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Explore collaboration

In June 2015 the Fire Authority signed off a Memorandum of Understanding with Royal Berkshire and Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Services. The purpose of the MOU is to commit each fire and rescue service to look at collaboration within the Thames Valley as a first option, to reduce cost, improve quality and improve resilience.
Click here to read the paper the CFO presented to the Authority in June 2015

 

Finance and procurement: The shared procurement team and the finance secondment

“The shared Procurement team has provided increased expertise at a lower cost.  It has also helped to identify savings through joint procurement initiatives across the two services. The Finance secondment has involved an accountant who has been shared across Buckinghamshire and Royal Berkshire since 2015. This has provided Royal Berkshire with additional expertise and resilience and provided our staff member with an excellent development opportunity.”

“We have also done some one-off year-end work for Royal Berkshire, helping them during a peak work time.  Both arrangements have also provided income to the Authority, although this is not the primary reason for doing so.  There is ongoing dialogue with Royal Berkshire regarding future opportunities for collaboration.”

-Mark Hemming, Head of Finance and Procurement

Officer secondments

“We currently have Officers seconded to the Department for Communities and Local Government, the National Resilience Assurance Team, South East Counter Terrorism Unit and South Central Ambulance Service. These secondments are joint initiatives and are excellent examples of collaboration. These opportunities have helped improved the quality of the services we provide, enabled staff development, and improved communications and decision making. They also put our Service at the forefront of national improvement and encourage future collaborative working opportunities.”

-Kerry McCafferty, Head of Human Resources

 

Thames Valley Fire Control Service

“The Thames Valley Fire Control Project has provided a state-of-the-art facility for the three Fire and Rescue Services of the Thames Valley.  New technology has been provided and is being utilised to pinpoint the exact location of resources; this ensures the nearest asset is mobilised first to help.   The latest technology has also been installed into fire appliances, therefore ensuring that risk information is being shared and is at the fingertips of our incident commanders from the moment they are mobilised.  The Thames Valley Fire Control project has opened up the old County boundaries and the three Services are now working together more than ever.  This has been achieved by a Project Team working in partnership to deliver a joint control centre to deliver increased resilience, efficiency and improved performance and will result in monetary savings over the next fifteen years.  This project has been cited as a catalyst for future collaboration opportunities.”

-Marie Crothers, Group Commander

 

Sharing skills

Other examples of sharing services include:

  • We have shared management and programming of driver training. This brings additional resilience as driving instructors are shared across two fire and rescue services. Specialist skills are also shared to reduce training costs of individuals
  • Shared protection officer, out of hours response across Thames Valley
  • Shared fire investigation officer out of hours response across Thames Valley
  • Shared national resilience DIM team with Oxfordshire
  • Shared national inter-agency liaison officers across the Thames Valley
  • Thames Valley joint operational guidance

 

And to the future?

The Authority is committed to sharing services and collaboration wherever cost, quality and resilience are improved. This is why we are proactively looking to the future, and this could include:

  • National pensions advice
  • Joint pension boards
  • Shared finance
  • Thames Valley joint procurement
  • Shared IT services
  • Shared training
  • Shared health and safety

 

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