Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dear Ed and Councillors .............

Dear  Mr Balls ,

We understand that  you are meeting with the Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling to discuss the proposals  that Morley Fire Station is "day crewed"  from January 2014.

So FCCL as concerned individuals would just like to share the following information with you all of which we believe will demonstrate that WYFRS senior management are not using sound management techniques but lurching from pillar to post in the management of WYFRS.



  [ri-zil-yuhns, -zil-ee-uhns]
the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, overstretched; elasticity.
ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.

On Thursday 18th of July WYFRS 
 were so overstretched  their 
resilience plans were invoked. 


Recall to duty is purely voluntary. They send everyone available a text message saying that if they want the overtime  they are then to get to a certain destination within an hour ready to go. (remember too every appliance MUST HAVE a qualified driver and crew manager) 

All 5 resilience pumps were mobilised, although none where mobilised within the allocated 1 hour

First resilience pump mobilised within 1 and half hours       the fifth one took 3 hours!!

Some pumps also were running 
with just 4 crew !

So Mr Balls we at FCCL think that closing fire stations and removing crews  is wrong, if it takes THREE  HOURS to staff resilience engines that WYFRS rely heavily on in their documentation. Its all talk ....... 


.........Further proposals will be presented to WYFRA in future years, however it is not anticipated that these will involve any further new builds prior to 2016.   

(SO WHY DID HE DECIDE TO CLOSE 3 MORE STATIONS    (including Morley) and build 2 new ones  a year later? 

And about Moortown in the 2012 /13 IRMP 

...........WYFRS’ commitment to providing an excellent and efficient service has informed the proposal to introduce an innovative way of providing an emergency response service within the area of Moortown and Leeds District. Instead of continuing to provide two front line fire appliances WYFRS will replace one of them with a Fire Response Unit which will be capable of providing a faster response to smaller incidents across Leeds District. This will maximise the availability of front line fire appliances for life and property incidents.

(we have firm opinions of FRU's read them  here

ROTHWELL Fire Station  ---- April 2012 

 “It is unnecessary to stress the operational advantages and the need for speed in responding to emergency calls as in many situations even seconds count when lives and property are in danger. The current proposals for Rothwell are operationally more desirable as it contains all the activities associated with the fire station within the site, and ensures that staff are located as close as possible to the station to ensure fast response times.”

Yet in September  2012 it seems Rothwell was to close ( we blogged about the proposed close call plans in October 2012) And then they suddenly decided it could be day crewed!

And what about Day Crewing? 

Day Crewing

Day Crewing is a duty system contained within firefighters' national 
terms and conditions, however, any move on to this system is 
voluntary, as it requires staff to live within  5 minutes of the station.  
Firefighters are suitably recompensed with an on-call allowance, 
turnout fees and rent/fuel allowance.  In theory, there are sufficient staff  living within the 5 minute zone at all stations proposed to change to the Day Crewing system but further work is required to establish interest in working this duty system.

We are told time and time again that crews are not willing to day crew and we understand that volunteers are not queueing to sign on the dotted line. So what WYFRS say in theory cannot be transferred to practice. We wrote about it here 

So Ed we wish you luck in your dealing with CFO Pilling -  and whatever you do take detailed notes as you will  no doubt need them to remind Simon of what he has said. Because if we the community don't win this fight we think at some point our words written way back in September 2012 will come back to haunt him. 

Kindest Regards

Simple Simon* met a fireman looking at a fire
Said simple Simon* to the fire man, “those flames are getting higher”
Said the fire man to simple Simon*  “we haven’t got a hope
Those IRMP plans you passed are really not a joke”

 Said simple Simon*to the fireman –“ I don’t know what you mean
These cuts in staff and engines, it will make us slick and lean!”
Said the fire man to simple Simon* – “oh no you’ve got it wrong
With increased tavel time and less staff too –  soon it will go all wrong”

This fire will spread,   we have no staff to help us  put it out
These cuts you love will kill a child,  the politicians shout
“It wasn’t us it, was that man – he told us what to do
And Simon* got it wrong it seems  – and now what shall we do?”

If Simon* wasn’t simple but a decent man with faith
We  wouldn’t have to write this poem  (And our homes would  all be safe!)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

If you back a dog into a corner it is going to FIGHT !

Or alternatively  ............

Oh to be a fly on the wall Monday in Morley. 
We have used this particular saying before here  

OMG !!! You will never guess what I have just heard

"Will he charm them with his fancy uniform, shiny buttons and pips on his shoulder. Or will they stand up for the rights of every citizen to have a decent  fire and rescue service."

