10/11/2015 Leave a comment
Clearly this is an emotive issue and one which will require full and thorough discussion. We have difficult decisions to make and we are committed to protecting vulnerable adults and children, so we have to look across all areas of the council in order to meet our budget gap.
Here in Suffolk, we are incredibly fortunate to have a highly skilled and forward thinking fire service; a great deal of protection and prevention work has already taken place over the last 10 years which has made great inroads in reducing demand for its 999 services.
In recent years SCC has done everything possible to protect our fire and rescue service against reductions in grant funding from central government. I am proud that we have driven forward our programme of investment in fire stations, training facilities, fire appliances, firefighting clothing and equipment. We are working collaboratively with Suffolk’s blue light emergency services, and plan to develop this further in the future.
The proposed consultation will seek views on a range of specific proposals for changing the way the fire and rescue service is set-up across the county. The changes have been proposed to meet the ongoing reductions in funding for the fire service, but also to reflect the more than 30 per cent reduction in 999 call demand over the last 10 years.
I accept that the proposals are challenging, but these have been shaped by feedback from a pre-consultation exercise which we carried out over the summer. I am also confident that the proposals mean that we will continue to deliver an outstanding service for the people of Suffolk and I would like to encourage people to take part in this consultation. It is vital that we hear from the people of Suffolk and that their input can shape how public services are delivered.
If Cabinet agrees to launch the consultation at tomorrow’s meeting, a 14 week consultation will then take place with the public, staff and interested parties. This will start on Monday 16 November 2015 and conclude on Monday 22 February 2016