Scottish Fire and Rescue Service chair

Pat Watters will be the first Chair of the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham announced today.

Mr Watters will work closely with Chief Officer Alasdair Hay to lead and shape the new service. He will also work closely with the Chief Officer, government and other partners to ensure a smooth transition to the new service, which aims to go live on April 1, 2013.

A respected figure in Scottish public life, Mr Watters was President of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities from 2001 to 2012, and a councillor in South Lanarkshire for 30 years.

Ms Cunningham said:

“I am pleased to appoint Pat Watters as the first Chair of the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. He demonstrated strong experience of delivering change – not least from his time as COSLA President – and this will provide invaluable to help ensure a smooth transition to the new service.

“He also recognised the importance of strong accountability and strategic governance, as well as understanding the role of a strong Chair in challenging and supporting the Chief Officer. His experience in public life – as well as his leadership and communication skills – will be crucial in working with Alasdair Hay to shape the new service.”

Mr Watters said:

“I welcome the opportunity to take on this role and work with the Chief Officer to ensure the service continues to perform strongly and ensure communities in all parts of Scotland are safe. While the new service will safeguard frontline services, we also have an opportunity to do more – we can work together to build a fire and rescue service which delivers improvements which make a real difference to communities.

“Firefighters and staff will have a crucial role to play in the new service, and I will ensure we utilise their skills, expertise and ability to the full to shape and the deliver the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. And, above all, we will engage constructively with communities and local authorities in all parts of Scotland to ensure they all feel the benefits of reform.”

Related Information 

This appointment will be for three years and from September 2012. It is part-time and attracts a remuneration of £430 a day for a time commitment of between 15 to 20 days per month until April 1, 2013. For the first full year, the time commitment is expected to be at least 10 days per month but no more than 15.

Pat Watters first entered local government in 1982 as a member for East Kilbride serving on Strathclyde Regional Council, where he became Chair of Personnel, a position which he retained when moving to South Lanarkshire Council in 1995, where he was a councillor until stepping down in May this year. Mr Watters was elected COSLA President in October 2001 having served as Vice President since June 1999. He stepped down as President earlier this year, after 11 years in the role. Mr Watters was one of the leading members of the Education Management Side which successfully negotiated the historic McCrone agreement on Teachers’ Pay and Appendix 2 Conditions. He was also instrumental in achieving a solution to the UK wide fire dispute in 2003. Within South Lanarkshire Council, in his capacity as Chair of Corporate Resources, he was responsible for developing the Council’s family-friendly policies and was responsible for pioneering the award of Investors in People to the Council’s Personnel Services function, a first in Scotland.

This appointment is regulated by the Public Appointments Commissioner for Scotland.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public. Mr Watters has declared political activity. He has attained office as a local councillor in East Kilbride in South Lanarkshire, he has spoken on behalf of the Labour Party and has canvassed and helped at elections. He is also an active constituency member.

Source: Scottish Government website

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