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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham.

Contact: James McLaughlin, Head of Democratic Services  The webcast can be viewed at http://www.rotherham.public-i.tv

Items
No. Item

22.

Declarations of Interest

 

To receive declarations of interest from Members in respect of items listed on the agenda.

Minutes:

Councillor Robert Taylor declared a personal and pecuniary interest in item 258 (Consultation – South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service – Integrated Risk Management Plan) on the basis that he was the Chair of the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority for the 2019-20 municipal year.

23.

Questions from Members of the Public and the Press

 

To receive questions relating to items of business on the agenda from members of the public or press who are present at the meeting.

Minutes:

A member of the public referred to the proposals in the Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) which was subject to consultation by the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (SYFRS) and suggested that the consultation offered a binary choice of a reduction of 84 firefighters or reducing the wholetime cover to daytime staffing and night time on call staffing. In his opinion, the only realistic way forward would be to staff fire engines in a different way meaning that the number of full time fire engines would fall according to the scale of savings required. He asked whether agreement to the draft consultation document would mean several fire stations could suffer a reduction in cover without the service having to go to full public consultation. The Chair thanked Mr Carbutt for his question and indicated that he would pass it on to the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service for response.

 

A further question was put by a member of the public who referred to the Fire and Rescue Authority’s budget reserves of £24m and enquired whether the level of reserves held was a barrier to obtaining more funding and whether those reserves might be used differently to fund 84 frontline firefighters. The Chair thanked Mr. Nicholls for his question and indicated that he would pass it on to the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service for response.

 

24.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

 

To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any part of the agenda.

Minutes:

The Chair reported that there were no items of business on the agenda that would require the exclusion of the press and public from the meeting.

25.

Consultation - South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service - Integrated Risk Management Plan pdf icon PDF 74 KB

 

To consider the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s draft Integrated Risk Management Plan and respond to the current consultation on the document.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was reported that South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority had commenced a consultation on a new Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). On 21 March 2018, the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board recommended that in the event of the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service consulting on future Integrated Risk Management Plan, it should be considered by the scrutiny committees of each of the constituent authorities to receive considered feedback (minute 124 refers). Chief Fire Officer, Mr. James Courtney, the Chair of the Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor Robert Taylor, and the Director of Support Services at the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Mr. Stuart Booth, attended the meeting to present the consultation proposals and seek feedback from Members.

 

Introducing the proposals, Mr Courtney explained that the public sector was in the ninth year of austerity, with local authorities and fire and rescue authorities having suffered cuts to funding in each of years prior to this. In the case of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, it was noted that the budget had reduced by almost 30% during that period. Mr. Courtney reiterated the changes that have had to been made as a consequence of those cuts to budgets. Whilst there had been some optimism that the financial situation was beginning to improve, but legal judgement against the Fire and Rescue Service in respect of crewing arrangements meant that SYFRS could not use a close proximity system. Compared to other metropolitan counties and service areas, South Yorkshire was well less provided for and Mr. Courtney remained concerned about cuts to the sector in the future.

 

In view of the foregoing, Mr. Courtney explained that it was beholden on SYFRS to develop proposals within the available budget and that was what the proposed plan sought to do. He confirmed that SYFRS would continue to seek savings from elsewhere and lobby government in respect of the ongoing financial situation. The proposal in the consultation document was to reduce ridership to four person crews. He reminded Members that SYFRS had consistently tried to protect the ability to provide an immediate response to incidents that occur within South Yorkshire. All 17 fire stations in South Yorkshire that provided response prior to the start of austerity were still providing immediate response. However, ongoing reductions to budget meant that SYFRS would be unable to maintain an immediate response if savings could not be found from elsewhere.

 

Mr. Courtney explained that he had contacted every Chief Fire Officer in the country to ascertain how many service were riding four person crews. He had received 17 responses in the affirmative. Up to eight other services had indicated that whilst they aspire to have five person crews, the Chief Fire Officer in those services had accepted that crews would regularly ride with four person crews. In a specific example, Mr. Courtney had consulted with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, which started to introduce four person crews in 2011. This was extended and the authority committed to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Urgent Business

 

To determine any item which the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

 

The Chair reported that there were no items of business requiring the urgent consideration of the Board.

27.

Date and time of next meeting

 

The next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will take place on Wednesday 17 July 2019 at 11.00 a.m. in Rotherham Town Hall.

Minutes:

Resolved:-

 

That the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board be held on Wednesday 17 July 2019 commencing at 11.00 a.m. in Rotherham Town Hall.