FCCL said that way back in October 2012 when CFO Simon Pilling was called to a meeting of Morley Town Council that was held behind closed doors. And seems he did charm them and spin them a tale via a set of matching smoke and mirrors.
And we also told of Ed Balls MPs concerns  later the same October 
And although CFO SImon PIlling didnt get things entirely his own way (Morley Fire Station wasnt closed and merged with Hunslet,  but is to be day crewed instead) 
 -  a couple of blogs later  ( March and May ) bring us round to this Monday  22nd July , Ed Balls MP is yet again  to meet with Simon Pilling (and we assume a few of his closest  henchmen) to discuss Morley Fire Stations future. Also in attendance will be 
Cllr Dawson, Cllr Varley, Cllr Finigan (who was at the original IRMP meeting), Cllr Mehboob Khan (was the head of the fire committee at the time) and FCCL believe several other local councillors too from the Morley , Ardsley and Robin Hood areas.

As these councillors are now we understand armed with the truth of what the IRMP means to them and their constituents they are pressing for some serious answers and the continued 24hr fire cover that they deserve.

Simply put, FCCL believes  the CFO and his officers lied to the fire committee over the wording of Morley staying open in the IRMP meeting which agreed the changes of, among other things, the downgrading of Morley, Rothwell & Garforth. When the local  firefighters and FBU  explained the actual implications of the outcome to Ed Balls and all the local Morley councillors they were not best pleased as they assumed that they had saved Morley from closure and were retaining 24hr cover but it soon became clear that they had had the wool pulled over their eyes by Simon and Co. 

Despite many attempts by Ed Balls & other councillors to get a meeting with the CFO to clarify the situation the CFO has consistently dodged the issue and even didn't bother to turn up to an agreed meeting with Ed Balls. Ed Balls is a very busy man and he was not impressed with the CFO's actions at all. (remember Simon P will be very close to retirement age when these cuts are implemented). 

As well as the fact that FCCL believe  the CFO lied to them the politicians  have also given them the facts about how many people actually put them selves forward for day manning at the affected stations.

Rothwell   8,

Garforth   3 or 4 

Morley 6 
(or maybe  less, we have heard since our last post there may be only ONE person willing to day crew)

Don't forget that the new system was open to everyone in West Yorkshire and if even only ONE person wants to do it and yet the closure of Morley will still go ahead on the 13th of January 2014.

It beggars belief that they will force a station closure with only one applicant as a replacement.

We understand the remainder of the staffing will come from the Ops Pool and detached duties from other stations - this could be the situation for years until they eventually find or recruit enough people to change to the day manning system ! All the personnel at Morley will be forced to  move to other stations which will over staff' those stations, this means that we will have the absurd situation of ex-Morley personnel being detached back into Morley (at extra cost) to keep the station running.  We understand 

One Watch Commander may have already been told that there are no foreseeable posts at other stations for him to be transferred to so they are 'making' a post for him at FSHQ ! - Lucky chap. 

Madness ! or Jobs for the boys? 

Why not leave the personnel where they are at Morley
until such a time that they can fill the posts properly? 

(mind you we already know he isn't too good with tape measures) 
And leave Morley, Rothwell and Hunslet just as they are. 

 It is absolute madness and FCCL are  beginning to think that maybe the CFO is suffering a serious impairment of judgement (AKA:   too arrogant and stubborn to admit he has messed it up  and anyway he can always blame the Councillors on the Fire Authority)

NOW TALKING OF MESSING UP the recent Inner East Area Committee at which  Station Commander Nigel Kirk of Gipton Fire Station told of a 40% increase in deliberate house fires in his station ground.

Cllr Ronald Grahame (labour)  who has had a seat on the Fire Authority  publicly said that voting through the closure of Gipton was something he regretted deeply 

Cllr Ronald Grahame


Now lets make it clear THIS IS SERIOUS  and there is no way FCCL would ever put it in the public domain without being 110% sure 

But he said it at the committee, he repeated it to a close and trusted friend of FCCL and  he has also spoken to the FBU about what happened. 

So Cllr Mehboob Khan  bullied Ron ?
Who else has he "influenced" 

What else has gone on

(we must presume with Simon Pillings consent as he was desperate to get things pushed through)

We will be writing publicly to Cllr Grahame  requesting he make a formal complaint to the Fire Authority  or RESIGN 
Next week is FCCLs Ladies of Letters*  week. 
We will  comment and blog on recent correspondence at WYFRS.

* Although there are many that would contest the term Lady and much prefer "that Woman" 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Does Charity Begin at Home ?

We here at FCCL  enjoy surfing the web, 
working in IT it's sort of mandatory! 
 amongst all the spam and junk mail 
we do occasionally discover 

And whilst looking at the What Do They Know website, whilst incidentally checking our own FOI on water charges and allotments (its a long story - don't ask) we found a Freedom of Information Request to West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue  asking for information about charity events. Now we have once been sent information about this ourselves so we read the request with  interest. We also know that WYFRS have  on occasion fallen foul of the Information Commissioners Office and we wrote about it here  way back in October 2012. 

Here is the FOI request we found .......

