NOTTINGHAMSHIRE AND CITY OF NOTTINGHAM FIRE AND RESCUE AUTHORITY
BUDGET CONSULTATION 2007/8
1.1 The Fire and Rescue Authority has sought to develop a budget for 2007/8 which meets a
number of objectives:
A budget which will:-
i) Continue to maintain and develop a high quality Fire and Rescue Service for
all the communities of both the City and County of Nottinghamshire in
accordance with the published Community Safety Plan.
ii) Continue to target resources towards areas of risk within our communities to
improve prevention, education and response.
iii) Support the implementation of national initiatives such as the Regional
Control Centre and the Firelink radio system.
iv) Seek to generate efficiency savings to maximise the value of public
investment in the service.
v) Keep demands for additional taxation to a minimum.
1.2 Against this backdrop it is still necessary for the Service to take account of national pay
awards, changes to the pensions regime and inflation, as well as keeping pace with
technical changes relating to operational equipment and appliances.
2. PROPOSED REVENUE BUDGET – 2007/8
2.1 The Net Revenue Budget for the Fire and Rescue Authority for 2006/7 was £39,847,091
and required a Council Tax levy of £60.85 per annum for Band D properties.
2.2 It is proposed that a Budget of £41,937,730 should be set for 2007/8 which we anticipate
will require a Council Tax of £63.83 per annum (an increase of 4.9%). We believe that this
still represents good value at less than £1.25 per week at Band D. In fact most properties in
the City and the County are rated at Band A and B which means that the actual weekly cost
at this level is between 82p and 95p.
2.3 The most common question asked at this time is why the Fire and Rescue Authority
requires a Council Tax increase that is greater than the level of inflation. The reasons for
this of course are complex but effectively reduce to the following:
i) Figures quoted for inflation usually relate to the Retail Price Index (RPI)
which is a measure of how much extra goods cost in the shops. The rate of
inflation suffered by the Fire and Rescue Authority generally relates to wage
price inflation which can often be significantly higher.
ii) Inflation in general may be a measure for a service which is standing still
and where there are no significant differences in cost structures from one
year to the next. As will be seen below there are a number of significant
pressures within the Service which require funding above the normal rate of
iii) The effect of changes in government grants can often distort the amount that
needs to be raised from local taxpayers irrespective of prevailing rates of
2.4 In addition to this it is important to understand that the Authority uses reserves and
balances from year to year to equalise the effects of changes in central funding and avoid
what would otherwise be “peaks and troughs” in funding and therefore taxation.
3. BALANCE OF FUNDING
3.1 The Fire Authority is essentially funded from three main sources:
Revenue Support Grant from Central Government
National Non-Domestic Rates distributed nationally
3.2 For 2007/8 the level of funding from Revenue Support Grant and National Non-Domestic
Rates has been fixed at £21,073,429 leaving the balance of £20,864,301 to be funded
4. BUDGET PRESSURES
4.1 In developing this proposal for the 2007/8 Revenue Budget it has been necessary to
consider a number of significant budget pressures which summarise broadly as follows :
Nationally Agreed Pay awards etc. 900,000
Firelink and Regional Control Centre 300,000
Restoration of Balances 600,000
Issue of New Protective Clothing 385,000
Replacement of Arson Task Force Grant 92,000
Replacement of Breathing Apparatus 90,000
4.2 Nationally agreed pay awards have not yet been settled and therefore an estimate of 3%
has been made for both uniformed and non-uniformed staff groups. Consultations both
regionally and nationally show that this figure is the most common estimate with Fire &
Rescue Authorities all providing within the range 2.5-3.5%. Finance Officers across the
region have agreed to use a common assumption of 3%.
4.3 The revenue implications of both the new national Firelink radio system and the Regional
Control Centre have been prepared from detailed work carried out at regional level and
represent the estimate of additional transitional costs over and above those covered by
specific central funding. This estimate does not include the cost of additional “hardware”
type items that will be required in Nottinghamshire for which a separate capital budget has
4.4 The restoration of balances is a slightly more complex issue. During 2006/7 the Authority
supported the revenue budget by a contribution from balances of £400,000. This
contribution was for 2006/7 only and therefore cannot be used again to support the budget
in 2007/8. In addition, there is a genuine contribution to balances of £200,000 in order that
the Authority can remain on target to build up the agreed levels of balances over time.
4.5 A National Clothing Project has been running for some time to replace the Personal
Protective Clothing (fire kit) which firefighters are issued. This project is now nearing
completion and it is likely that Nottinghamshire will be early adopters of this new equipment
as the current fire kit has been due for replacement for some time. It should be emphasised
however that the currently issued fire kit is not unsafe in any way, but it is of an older design
and requires replacement.
