Decisions on staffing levels, terms and conditions and union recognition are for the employers—currently the fire and rescue authorities and then the local authority controlled companies and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority once the regional control centres are up and running.
Under TUPE legislation, transferring staff’s current terms and conditions will transfer with them to the regional control centre. Union recognition is a matter for the employers but if a sufficient percentage of staff are members of a union then recognition is automatic.
Redundancies should be a last resort. The Department has provided guidance to the employers to encourage them to explore all possible avenues including, for example, redeployment and retraining.
Good progress has been made on a number of fronts: eight out of nine regional control centres (RCCs) buildings have been built, fire and rescue authorities have come together to form regional local authority controlled companies to run the RCCs and equipment installation in local fire stations is on track.
However, in July we rescheduled the implementation timetable. It became clear that technical problems with developing the IT system in a way which met all our and the fire and rescue services’ requirements meant that further time would be needed to complete the project. The first RCCs are scheduled to take calls from May 2011.
This information, which is reported in financial year returns to the Department, is shown in the table.
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 England 3 0 0 West Midlands 0 0 0 Shropshire 0 0 0 Source: Annual returns to CLG
Annual returns to CLG
The proposal that in future the national procurement function for the fire and rescue service should be carried out in a larger body also responsible for the management of the service contracts for the Fire and Resilience Programme, once they become operational, was based on an analysis of the options for the future delivery of these roles. The basis for the proposal and the options considered were in the Department's consultation paper on Fire and Resilience Programme In-Service Management published on 13 July 2009.
The consultation on the options for the in-service management of the Fire and Resilience Programme was published on the Department's website in July 2009. A copy will be placed in the Library. The Department will publish its response following the consultation later in the year.