Friday, 18 October 2013

CFO's blog 18 October 2013

Well that's next summer sorted out, I'm off to Brazil for a month to watch the World Cup in its spiritual home; Roy Hodgson has delivered what some of the critics thought beyond him and did it in some style, with two victories in 5 days confirming the England team will be now be looking at hotels in Rio and São Paulo. Now when I said I'm off to Brazil, what I really mean is I'm planning to sit in front of the TV watching the football in Brazil and cheering on the team, and time now for David Baddiel and Frank Skinner to update their 1996 version of "Football's Coming Home" the second best ever football song after "Blue is the Colour".

Continuing the entertainment theme and for fans of The Commitments, there is now a stage version booking until the New Year, so if you're looking for a special Christmas treat you won't be disappointed if you go along to see the play about the Irish soul band who were the stars of one of the top films of the last 25 years. 

With a lot of talk about health and fitness at the Firefit conference last week, check out the report by Chris van Tulleken (on BBC2 yesterday) challenging the notion that vitamin pills and supplements are of any benefit if you eat a balanced diet. Indeed he goes a step further and claims that supplements could be a hazard to your health as too much can do you harm - now as someone who has taken their fair share of different supplements (all perfectly legal I must add) most of my adult life, particularly when I was younger and was a bit more into serious training, I wonder now if they did me any good.  Well Mr van Tulleken seems to be saying we are indoctrinated by all the hype and marketing of these products; so maybe I can ditch the pills and rely on my 'five a day' to keep me fit and healthy; somehow I think I'll need a bit more than a bit of fruit and veg to get my dodgy knees through another ski trip!!!

I see its change around time at the BBC with Stephanie Flanders, the Economics Editor for the past 11 years off to join JP Morgan and one of my favourite reporters Robert Peston stepping into the role. The Beeb has taken a fair bit of criticism in recent times but I have to admit to being a fan of its business and economics coverage as they do explain this in terms that I understand; I'm sure we'll be hearing Peston's distinctive tones a lot more on TV and radio as there will be plenty of scope to talk about the economy. On the economic front, does anyone know of a decent glazier as I dropped my iPad earlier this week and smashed the glass, and Apple want £220 to fix it; outrageous was my immediate thought as all I want is a bit of glass about 8 inches by 6 inches, how can that be over two hundred quid? 

My week:
  •  attended the funeral of Ian 'Eddie Edwards' ex-CFO of Bedfordshire; Eddie was a great Chief and a really nice guy who was CFO during the early 1990s and was a great inspiration to many who served with him; a big Crystal Palace fan (don't mention that in Brighton) who will be missed by Lynn, his family and many friends

  • went to the Cross Sector Leadership event at Bramshill where I was part of a presentation panel and listened to how the syndicates of leaders from across the public sector were addressing the challenge of an ageing society. These events provide a forum for leaders from Fire, Police, NHS, Civil Service and Voluntary Sector to come together to learn from each other and to look how they can work together to improve public sector delivery

  • up at Training Centre for an update on resilience planning for flooding and water rescue; good to see a joint input from both and East and West Sussex personnel and a very useful day
  •  great evening at Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club where we said farewell to Colin Doherty who was retiring after 34 years’ service; a very popular member of ESFRS, Colin joined the RDS in Oak, before becoming wholetime and serving most of his career at the Ridge and Bohemia Rd; a great turnout from past and present colleagues with his watch providing the entertainment and Tony proving that give a man a microphone and he can talk uninterrupted for an hour!!
  •  met with members of CMT to discuss the draft strategic plan we will take to the Fire Authority later this year with options for delivering savings as directed by the Authority at their last meeting; also considered options for working with Sussex Police and also work opportunities to work with Surrey and West Sussex FRSs, Surrey and Sussex Police and SECAmb. We also discussed future strategy for responding to AFAs and the potential for income generation
  • attended a meeting of the national pensions committee where discussion was led by DCLG on proposals for future employee contribution levels to the existing pension schemes and the proposed new pension scheme, draft advice from the government actuarial department and proposed costs on the employer cost cap
  • discussion with colleagues from the Federation of European Fire Services (FEU) on a number of pan-Europe issues including the working time direction, conditions of service, working hours and retirement age, installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and data sharing across European FRSs.

  •  went to the Combined Fire Authority (CFA) Conference in Bedfordshire which was attended by 23 of the 24 Authority's; presentations were made by the Fire Minister Brandon Lewis, Cllr. Kay Hammond the LGA lead members for Fire Authorities and Paul Fuller, CFOA President; a very worthwhile one-day event well attended by members and CFOs including a number of elected members from ESFA; thanks also to the ESFRS who helped to organise and support the event.

Crews from Hastings were called out to a deliberate fire at derelict premises in Archery Road, following reports of black smoke seen in the area.  Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used compressed air foam to tackle the fire.  Station Manager Paul Way said: “This is a dangerous site and very difficult to secure. Fire crews had to work in an area which is a rambling derelict building with numerous hazards including cables, lift shafts and unguarded drops.” 

Firefighters from across the City were called out to tackle a fire that had started on a building on the roof of the Churchill Square shopping complex; an acetylene cylinder was involved in the fire and due to the potential for a serious explosion risk, the shopping centre was evacuated; crews extinguished the fire and then set up cooling sprays on the acetylene cylinder to reduce the risk of explosion and remained at the scene for some hours. 

Firefighters from Preston Circus responded to a fire in a four storey building in Brighton where they found fire had started in a kitchen fire in a restaurant. Crews wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel to extinguish the fire then using a positive pressure fan to ventilate the area.  Crews from Hove and Preston Circus were called out to a fire in a flat in Brunswick Street West and had to use BA and hose-reels to tackle the blaze; one person was rescued and taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. 

Firefighters from Stn 11 were called out to an animal rescue earlier this week and on arrival found a falcon had become trapped in a tree!!!  Crews used an aerial appliance to reach the bird and managed to release our feathered friend back to its relieved owner!  Firefighters responded to another animal rescue incident after a tractor pulling a trailer was involved in a collision on the Copthorne Roundabout near Uckfield. Firefighters found trailer carrying 4 cows had overturned, Firefighters responded with the Unimog from Crowborough, and used the crane to lift the internal doors to free the animals after using airbags to raise the trailer.

And looking ahead to next week, Breast Cancer Campaign are asking people across the country to join together to help raise awareness of breast cancer and to raise money for research into earlier diagnosis and prevention. They are asking people for a suggested donation of £2 in order to come in to work on Friday 25 October wearing something pink.

If you would like to support this either by taking part or by just giving a donation then please contact Caroline Bendell in L&OD.