Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service - Programme for Change

Closed 31 May 2019

Opened 29 Mar 2019

Feedback Updated 4 Dec 2019

We Asked

Programme for Change represents a major transformation programme for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service with the aim of ensuring the Service has the right resources in the right places, is well-equipped, well-managed, and well-led.

There is a recognised need for GMFRS to modernise, and there has been ongoing work for some years to develop the Service to ensure that it is in line with today’s risks. The new governance arrangements and the election of a Mayor in 2017, who has responsibility for the fire service, has acted as a catalyst to drive this need for transformation forward.

The Outline Business Case for Programme for Change sets out in detail the challenges faced by GMFRS and our proposals for how the Service might look in the future.

This consultation is the public's opportunity to contribute their views on some of the content of the business case, including -

  • Our proposal to consolidate six fire stations into three brand new, state-of-the-art community fire stations in Bolton, Manchester and Stockport
  • Our proposal to manage our fleet of fire engines, whilst ensuring that we still have a response time that is faster than the national average

The survey was open from March 25 and ran until May 31.

You Said

You can view the full Programme for Change consultation report here.

In total we received 402 responses to this consultation which included 1,286 individual comments. These were received via the online survey and via email.

Members of the public were mainly concerned with the reduction in the overall number of fire engines in Greater Manchester. This concern was evidenced by referencing the emerging risks of moorland fires, high-rise buildings, future building developments and the threat of terrorism

Other feedback included the increase in funding for emergency services and the need for more campaigning at a national level to secure support for GMFRS.

In addition to this public feedback, there was also significant feedback from staff and trade unions, which isn’t featured here, but has contributed to decision making.

We Did

The results of the survey have been collated into a report that has been considered by the GMFRS leadership and the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and has informed potential changes to the initial proposals. The consultation report was also presented at the GMCA Corporate Issues and Reform Scrutiny Committee.

The feedback we received from the survey as well as our engagement with staff have informed a number of proposed amendments to our initial proposals.

Our updated proposals include:

  • The current arrangements around the number of firefighters on fire engines will be maintained for this financial year.
  • Firefighter numbers will remain at or above May 2017 levels for at least the next financial year.
  • Firefighters will see their role around prevention and protection enhanced, in areas around fire safety visits, inspections and enforcement activity. We will allow sufficient time for our firefighters to be adequately trained and equipped to fulfil these duties whilst retaining a number of additional specialist prevention staff to support complex cases.
  • We will develop alternative delivery models for volunteering and cadets and continue our Princes Trust work to allow more time to develop future options.
  • We will maintain a fleet of 50 fire engines for at least this financial year.
  • The fire station mergers go ahead as planned as well, which will see the creation of three brand new state-of-the-art fire stations, alongside ongoing investment in stations, including welfare facilities.
  • The initial requirement to reduce 113 non-uniformed roles has reduced to 60 roles and the service continues to aim for no compulsory redundancies. The service will work with any staff impacted to help them find new roles.

The revised proposals will be considered at the meeting of Greater Manchester Combined Authority on Friday 27 September.

Published Responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

Programme for Change represents a major transformation programme for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service with the aim of ensuring the Service has the right resources in the right places, is well-equipped, well-managed, and well-led.

There is a recognised need for GMFRS to modernise, and there has been ongoing work for some years to develop the Service to ensure that it is in line with today’s risks. The new governance arrangements and the election of a Mayor in 2017, who has responsibility for the fire service, has acted as a catalyst to drive this need for transformation forward.

The Business Case for Programme for Change sets out in detail the challenges faced by GMFRS and our proposals for how the Service might look in the future.

This consultation is the public's opportunity to contribute their views on some of the content of the business case, including -

  • Our proposal to consolidate six fire stations into three brand new, state-of-the-art community fire stations in Bolton, Manchester and Stockport
  • Our proposal to manage our fleet of fire engines, whilst ensuring that we still have a response time that is faster than the national average

Fire Response times: Government analysis of national fire response times, April 2017 to March 2018 showed the national average response time to primary fires was 8 mins, 45 seconds. The average response time in “predominantly urban areas” was 7 mins, 39 seconds. GMFRS average response time (using Home Office measurement) was 7 mins, 14 seconds.

Why We Are Consulting

Simply - the current model is not sustainable and we need to change and we want to involve the people in the process.

We have had ten years of austerity.  The net budget requirement in 2009/10 was £115.402m and in 2018/19 is £96.942 which is a difference of £18.46m. This works out over £2 million reduction per year.

We are determined to develop a Service that is both fit for the future and fit to serve the communities of Greater Manchester. At the same time, by 2022 we need to make efficiency savings of £12.8 million.

Alongside talking to the public about some of our proposals, staff from across the organisation are being engaged in the plans through a separate consultation process, around some of the more specific staffing proposals.

Audiences

  • General public

Interests

  • Combined Authority