Friday, February 4, 2011

Scotland needs to move forward and make better use of public money, we need a single fire service, don’t let fear cloud good judgement

Dear All

In September 2010, I attended my party’s national assembly for the first time.

Having an interest in politics and an open invitation I trotted in the door with my trusty packed lunch in my bag.

There was various tables laid out and the place was busy so I had a quick look about the place to see what the place cards said on the tables.

I saw public service reform.

Having bumped into someone I knew he asked me what I was doing here, I said I am here to propose a single national Police Force among other things.

Since we were both interested in that I suggest we get in first and make the pitch.

The discussion started and I put the case both financially and operationally with my friend a former police officer giving anecdotal evidence of his experiences.

At the same time, I also during the discussion widened it out to say that there should be also single Fire and Rescue Service for Scotland.

As we have already seen with plans floated for a single Police Force, there are sayings to make by having a single authority.

And remember the purpose of reform is to ensure that front line services are protected.

In the emergency services ‘boots on the ground’ are more important than protecting fiefdoms.

However with change comes fear.

And the latest people to voice concerns are the Scottish Fire Conveners’ Forum (SFCF) which represents the current eight operational regions.

They are concerned the Government’s belief that there are “compelling arguments” for one service was based on early phase one work “led by civil servants rather than professionals with the Fire and Rescue Services”.


“As such, it is our view that this work needs to be closely scrutinised as it reaches its conclusions despite an obvious lack of evidential data.”

The concerns of the Scottish Fire Conveners’ Forum will be address and rather than being spectators I would hope that the Scottish Government would be setting up a working group to include people like these.

In adopting radical measures it is important to hear diverse opinions; it is the only way forward.

Scotland will have a national Fire Service just as it will have a national Police Force.

And these measures will be seen as a step forward, concerns will be addressed, consultation and reform aren’t things to be feared but welcomed.

One day people will say, ‘why didn’t we move to this before!’

I will be trotting into my party’s national assembly more often.

Next up, I will be proposing that Scottish Government closes the SPT as the waste of space it is, the Glasgow Labour Party will have to find another travel agent and meal ticket!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

No comments: