Have your say on fire service

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked how Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) can improve its service and save money.

In the consultation, being run by the Fire Authority, people are asked questions like whether fire service staff’s pay should be frozen and where they should focus their efforts in terms of community engagement and other areas.

In 2009/2010 DFRS spent a total of £42.1m, with £21.4m coming from council tax and £19.2m from Government grants.

Over the next four years the Government grant will be reduced by 25 per cent, equating to £5m less by 2015.

Fire chiefs have said that as a result of the decrease in funding, firefighter rosters could change and they will need to reduce the number of people it employs.

The consultation document reads: “DFRS need to reduce the numbers of people it employs.

“Exact figures are not yet known but measures to reduce the workforce will include vacancy control, voluntary retirements or redundancies and a restructure of the service, which will lead to compulsory redundancies.”

Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive Sean Frayne said: “Our main aim as a service is to make sure that people are protected in their homes, at work and when visiting Derbyshire.

“In common with all public sector organisations, we need to look at how we do this with a reduced budget, what we provide and how we provide it.”

Stephen White, DFRS’ consultation officer for Derbyshire is based at Ilkeston.

He said: “There will be compulsory redundancies and there will be voluntary redundancies, the service is in a pretty bad place.

“Having said that we’ve got reserves but not enough, so cuts will happen.

“This is the first time we’ve done this, we want the public to prioritise the services we offer, they pay their council tax so they should have their say.”

Derbyshire Fire Authority chairman David Wilson added: “There are difficult decisions that members of the Fire Authority will need to take in the forthcoming months and years.

“To help us make those decisions, we would like to know what Derbyshire residents views and opinions are.

“I would therefore urge people to make sure they take part in the survey.”

The survey runs until Friday February 11 and can be completed online at www.derbys-fire.gov.uk by following the link from the home page.