FAQs

We will update this section regularly as we continue to engage with you and listen to your questions and views. Keep checking for the latest questions and answers.

 

Is this just cuts by another name?

Not at all. This is a planned and safe transformation of the way we deliver our service that better meets today’s risks. Transformation helps us avoid cost-driven cuts by re-balancing our service delivery model.

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How can you say this isn’t a cuts programme when you are looking at cutting firefighter, station and appliance numbers?

This is a transformation programme. This is about re-balancing our resources to deliver a more flexible and efficient service that will allow us to do more. This is a planned and safe programme that is data driven and ensures we can deploy our resources more efficiently and to where the need is greatest.

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Why don’t you just seek extra funds?

We will continue to make a very strong case for the best resources but we recognise that in these extremely challenging financial times there are no guarantee of extra money.

Without a budget increase, our delivery model is unsustainable beyond this financial year. Transformation is a planned and safe way to deliver our service more effectively and efficiently within the funds available to us.

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Who is asking you to take on a wider role?

We are in the business of saving lives. We know SFRS is valued by the people of Scotland and we can do so much more to ensure their safety and wellbeing. With transformation we can take on a wider role and remove demand across public services.

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You have a lot of senior officers leaving the service, do you have the capacity and experience to deliver transformation?

Yes. We have strength in depth with highly experienced uniformed and non-uniformed officers, many of whom have any have already proven their ability through the delivery of highly successful reform. In addition, our transformation programme will be underpinned by robust and recognised programme management ensuring there is no single points of failure within project delivery.

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Many fire stations have very few call outs, why do you not just close them to save money?

Once you close a station – particularly in more rural areas - it is difficult to get it back again and you can’t simply create a fire and rescue service when the need arises.

That said, we do have to look at our national footprint – particularly in urban areas - to see where the data tells us we can operate more efficiently i.e. stations with low turn outs, high levels of false alarms and a high concentration of surrounding stations

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Have you driven all efficiencies out of the Service – what have you outsourced?

We have delivered £52.3m of recurring annual savings by reducing duplication and driving efficiencies through our procurement processes. This saving represents over 17% of the combined budgets of the eight legacy services. We will always look for new and innovative ways to deliver our enabling services.

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Do you have Scottish Government support?

The Scottish Government’s Fire Framework sets out its expectations for SFRS to pursue the continued transformation of the Service. We have engaged extensively with SG Ministers and they have outlined their support for transformation.

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Has the Scottish Government committed to funding a four year transformation programme?

The Scottish Government has not set out a long term funding commitment for SFRS. We will continue to make the case for the right resources. As a minimum, we need real terms protection to allow us to transform the Service and deliver improved outcomes for the public and remove cost not only from SFRS but across the public sector.

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Do you have union support?

Our significant progress to date has been achieved through open and honest partnership with our trade unions in Scotland – this is an approach we hope will continue. The FBU and other unions in Scotland are visionary in their understanding of the need to transform the Service and extend the role of the firefighter. We will progress transformation and the changing role of the firefighter through constructive negotiations with all our frontline unions.

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Do you know what the public wants?

We exist to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the public. We are their fire and rescue service. We have conducted an independent opinion survey to clearly understand their needs and expectations. They told us that they take great security from knowing the SFRS is there but also believed we should keep them.

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