As part of the Government’s stated transparency agenda, the Home Office has published data showing exactly how much the 45 Fire and Rescue Authorities in England pay for common items of uniform and equipment, including workwear, vehicles, firefighters’ personal protective equipment, breathing apparatus and automated external defibrillators. In the wake of this detail being made available for public consumption, the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) has moved to state that work is already underway to ensure communities derive the best value for money from the Fire Service.
This is the first national overview of what each Fire and Rescue Authority pays for 25 common items of uniform and equipment. The results show differing costs for what individual Fire and Rescue Services are paying for equipment.
It’s also the first step in the Government’s programme of reform for the fire sector focusing on diversity and efficiency as well as transparency. The data will enable Fire and Rescue Authorities, and the public at large, to compare how much they spend on these essential items with a view to ensuring that they’re realising best value for money at all times.
According to the Home Office data, there’s scope for Fire and Rescue Authorities to make further savings in procuring equipment.
Paul Hancock, president of CFOA, commented: “We’ve been working closely with Fire and Rescue Services and the Home Office to provide the Government with transparent figures on procurement across the sector. We recognise there are differences in the costs of equipment across the sector and work is underway to specifically address this issue. We’ve already established a Strategic Commercial Committee with the Home Office with the objective of transforming the fire commercial landscape as a whole.”
Hancock continued: “We’ve identified categories of high expenditure which offer the greatest opportunities for savings from collaboration. These include vehicle maintenance, operational equipment, ICT, clothing and training. We’re very supportive of this piece of work by the Home Office and will continue to work closely with Government officials to ensure we provide the best possible service for the public while demonstrating best value for money.”