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DN 12/2019 North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service – Efficiency Proposals

The Commissioner has decided to approve North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s efficiency proposals.

Date 09/10/2019


On the 15 November 2018, governance of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service transferred from the Fire Authority to the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. The Commissioner inherited a significant budget shortfall of around £2.5m to balance from financial year 2020/21. Much work has subsequently been undertaken to reduce this to a recurring shortfall of £1m at the point of setting the 2019/20 budget.

The Fire and Rescue Service has developed proposals to improve service efficiency and to help further reduce the £1m recurring shortfall. The proposals are as follows:

Supervisory manager review of Day-Crewed stations (crewed 0800-1800 every day by firefighters who carry an alerter, and are on-call outside of these hours) and Wholetime stations with one fire engine (crewed 24 hours a day). This has shown that a reduction in the amount of Watch Managers (WMs) is possible. This could be achieved by using a single WM across two watches rather than one per watch under the current model. It would balance fluctuations in crewing levels whilst achieving significant recurring financial savings. If implemented in full, savings of approximately £500k per year could be achieved.

By adopting a revised supervisory manager structure, there would be no change to the current level of operational fire cover or to response times to incidents because fire engines will deploy in exactly the same way as they do now.

Whilst there are options around both Day-Crewed stations and Wholetime stations with one fire engine, this decision is to undertake a trial at two Day-Crewed stations from October 2019 where WM vacancies currently exist, with a full roll-out thereafter dependent on the trial results.

Bank Holiday staffing has also been reviewed, and the decision is to better use spare personnel, including Day Crewed staff, to increase and improve crewing flexibility and undertake cover moves when required. Benefits of implementing this include;

  • A higher degree of resilience provided for fulltime crewing levels to cover short term absences occurring on these days
  • Using spare crew members provides additional flexibility in covering On-Call appliance unavailability when required

Tactical Response Vehicles at On-Call Stations Four Tactical Response Vehicles (TRVs) are not currently in use following their removal from operational service in April 2018. Since then, independent testing of the vehicles has confirmed that the TRVs meet all necessary safety requirements. Two of the six TRVs have been reintroduced into service, one each at the Wholetime stations of Harrogate and Scarborough. The Service has invested in TRVs and the reintroduction of the four remaining Tactical Response Vehicles (TRVs) into service is necessary.

There is an opportunity to improve On-Call appliance availability levels by placing the four TRVs at On-Call stations. In usual circumstances, the On-Call TRVs will still operate with a minimum crew of four and will attend the full range of incidents as the standard On-Call fire engine does now. However, when the available crewing number drops to three firefighters, using a TRV in the place of a standard fire engine will mean firefighters can still be deployed to certain incidents, albeit a smaller range of incidents, based on a Standard Operating Procedure.

Analysis has been undertaken to identify the most suitable locations based on current appliance availability, station risk scores and geographical aspects, and this decision is to introduce TRVs into operational service at four On-Call stations from the 16 December 2019.

Further efficiency proposals will be explored as part of the full Risk and Resource Model review commencing in December 2019.

Decision Record

The Commissioner has considered the proposals with assurances from the Fire and Rescue Service that they would not impact negatively on;

  • the current level of operational fire cover
  • the response times to incidents
  • the service to the public overall
  • firefighter safety

The Commissioner has therefore decided to approve the proposals, with the requirement for regular updates to ensure they achieve the intended outcomes within the necessary time frame.


Julia Mulligan
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire
9 October 2019

Statutory Officer Advice

Legal, Management and Equality Implications

The Commissioner’s Interim Chief Executive & Monitoring Officer accepts the recommendation from the Fire and Rescue Service that formal public consultation on the proposals is not necessary as the changes do not represent a change to fire cover or service delivery and subsequently to the current Integrated Risk Management Plan (to be known as the Risk and Resource Model from here on). Consultation with representative bodies should however still be progressed where appropriate.

The Monitoring Officer has advised that whilst there are no equality implications arising from the Commissioner approving these proposals in principle, the implementation of them by NYFRS will require adherence to best practice in respect of equality, diversity and inclusion. The Commissioner expects human resources and legal advice to be taken as necessary, to ensure that is the case.

Having read this Decision Notice in draft and having considered such information as has been provided at the time of being asked to express this view, the Interim Chief Executive & Monitoring Officer is satisfied that this Decision Notice does not ask the Commissioner to make a decision which would (or would be likely to) give rise to a contravention of the law.

Financial and Commercial

The Commissioner’s Chief Finance Officer and S151 Officer is content that the projected savings within the Supervisory Manager Review are realistic, however the timing of their delivery is dependent on both the success of the pilot and future retirements, and requests a financial assessment of progress post trial is undertaken, prior to a further roll-out and that an assessment of the time frames for delivery of these efficiencies, based on expected retirement dates, is undertaken.

Further information

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