Dear West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service,

Please supply me with all information (times, dates and locations)
regarding charity or fund raising events where on duty Fire
Fighters were allowed to participate in the last 3 years. Eg. car
washing events, transporting equipment for such events as boxing
tournaments. I would like to be informed also of the name/s of
supervisory officers and rank who gave permission for this to take
place and how this time was recorded on the SAP system. I would
also like to see any policy where this is allowed to happen.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Hamilton Formerly Stn O 2714 of Gipton Fire Station

Well Mark,as we have said we have been told of times when crews have been sent from one area to cover crews carwashing in another.  And to be honest until this week I considered it on line suicide to blog about it. 


after careful consideration, in particular as private companies are being threatened with a  charge of £350 an hour  per fire engine and crew for false alarm calls, it seems pretty rich to "donate" crews and time to cover whilst charity events take place. 

I will watch the FOI with interest as FCCL was told specifically of Gipton being sent to cover whilst Wetherby washed cars a few months ago.   

That's a very high risk station covering for a 
medium risk one.

FCCL has the greatest respect for the Firefighters Charity, we know you do amazing work  for fire-fighters and their families


All voluntary organisations are feeling the pinch and trade unions (and we know this includes the Fire Brigades Union) are having their right to facility time questioned. I think Mark has asked the right question at the right time.
Perhaps it is time for WYFRS managers to rein in the use of public facilities for charitable activities. 

If you would like to donate to the Firefighters Charity or learn more about their activities, please click here for further details.  

Or they are just a click away on Face Book

Whoops and we almost forgot - the full FOI is available here to read.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

80,000 - 1751 = 798249

And i would just love to explain who the FCCL team is....................... but not half as much as WYFRS would love to know who they are, lol !

Monday, July 15, 2013

Who is Burning Your Money ?

I would be the first to admit i can leave substantially more of the Taxpayers Alliance   than I can take.

But we have on couple of occasions been rather taken with what they have posted on their website. FCCL was dropped a hint to look at their articles on the Chief Fire Officers Association, and what an interesting read it is! The full article is available here 

FCCL strongly  advises everybody regardless of the work they do to join (and indeed become involved and active in ) A TRADE UNION. Unions can provide you with many benefits, from cheaper insurance to legal cover for employment issues should  you ever need it. However being in a union is not free, you pay a subscription, usually monthly to give you the cover you need. Most unions subs are on a sliding scale depending on how much you earn.  Below are the 2013 rates for the Fire Brigades Union (should you need more information it's here 



So a "bog standard " fire fighters pays approx £323 a year  from their wages to enjoy the many benefits of being a member of the FBU.

So  if a firefighter on an average salary of £28,500 a year pays £323  (doing some big sums ) 
this means a Chief Fire Officer should pay in the region of  £1,800  per year fees to the CFOA



                      WHAT ???



2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Total
West Yorkshire £4,698.75 £13,638.63 £14,652.00 £32,989.38
South Yorkshire  £17,909.74 £22,907.00 £16,610.15 £57,426.89

And to quote the taxpayers alliance 

The name suggests this is an organisation paid for by those at the top of the fire service. As I pointed out, this is far from the truth. It is taxpayers that prop-up the CFOA as it gets subscriptions from fire authorities across the country. Those same fire authorities even pay for the individual subscriptions of well paid senior fire officers.

We think that WYFRS and SYFRS  should take a stand and refuse to pay the subscriptions of the Chief Officer.  The London Fire Brigade agree with us.Last year Ron Dobson the London Fire Commissioner said this
At a time when public sector organisations are being challenged to make huge savings across the board, we believe this increase shows a lack of empathy with the financial situation facing all the fire and rescue services that CFOA is there to support.
“In the current economic climate we believe they should be leading the way, rather than simply passing on the cost of savings that we are all being asked to make.

We think that we the tax payers of Yorkshire should start to lobby to stop these payments to people who  already get very high salaries  BUT  it is much worse, here on the front page of the CFOA is the launch of Bluewatch !

The CFOA  are actually in partnership  with a private company  CAPITA

 Capita plc has today announced the launch of Blue Watch, a new fire and home safety scheme, supported by the UK’s fire and rescue services (FRS). Capita has signed a seven year contract, with an option to extend for a further three years, with CFOA Services Ltd (CSL) - a trading company of the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) - to deliver the scheme.

The full press release is available here  (but you might have to login as a guest on the CFOA site) 

Now call me thick  but aren't we being constantly told that firefighters workload is reducing?  

That we don't need as many of them ?  

Yet our very own Fire Chiefs are using OUR MONEY  to promote a private venture and reading Paul Fullers  (CFOA Services Ltd (CSL) chair) which is a trading company of the Chief Fire Officers Association)  validation of the programme makes me  feel extremely sick !

Paul Fuller, CSL chair, said: “As a serving fire chief, I am proud of the work fire and rescue services across the UK have done to drive down death and injury, but more can always be done. Too many lives are still lost and injuries caused, which is why we have set up Blue Watch. Using our experience, knowledge and professionalism we will help landlords make their properties safer from the risks of fire and carbon monoxide. It’s all about providing the best possible advice and support, as well as top quality safety products. We are looking forward to working with Capita in bringing a fresh approach to fire and CO safety, which we hope will reduce the number of people affected by fire and CO.”



P R I V A T I S A T I O N 

(and not even by the back door)