con, Haydon Wick), who is on the Wiltshire Fire Authority, said: “For me the third option is the only one in which the numbers add up without any cuts to frontline services.

“That is the most important thing. When people call the fire brigade they should get a response. If things carry on then Wiltshire Fire Service will be £3m in the red as all the reserves will have been used up.

“The only viable option is for closer work with Wiltshire Council and other partners such as the police.”

The consultation is being sent to around 5,000 random households across the region while it is also available online.

Wiltshire Councillor Chris-topher Devine, Chairman of Wiltshire & Swindon Fire Authority, said: “We face difficult financial times ahead that result from cuts to our central Government grant. We need to find significant savings from our limited budget whilst protecting frontline services.

“It is vital local people take this opportunity to find out more about the proposals and have their say, and we would encourage as many people as possible to get involved now that the consultation has started.”

To complete a consultation form visit www.wiltsfire.gov.uk/strengtheningourfrs

Comments (3)

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12:25pm Wed 6 Aug 14

brandx says...

It is obvious that there is only one viable option to cover the Coalition government imposed cuts. That is the merger with Dorset - as it will dispense with a number of highly paid, senior uniformed officers and combine all manner of support functions.

In reality the other options involving Wiltshire Council or Swindon Borough doing some back office functions are just playing around the edges. They will save at most around £700,000, nowhere near the £3.9 million required. Only the merger can do that. Without the merger, fire stations will close, fire fighters will be sacked and fire cover and risk will increase. This is an extremely high risk and dangerous strategy.

Take part in the consultation and vote for the only viable option - the merger with Dorset.
It is obvious that there is only one viable option to cover the Coalition government imposed cuts. That is the merger with Dorset - as it will dispense with a number of highly paid, senior uniformed officers and combine all manner of support functions. In reality the other options involving Wiltshire Council or Swindon Borough doing some back office functions are just playing around the edges. They will save at most around £700,000, nowhere near the £3.9 million required. Only the merger can do that. Without the merger, fire stations will close, fire fighters will be sacked and fire cover and risk will increase. This is an extremely high risk and dangerous strategy. Take part in the consultation and vote for the only viable option - the merger with Dorset. brandx
  • Score: 2

1:56pm Wed 6 Aug 14

house on the hill says...

brandx wrote:
It is obvious that there is only one viable option to cover the Coalition government imposed cuts. That is the merger with Dorset - as it will dispense with a number of highly paid, senior uniformed officers and combine all manner of support functions.

In reality the other options involving Wiltshire Council or Swindon Borough doing some back office functions are just playing around the edges. They will save at most around £700,000, nowhere near the £3.9 million required. Only the merger can do that. Without the merger, fire stations will close, fire fighters will be sacked and fire cover and risk will increase. This is an extremely high risk and dangerous strategy.

Take part in the consultation and vote for the only viable option - the merger with Dorset.
I am guessing you are not one the highly paid senior officers about to lose their jobs then? These sort of mergers are the sort of things that look great on paper but in reality create a lot more problems than they let on when trying to sell it. And where does it stop, why not merge even further?

Not sure about this one/
[quote][p][bold]brandx[/bold] wrote: It is obvious that there is only one viable option to cover the Coalition government imposed cuts. That is the merger with Dorset - as it will dispense with a number of highly paid, senior uniformed officers and combine all manner of support functions. In reality the other options involving Wiltshire Council or Swindon Borough doing some back office functions are just playing around the edges. They will save at most around £700,000, nowhere near the £3.9 million required. Only the merger can do that. Without the merger, fire stations will close, fire fighters will be sacked and fire cover and risk will increase. This is an extremely high risk and dangerous strategy. Take part in the consultation and vote for the only viable option - the merger with Dorset.[/p][/quote]I am guessing you are not one the highly paid senior officers about to lose their jobs then? These sort of mergers are the sort of things that look great on paper but in reality create a lot more problems than they let on when trying to sell it. And where does it stop, why not merge even further? Not sure about this one/ house on the hill
  • Score: 2

5:36pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Ollie Dognacky says...

What idiot gave Garry Perkins any responsibility over public safety services.
Free wifi anyone??
What idiot gave Garry Perkins any responsibility over public safety services. Free wifi anyone?? Ollie Dognacky
  • Score: 1

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