We find that current members are always interested to hear about the case work we undertake within the FRSA, which also acts as a good advertisement for potential members to see how valuable membership can be.
We’ve selected eight of the more interesting cases we’ve dealt with over the last 12 months, while we and some of our members would like to have their details included in these real cases, we believe it would be inappropriate to name individuals or services.
However, we can guarantee that these cases are 100% genuine and are not unique to the work we undertake on behalf of our members 365 days a year.
Age Discrimination - Pension Update
We have been providing members with regular updates relating to a court case pertaining to Judges and Firefighters which argued that some were discriminated against due to their age within the pension schemes transitional arrangements. We are awaiting confirmation from the Supreme Court as to whether the Government will be granted an application to appeal the decision which should be known in the next few weeks. The judgement has wide ranging ramifications across the entire public sector pension schemes which had similar arrangements.
If the Government loses its application to appeal, or the appeal itself, the repercussions are unknown, it is not to be assumed that it will be good news for public sector workers.
We will continue to keep our members informed.
Fire Service Inspections
The new inspectorate (HMICFRS) published its first tranche of reports late last year and their findings were of no surprise to us. It was the first time in 12 years the fire and rescue sector has been independently inspected, with HMICFRS having undertaken 14 inspections in fire and rescue services across England.
While further inspection reports are due to be published later this year, there is already a pattern emerging which suggests that services have reduced the level of prevention work they have undertaken in the past which might be having an impact on a small rise in fire related incidents. In general services are not looking after their staff as well as they might and more needs to be done to identify and develop future leaders in the service.
As HMICFRS has no statutory powers, they are only able to make recommendations for services to improve, however, there is an expectation for services to act on these recommendations and follow up visits are scheduled to review any progress made.
We have been a strong advocate of the introduction of HMICFRS and these first tranche of reports have formally identified our concerns, it is clear that there is a large body of work to be undertaken both locally and nationally to make the necessary improvements to the benefit of our members and the public. The FRSA will actively play its part in helping services achieve this aim.