To receive an overview of GFRS’s service plans within the context of the draft budget for 2023/24.
78.1 It was explained by Steve Mawson, Deputy Chief Executive, that it was not in the remit of this committee to suggest adjustments to the budget, but it could be reviewed with regards to the service implications of the budget.
78.2 Cabinet Member Cllr Dave Norman summarised the updates in the service plan. The administration was increasing the revenue budget by over £3million. This would support the community safety directorate. This additional funding had been allocated for additional staffing to ensure continued progress against the Community Risk Management plan and the HMI improvement plan. £400,000 was proposed for essential training, £175,000 for courses and £225,000 for an additional training hour per week for on-call staff. £25,000 had been allocated to annual fitness tests. £174,000 had been provided to help ease the pressure of cost-of-living related increases in contract costs. £416,000 had been allocated to improvements to Stroud Community Station, providing treadmills, fleet charging systems, and new equipment. £3.7 million had been allocated for PPE and light vehicles. There were no savings or requirements for efficiency savings.
78.3 Mark Preece, Chief Fire Officer, added that the budgetary allocations were focusing on the objectives outlined on p47 as well as to respond to the HMI Causes for Concern. £1.28 million had been budgeted in for pay inflation but the final pay offer was yet to be finalised. A 5% pay rise offer had been made nationally but that had been rejected.
78.4 A member asked where the details on road safety spending were. It was explained that £1.8 million had been allocated to road safety but specific spends within road safety had not been itemised in the budget. There was also discussion over how aspects of road safety fell under the responsibility of Highways and Maintenance, Police and Crime, and Fire and Rescue. The Cabinet Member explained there was ongoing discussion with the Police and Crime Commissioner as to whether income from speed cameras should go to the Fire and Rescue Service for the development of educational programmes. Cllr Dave Norman said he was happy to bring up concerns to do with road safety from members in his next Collaboration Board Meeting.
78.5 In response to questions over the £80,000 budgeted for treadmills, it was explained that these were necessary specifically for yearly fitness and medical assessments and that calibrated treadmills were not available at all Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service locations. The plan meant that staff would no longer have to travel for their yearly tests. The treadmills were planned to be bought in phases with an initial phase where the department purchased some treadmills. Up-take would then be evaluated with further rollout dependent on sufficient use. It was also explained that the most cost effective option of renting or buying would be evaluated.
78.6 There was also a question raised over what was being charged by the investment in charging points. It was explained that certain vehicles in the GFRS fleet were becoming electric and that certain equipment was now electric. The officer explained that charging electrically powered tools or equipment would drain the appliance battery if the vehicles did not receive a trickle charge whilst parked in the appliance room.