- Attended the National Health Service senior leadership assessment centre as an assessor; really interesting to work with another public service to see how they select their senior leaders and also to have the opportunity to interview senior NHS leaders. We will also benefit, as the NHS will provide assessors to support Fire Rescue Service assessment centres.
- Met with a colleague from the British Red Cross who is assisting the support we are providing to Uganda, to help improve their community safety work and in particular their response to Road Traffic Collisions. Training centre staff have put together a package of the Road Traffic Collision training we provide in the UK and our Community Fire Safety staff have included information on our community engagement programmes. Our colleagues in Uganda hope to be able to tailor these programmes for their local needs.
- Invited to meet with the Chairman of East Sussex County Council Councillor Chris Dowling to discuss our medium term proposals for response, prevention and protection; as well as opportunities to work with the County Council to continue our community engagement programmes. The County Council is very keen to continue working with East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and are also interested in our proposals for the new fire station in Newhaven and the use of shared sites and shared services.
- Continuing discussions with West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service on the Sussex Control Project, with teams from both Services working closely together on ensuring the project meets our needs and expectations. Also, moving forward work on leading and development and the opportunities we may have to share more training between the two Services.
- Held a meeting of the national Chief Fire Officers Association People and Organisational Development Committee, with representatives across the country discussing different duty systems, improving literacy and numeracy, supporting the FireFit project to develop new fitness standards and amendments to national occupational standards.
- Preparations for the Fire Authority's budget setting meeting next month, with continuing discussions with trade unions in ESFRS. I have received some formal representations which set out our individual trade union concerns and these will be considered by the Fire Authority.
- Pensions meeting last week discussed the new pension schemes which are due for implementation for all our staff. Government will consult over the next few months with an intention to have legislation before Parliament in 2014 and new schemes in place by 2015. Also discussed the proposed changes to the 'old age pension' which will affect all of us to varying degrees and which may include some changes to national insurance contributions. We will advise staff further if we are able to, if we get further information on the proposals from Government.
- Went to the national HR Conference which was attended by over 90 delegates from across the country including some of our staff; I was invited to make a presentation on the major HR issues facing Services and other presentations focused on excellent leadership, employment law and the Retained Duty System. Andy Dark, from the Fire Brigades Union, gave a presentation outlining their views on the savings Services are proposing, and different duty systems being introduced around the country.
- A meeting was held with the Chairman at headquarters, as he will be writing to the Fire Minister about funding for our Maritime team. We are also looking at how we would support the Fire Service College after its sale to Capita and to prepare for the next Members’ seminar. We will have to consider future savings and what areas of work currently delivered by ESFRS that we may no longer be able to continue to deliver.
However, the incident illustrates that chemical leaks and similar industrial accidents can spread far and wide and those of you who can remember the nuclear incident in Chernobyl in 1986 will know that nearly 27 years later over 300 farms in the UK are still restricted in the way they use land because of the radioactive fall-out.