Agenda item

Kit and Equipment Report

To receive a report on Kit and Equipment quality and contracts at GFRS.

Minutes:

6.1 Mike Hammond presented this report. He had brought some firefighting uniform for members to look at. He explained that there had been a 2-month delay in equipping staff with new light weight rescue jackets due to supply issues and industrial action abroad. Going forward, by 2028, GFRS were looking at working towards a total care package where all fire kit would be supplied, serviced, and maintained by an external organisation because holding the stock internally had caused difficulties for the service. The officer explained that there had been significant price increases across firefighting equipment and these costs could not be avoided as equipment had to be replaced regularly due to routine wear and tear. The officer was evaluating GFRS use of resources and was intending to produce a Logistics and Resources ten-year delivery plan by the end of the year. That report would give a much clearer sense of what finances were required. The officer highlighted that the quality of the equipment would always be their primary concern.

6.2 In response to a question about the tender process for this equipment, the officer explained that GFRS used a mixture of tenders and frameworks depending on the cost of the equipment. The Kent framework was given as an example of a framework that they used.

6.3 In response to a question about bulk buying power to negotiate prices down, the officer explained that prices were kept lower through the frameworks they used as they were joined up across different fire and rescue services. He explained that sometimes there was only one supplier available because the equipment was so specialised, but prices were still regularly scrutinised and challenged.

6.4 A member asked whether the UK leaving the European Union’s customs union had impacted costs and lead times. The officer explained there were a number of external difficulties that were affecting costs and lead times directly and indirectly and that was likely one of many causes.

6.5 A member raised concern over holding old equipment that wasn’t up to date and asked whether the 5-year plan to implement the total care package could be sped up. The CFO explained that firefighter PPE (personal protective equipment) was of very good quality and that the move to a personal care package would maintain that quality whilst supplying for the range of sizes that GFRS required in a more cost-effective way. Mike Hammond added that regardless of what package GFRS was using, staff safety would not be compromised on.

6.6 A member asked whether GFRS had evaluated why a total care package was not chosen in 2017 when the decision to provide equipment in-house was made. The CFO explained that a report had been prepared at the time and that there had been significant changes since then, in particular in staff demographics and therefore required sizes.

6.7 In response to a question about equipment provided under a total care package, the CFO explained that changes in equipment requirements from extreme weather conditions occurring more frequently in Gloucestershire, such as wildfires, would be investigated over the coming months and years.

 

Supporting documents: