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Six-figure call for better service

PUBLISHED: 09:30 12 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:44 03 July 2010

AN extra £330,000 could be pumped into the fire service in Norfolk's market towns and country areas after a review uncovered a need for improvements to help it give an “enhanced service”.

AN extra £330,000 could be pumped into the fire service in Norfolk's market towns and country areas after a review uncovered a need for improvements to help it give an “enhanced service”.

In one of two options put forward, extra funding would pay for nine retained support officers and their vehicles to help areas with staffing problems, a lack of support and not enough time to devote to paperwork and training.

The review, by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service group manager Robert Moyney, looked at operational response and community fire protection and safety in rural areas and concluded it was provided by relatively small teams with limited access to retained firefighters.

Availability remains a challenge in certain areas and at certain times of the day and week. And there is said to be frustration among staff that they do not have enough time to meet training and managerial demands.

Mr Moyney's report to members of a county council panel, meeting tomorrow, offers these two options:

Working within available resources, reallocating the total staff budget and redeploying staff over a period of three years. This would see the local risk manager role abolished and 10 non-operational posts created to provide extra hours for admin and training exercises. Nine new watch managers would be reassigned and dedicated to local posts to help train personnel and offer “operational assurance”.

An alternative, involving an extra £330,000, to help make “significant improvements”. As well as funding additional retained staff it would pay for five cadet schemes that are already set-up around the county and fund special appliance training.

The report states: “The result of this review has shown that the current standard of service delivered in rural areas is generally good. However, there are pockets of poorer availability which would benefit from improvement.”


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