FRSA National Update
23 June 2023
NFCC On-Call Strategic and Practitioner Forum
We are very pleased that the NFCC, under the leadership of DCFO Steve Healey (Lancashire) has resumed the On-Call Strategic Group and the Practitioner Forum. These important national forums will look to carry on the good work undertaken by the previous incarnation under the stewardship of Terry McDermont (then the CFO of Derbyshire).
Steve Healey is a true champion of the On-Call duty system, and we are very pleased with his appointment to the role and offer our full support in driving through the much-needed improvements to assist local fire and rescue services with the tools to ensure the On-Call model, is both sustainable and has the ability to thrive with the necessary investment (both financial and time).
Steve Healey will also make another appearance on our podcast (Priority Message) next month with an update on progress – watch this space!
Government Consultation – Second Options Exercise for Modified Scheme
The FRSA has provided our response to the consultation process for the second options exercise for the modified pension scheme for Retained/On-Call firefighters.
We are broadly in agreement with the proposals which provide the opportunity for eligible individuals (retired and serving) to buy retrospective pension service into the 2006 (Modified) Pension Scheme.
The proposals offer a pragmatic approach to overcoming the calculation of historical pension contributions (where pay records no longer exist) and a framework which allows individuals and rep bodies to challenge the (ex)employer should they dispute eligibility. We also expressed our support for the aggregation of pensionable service for those with more than one contract (an On-Call contract and separately a Wholetime contract).
The Home Office will endeavour to provide a response to this consultation by the summer of 2023 and we expect the second options exercise to commence from October this year.
Post Fire Decontamination – Wales
The FRSA met with Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser for Wales, Dan Stephens this month to discuss the development of good practice for firefighter decontamination post incident.
Discussions are ongoing with trade unions of which some of the key areas are:
- adequate monitoring and recording of firefighter exposures
- introduction of effective decontamination policies and training across the FRS
- introduction of facilities and contracts for appropriate and effective PPE and workwear cleaning across all services and duty systems
- reducing exposure to carcinogens
This work is most welcome as is the re-establishment of the Contaminants Project Group (England) which has become a sub-group of the NFCC Health & Safety Committee. The FRSA has been invited to become a member of the group and terms of reference have now been agreed.
Inclusive Fire Service Group
The Inclusive Fire Service Group (IFSG) met this week in London for the first time since October 2020. The group, which is made up of representatives from trade unions (FRSA, FOA and the FBU), NFCC and National Employer. The purpose of this group is principally to assess the current position in respect of equality, diversity, behavioural and cultural issues, and the identification of guidance in relation to any further strategies that could be used at local level to further encourage improvement.
The group will now move at pace to fulfil its terms of reference and will be meeting again next month to provide a written statement of intent to demonstrate a commitment from ALL group members.
FRSA representatives met with DCFO Niall McKiniry and Area Manager Jason Kirby to discuss all things ‘On-Call’ and the work that is being progressed locally to improve recruitment and retention. Of note was the work undertaken to provide the appropriate infrastructure to support firefighter fitness to achieve and maintain the current standard. We look forward to analysing this information in the coming weeks and share more widely if it is of benefit to a wider audience.
Chief Executive Officer
Our offer to you
This information leaflet is available encapsulating the key benefits of being a member of the FRSA. The document is available via our website and we would recommend that this is shared with your colleagues on station.