PODCAST: West Sussex fire officer talks about merger

THE proposal to merge East and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Services is discussed by Max Hood, West Sussex county fire officer, on a new podcast.

The podcast can be heard on the County Council website here www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire, or click on the link to the right of this story.

The fire officer talks about:

- The need to protect frontline services, fire stations, fire engines and firefighters, while at the same time making savings.

- How a merger could lead to an improved service in both East and West Sussex.

- Maintaining emergency response standards.

- Merging HQ functions and support services.

- The importance of seeking the views of the public before a final decision is taken.

A countywide public consultation was launched in July and residents have until October 6 to give their views. Feedback from the consultation will be considered before a final decision is made.

The business case and consultation document is also available online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire. Copies of the consultation document are available in libraries, help points, and in reception areas of local authorities, and printed copies can be sent on request.

You can contact the consultation team via email at fireredesign@westsussex.gov.uk or write to Fire Redesign Team, WSFRS HQ, Northgate, Chichester PO19 1BD, or phone 01243 753706.

A final business case, including all of the outcomes from the public consultation as well as final information on the financial implications, will be presented to East Sussex Fire Authority and West Sussex County Council at their respective meetings in December.

If agreed, a merger would still be subject to government approval and would not come into effect before April 1, 2013.