Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Fire Authority has today (Friday 28 February) agreed to invest a further £1.4m as part of an ambitious 'Transformation and Efficiency Strategy', that aims to support Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service's (NFRS) drive for more efficiency and effectiveness.
NFRS' newly introduced 'Transformation and Efficiency Strategy' sets out a sector-leading programme, that will seek to further improve its services and the productivity of its staff over the next two years. The workstreams detailed in the Strategy include:
- Further investment in digital technology to enable operational staff to work with greater mobility and agility;
- Responding to the initial learning outcomes following the Grenfell Tower enquiry, with more expected in the second phase of the process;
- Ongoing support for collaboration projects and programmes, the biggest of which will be the move to the new Joint Headquarters with Nottinghamshire Police in 2022;
- More training and development for all staff, to meet the continuous improvement challenge laid down by the fire sector.
During 2019, NFRS firefighters attended just over 15,000 emergency calls that not only included fires and incidents on Nottinghamshire roads, but also flooding, animal rescue and to support other emergency services where lives were potentially at risk.
In addition to its response function, prevention and protection activities have also continued to be a focus for the Service. In the last year, NFRS has increased its visits to schools, businesses and homes to provide advice and support around fire and other issues. The number of Safe and Well checks, which target those most at risk within their homes, has grown by 25% to 6,000 per year – this is set to double to 12,000 by 2022.
The strategy focusses on protecting services currently delivered by NFRS to communities across Nottinghamshire and the City, in a financial year that poses no cuts to the Service's budget – the first in a decade.
The Fire Authority today also approved a Council Tax increase of 1.95%, which will further secure the quality and effectiveness of services. This equates to a rise for the year of between £1.04 and £3.12, for Bands A-H, for the Fire Authority's portion of the council tax bill.
Chair of the Fire Authority, Councillor Michael Payne, said: "Most households within the City and County fall into Bands A and B, which means for these people the Fire Authority part of the Council Tax will increase between £1.04 and £1.21 per year.
"We've agreed this move as the Service needs to continue to invest in the future delivery of its services and staff, ensuring it can respond to the everchanging needs of the people that live and work within the City and County, as well as the changing demands of the fire sector itself.
"During the last year NFRS has made great strides, but we want to improve even further against a backdrop where funding continues to be a challenge. I'm sure our citizens believe NFRS offers real value for money and, therefore, understand our decision to increase the Fire Authority Council Tax by 1.95%."
John Buckley, NFRS Chief Fire Officer, added: "The sector is at a pivotal moment in time. We are starting to see some initial outcomes from the Grenfell fire inquiry, and all fire and rescue services have undertaken their first inspections by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
"The new Strategy sets out very clear ambitions to transform the Service, to lead the way in the sector and to strive for improvements, that will positively impact on risk within our communities. The increase in Council Tax will support those ambitions and will enable us to deliver improvements in efficiency and effectiveness, for the benefit of our Nottinghamshire citizens."
You can find out more about the council tax increase