SFRS seeks opinion on direction of service

The consultation closes on July 18.
The consultation closes on July 18.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s fire chief for the North of Scotland has called on communities to have their say on how the national service is striving to help keep them even safer.

The Service recently unveiled the SFRS Draft Strategic Plan 2019-2022 – which will set out its proposed direction over the next three years – and an associated consultation.

Now Deputy Assistant Chief Officer David Farries and SFRS Board Chair Kirsty Darwent are appealing directly to communities across the North of Scotland to make their voices heard.

The comprehensive Plan includes enhancing partnership working, looking at the current operational footprint and equipping firefighters to respond to new and emerging risks such as severe weather.

Further proposals look to supporting leadership and diversity within the SFRS workforce - and delivering a first class and sustainable, national Service.

David Farries is the Deputy Assistant Chief Officer for the North of Scotland.

He said: “We want to do so much more for our communities in the North of Scotland, and this is a direct appeal to those who live and work here to have their say on how we propose to do that.

“These plans are the result of a monumental effort and a lot of thought has been invested into how we will move forward and meet new challenges and emerging risks - such as population change and climate change.”

He continued: “Prevention is the cornerstone of what we do, and we have already seen the number of house fires vastly reduced over the last 20 years. Going forward, we believe we can do more to assist our communities and partnership working is the key to that ambition.

“It is vital that the people in the North of Scotland - from Aberdeen and Inverness, to Dundee and up to Skye and as far as Fair Isle - come on this journey with us and help us shape our proposals to meet their unique priorities and needs.”

The objectives included in the Draft Strategic Plan 2019-2022 are drawn from data and intelligence on the changing nature of risk within communities.

Any feedback provided through this latest consultation will be reviewed to inform the Final Strategic Plan, which will be published in October after it has been approved by the Minister and laid before Parliament.

The SFRS will then develop a flexible three year programme that will include an Annual Operating Plan. This will be published each year and monitored on a quarterly basis by the Board and the Service’s Strategic Leadership Team.

SFRS Chair Dr Darwent said: “This is a very exciting time for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as we embark upon an incredible journey to release our full potential to do so much more for our communities.

“It is imperative that we meet the changing risk profile in Scotland and ensure that our firefighters are trained and equipped to work safely and effectively.

“We also want to drive even greater partnership working where appropriate – all pulling together in the same direction to keep communities safer than ever.

“We pride ourselves on being an open and transparent organisation, and we are therefore delighted to share this Plan with the people of Scotland. That feedback is hugely important to us.”

She added: “I would encourage everyone to take some time to ensure their voice heard - and help us shape our vision for the future.”

Community Safety Minister Ash Denham said: “Continual improvement is at the heart of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s three year strategic plan which sets out an ambitious vision to further enhance the service available to communities.

“SFRS are committed to engaging with communities and stakeholders and the public’s voice is absolutely crucial in this process. I would encourage everyone with an interest to engage with the consultation and have their say.”

The consultation will run until Thursday, July 18 and can be accessed at https://firescotland.citizenspace.com/planning-and-performance/draft-strategic-plan-2019-22/