Two EFA meetings

Two Essex Fire Authority meetings in as many days. The first was the main body, and the interesting item (as far as I was concerned) on that agenda was entitled Organisational Change.

Organisational Change has been forced on the EFA (who oversee the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service) by the huge cuts imposed on all public services by the Conservative Government. The four Labour councillors on the EFA tried to tweak the recommendations to include a commitment to no compulsory redundancies.

I said that whilst aware of the challenges the cuts are giving the Authority there were always choices. The cuts, described by one Tory member as ‘savings’, were ideologically driven, I added. I, and my Labour colleagues, believed that we should endeavour to protect jobs. We lost the ensuing vote 16 – 4 (with one abstention). At least the Labour quartet can hold their heads high with the realisation that at least we tried to protect the workforce.

Earlier today I attended the EFA’s Health, Safety, and Welfare Strategy Group Meeting. We discussed accidents at work, and at the scene of the incidents that fire fighters attend. We looked at a number of metrics for both Essex and nearby fire authorities. Essex does compare favourably, although there is always room for improvement.

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