Scrutiny Committee call for Isle of Wight Fire Service revamp to be scrapped

The Fire Brigades Union says that if the Isle of Wight Council Cabinet decide to go ahead with the revamp, it will prove there is no democratic process within the council and that they can steam roll through any decision they like.

Fire engine

William shares this latest news on behalf of the Fire Brigades Union.

Catch up with what was said at last night’s Scrutiny Committee, via OnTheWight’s live coverage. Or see all articles relating to the Fire Service. Ed

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is urging the Isle of Wight council’s cabinet to reject a controversial review of the fire service that would put public safety at risk.

The fire service review contains plans to cut the number of firefighters in a crew from five to four as well as axing 15% of the Island’s firefighting workforce.

Scrutiny voted to scrap review
On Thursday night (12 April), the council’s own scrutiny committee called for the review to be scrapped over public safety concerns (see coverage). However the final decision will be made at a council cabinet meeting on Monday.

At the scrutiny meeting, the FBU argued the union’s opposition to the proposals and stressed that the safety of the public and fire crews was the paramount concern.

Discrepancy with minimum crews
Andy Bowers, the deputy chief fire officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, who assisted in putting the review together, told the committee that crewing would be based on a minimum of five crew members.

However, the review document contained evidence of minimum crewing being reduced to four.

Will Conservative cabinet steam roll recommendation?
Spence Cave, brigade secretary of the FBU in the Isle of Wight, said:

“The scrutiny committee have decided on the evidence produced that they are not content with the plan. If the cabinet decide to go ahead with this then it will prove there is no democratic process within the Isle of Wight council. The Conservative cabinet can steam roll through any decision they like.

“There have already been questions asked as to why this review didn’t go to a public consultation as there are fundamental changes to the existing integrated risk management plan. The council seem to think putting some FAQs on its Website, and releasing the paper six and a half days before the scrutiny committee meeting is a way to measure the feeling of the Isle of Wight public and council tax payer.”

Changes would hamper safety of firefighters
He went on to say,

“The Isle of Wight Fire Service is at the cutting edge with its firefighting techniques, equipment and training. Cutting crews and firefighter numbers would hamper the use of some of these resources and the safety of firefighters.

“The Fire Brigades Union, the professional voice of firefighters on the Island and nationally, have the safety of the public and firefighters at the forefront of their opposition to this review.”

Image: Jeff K under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 13th April, 2018 6:50pm



Filed under: Budget Cuts, Fire, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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Geoff Brodie

For the record, the Scrutiny Committe vote calling for rejection of this flawed review was carried by 5 votes to 4. All opposition members bar one and the town and parish councils (IWALC) representative in favour, with all three Tories and the 1 LibDem against.