ACFO Norman presented the report. The Blue Light Collaboration programme was now embedded into both Lancashire Constabulary and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services’ corporate programme. Work was continuing to provide an attendee from North West Ambulance Service, so that all 3 Blue Light services under the duty to collaborate were represented.
From the original 32 ideas recommended, several had been closed after initial scoping from both organisations. They had closed on the basis that there were no tangible benefits for either organisation or the public, or it was not the right time for the organisations to invest in it.
There were however, 14 opportunities still being looked into and advanced within this programme which included 4 projects: i) fire crime scene investigation accreditation; ii) missing persons phase ‘2’; iii) real time demand management; and iv) public order training site with the other 10 categorised as ‘business as usual’: i) recruitment activity for Police support staff to become On-Call Firefighters; ii) fuel BCP; iii) vehicle maintenance for LFRS flexi duty officer cars; iv) command unit incorporating JESIP principles; v) duty officer communication; vi) shared data, risk and analytical reporting; vii) joint communications activity; viii) LFRS relocation to Police HQ; ix) shared asset management; and x) second event drone.
In response to Member concerns regarding the recruitment of Police support staff to become on-call firefighters the Deputy Chief Fire Officer confirmed that recruitment activity was in its infancy. There were some Fire and Rescue Services across the country that used Police Community Support Officers to provide an on-call firefighter service and it wasn’t currently known whether this idea would have any traction in Lancashire. The intention was to see whether there were opportunities for Police staff to provide on-call capability in the same way as other large employers in Lancashire.
In response to a question from County Councillor Hennessy regarding communication with the Unions; the Deputy Chief Fire Officer advised that he was the lead for formal consultation and negotiation in relation to any collaboration. He felt it was important to engage with appropriate bodies and would avoid a position where any change would be pushed through without consultation and agreement.
Mr Kevin Wilkie was invited to comment. Mr Wilkie stated that the FBU policy was they did not share anything with the Police (premises, uniforms or vehicles). He confirmed that the FBU were currently in talks regarding pay negotiations for work undertaken around missing persons and gaining entry. During the negotiations the status quo was being maintained; working together to make sure a quality service was delivered to the people of Lancashire.
Business as usual collaborations continued and allowed LFRS to see cost benefits. Lancashire FRS had recently added Lancashire Constabulary onto their Drone Insurance Policy. This had saved the Police a great deal of time in organising their own insurance and the additional cost of a bespoke policy. In turn, this had allowed Lancashire FRS to recover half of the cost of the policy from the Police. It had been calculated that the ongoing secondment of Police staff onto the Prince’s Trust courses, had amounted to large savings over the last 16 years. This was equivalent to 32 members of staff over this period. Although there were currently no Police staff seconded to the teams, the agreement was still in place.
The governance of the collaboration boards had changed since the last update in the summer. The joint funded project support officer role had now come to the end of the 12 month contract and the post had now ceased. Conversations continued as to whether there would be a benefit to both organisations if the role was again funded for a further period. The Board chair had not changed from Group Manager Phil Jones; however the co-chair was now Chief Superintendent Ian Dawson, soon to be replaced by Superintendent Nicky Evans.
It was proposed that governance and scrutiny would continue in the format of a bi-annual meeting of the CFA and OPCC. Two representatives from each of the CFA and OPCC will attend these meetings, along with the strategic leads for each of LFRS (Assistant Chief Fire Officer) and Lancashire Constabulary (Deputy Chief Constable); these officers would provide the required strategic updates with support from operational leads as required.
Scrutiny of the Collaboration Board was in the form of a Quarterly Executive Collaboration Board, chaired by ACFO Norman and DCC Woods. Also in attendance were the collaboration leads GM Jones and Ch Supt Dawson. At the November 2019 meeting the work plan for 2020/21 was agreed and the Board commissioned further evaluation of the deliverables to date.
The early Blue Light Collaboration Programme Board work had been further shaped and defined into 3 key project management related documents according to status; these were Project Initiation Documents, Health Reports and Scoping Closure Reports. A change from the previous paper was the removal of the Highlight report and replacement with a Health Report. This was a joint decision, which would make updates easier, less demanding on resources and easier to track progress.
LFRS Site Share:
Currently the partner with the largest scale of site sharing collaborations and subsequent revenue cost related benefits was North West Ambulance Service (NWAS). Operational crews shared station facilities at Lancaster, Preston and Darwen fire stations. In addition to the above formal lease arrangements, there were licence arrangements at both Bolton-Le-Sands and Nelson fire stations whereby NWAS crews made use of the welfare facilities on an ad-hoc basis.
Site sharing arrangements with Lancashire Constabulary followed a similar format in that there were sites with formal lease arrangements, these being Preesall, St Annes and Skelmersdale. At these locations Police staff had hot desk office accommodation for circa 3-4 Officers and made use of the welfare facilities. At both Lytham and Great Harwood the welfare facilities and on-site parking facilities were utilised by Lancashire Constabulary staff on a drop in / ad-hoc basis.
Telecommunication masts were installed at South Shore, Barnoldswick, Skelmersdale and Service Training Centre sites with lease arrangements in place.
Licence arrangements were also in place for a number of site sharing practices with other organisations or charities. This included the use of station facilities for community engagement events, vehicle storage and multi-agency office facilities.
The arrangements with health related partners was the most significant with blood bikes currently being stored by LFRS at Morecambe, Blackpool, Burnley, Hyndburn and Penwortham. In addition to this LFRS supported the Blood Transfusion Service through the sharing of Hyndburn and Chorley sites for their blood donation sessions.
Multi-agency meeting rooms and office accommodation was provided at both Chorley and Nelson, these partnerships support the Local Authority (Chorley) Early Action project and also the Lancashire County Council Early Help provision (Nelson).
Partnerships that enhanced LFRS’ operational response arrangements were supported in the format of vehicle and equipment stowage. This included the Salvation Army and Red Cross at Service Headquarters, Bay Search and Rescue at Bolton-Le-Sands and also supported for Operation Florian in the format of storage at Service Training Centre.
LFRS had a long standing relationship with the Prince’s Trust charity and delivery of their Team Programme was hosted at 8 fire station locations. In addition a Team was based at Oakham Court in premises leased from Preston City Council.
RESOLVED: - that the Planning Committee noted and endorsed the report.