Time is running out to take part in a consultation on proposed changes at East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service. The deadline for responses to ‘Changing the Service – shaping our future’ is 28 April 2014. Just under 400 responses have already been received.
Staying the same is not an option
Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive Des Prichard said:
“We know that people care about the future of the Service and we would urge anyone who wants to make their voice heard to do so via our official questionnaire. This specifically asks for opinions on the proposals we are considering and will be of much greater use to us than general petitions against any change. We cannot stay the same – we simply do not have the funding. We also have a duty to make sure we make the best use of public money.”
East Sussex Fire Authority Chairman Phil Howson added:
“We are pleased that we have already had a strong response to our initial publicity around this consultation. If you haven’t taken part yet, please do so. Changes have already been implemented to save money but more needs to be done. All Fire Authority members are committed to making the right decisions for the whole of East Sussex and the city of Brighton and Hove.”
The funding gap
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has an annual operating budget of just under £40m with funding from council tax, business rates and Government grants. Last month East Sussex Fire Authority agreed to increase its Council Tax for 2014/15 by 1.94%. This is the first time in the past four years that the Service has decided to increase Council Tax for its residents. However, Government grants are being cut and the graph below illustrates the funding gap being faced.
How to get involved
An online questionnaire can be found at www.esfrs.org/publicconsultation
If you would prefer a printed copy then please write to us at:
Changing the Service – Shaping our future
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service Headquarters
20 Upperton Road
Also, information in an alternative format or another language can be provided by ringing 01323 462200.
The questionnaire is one part of wider consultation. The Authority has also commissioned staff, stakeholder and public focus groups (being held on 19 and 20 March), to seek more detailed information.
All the evidence will be presented to the Fire Authority at their meeting on 5 June 2014.