4.6 For the past two years government have supported the establishment of an Arson Task
Force to deal with the specific issues surrounding arson in the area. This has been a very
successful project however the grant is to be discontinued in 2007/8. We feel that the
benefit to the community that this project has delivered justifies its incorporation into our
4.7 The replacement of Breathing Apparatus (BA) is a similar issue to the replacement of fire kit
in that the maintenance contract on existing equipment is to end in early 2008 and cannot
be renewed. It had initially been thought that the national Respiratory Protective Equipment
(RPE) project would meet he needs of the Authority in respect of BA, however it is unlikely
that this will deliver to the timescale which is required. The DCLG therefore have given
permission for Nottinghamshire to undertake a stand alone project which will draw on work
already carried out in the South West region. The costs given in these estimates are the
additional annual costs anticipated from an outsourced managed contract.
4.8 For the Authority to increase the base budget by approximately £2.4m to deal with these
pressures alone would cause serious difficulties. Fortunately the Authority has made some
sensible provisions and earmarked reserves in recent years which can be applied to some
of these issues and reduce the overall impact to about £1.7m. Nevertheless they still
present a significant challenge.
4.9 It is also proposed that underspendings from 2006/7 budgets can be recycled into the
balances thus reducing this requirement by £100,000.
4.10 A review of the revenue budget required to support the Capital Programme has shown that
successive financing of the programme from revenue has released sufficient funds to
sustain the Capital Programme without further additions to the base budget.
5. OTHER CHANGES TO THE BUDGET
5.1 In addition to the major changes outlined above there are a number of other changes
required to the budget including the following:
General Inflation 69,902
Development of Community Fire Safety 234,230
Specialist Equipment 124,500
5.2 Developments in Community Fire Safety include the running costs of the new Safety Centre
based at Clifton, the development of the “Seatsafe” programme which focuses on children’s
car seat safety, the extension and further development of the Home Risk Assessment
programme and a number of community based projects.
5.3 The specialist equipment definition covers all of that equipment necessary to effect fire
fighting and rescues which is carried by crews and appliances. The later note on Road
Traffic Collisions explains developments in this area in greater detail.
5.4 New national standards and the requirement to have highly competent and professional fire
crews means that spending on training must increase to deal with specialist areas such as
Information Technology and Driving.
5.5 Transport costs, particularly fuel, have risen alarmingly in the past year and it is necessary
to make an over inflation allowance for this.
5.6 In the area of Estates it is necessary to increase the amount of money available for the
maintenance of buildings. Many of the Fire Authority’s buildings date back to the 1960’s-
70’s and were built to the “Clasp” design system. Until sufficient capacity can be generated
to consider replacement it is necessary to increase the amount of maintenance budget
available to keep these buildings in a serviceable condition. The replacement of the existing
Dunkirk and Beeston Fire Stations with a single station at Hassocks Lane in 2008 is the
beginning of the process of upgrading and replacing the building stock but this will take
many years to complete overall.
5.7 The Authority has not been slow however to seek out opportunities to generate income to
help to support the budget and areas such as the Commercial Training partnership and the
Fire Extinguisher Maintenance operation will be contributing additional money during
2007/8. The Prince’s Trust Partnership is also making a significant contribution to the work
carried out in Community Fire Safety. Overall additional income will contribute £175,000 to
budgets in 2007/8.
6. THE BUDGET IN CONTEXT
6.1 Whilst this paper deals essentially with additions to the budget and pressures on the
Authority it would be inappropriate not to consider where the rest of the budget is spent and
the sort of services that are being provided from within the existing Base.
6.2 Clearly the public are well aware of the Authority’s role in Fire fighting and in rescue from
Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs), dealing with hazardous materials and trapped persons.
There are however major changes to the way some of these services are provided which
are to be met largely from within the existing budget.
6.3 For example the creation of specially equipped rescue teams to deal with building collapse,
water rescue, line rescue and ultra heavy rescue to be based at the new Beeston station
will greatly enhance the service available to the public.
6.4 In addition to this during 2007/8 all pumping appliances will be equipped with the very latest
rescue technology for dealing with RTCs. This will mean that rather than having to wait for
one of 4 specialist rescue appliances to arrive at the scene of an RTC the first appliance
attending will have all the necessary equipment to effect a rescue. The benefit to the
general public from this approach will be significant.
6.5 From January 2007 the working arrangements of fire crews will change from the traditional
2-2-4 system of two 9 hour days, two 15 hour nights and 4 days off with 7 hours standby
each night to one of alternating 12 hour shifts with no stand down time other than meal
breaks. This will effectively release in excess of 250,000 working hours into the system.
These hours are to be used during the day shifts to provide more community safety activity,
with the night shifts being used for more station based training and administration.
6.6 The Fire Authority has also looked in detail at the pattern of calls throughout the 24 hour
day and will move to a system of demand led resourcing where a pump can be released
during the day for community activity.
7. COMMUNITY SAFETY
7.1 The Authority remains committed to Community Safety activities which seek to improve the
overall well being and safety of our communities. These activities are targeted towards
youth, the elderly, BME communities and disadvantaged groups. The Authority continues to
devote significant resources to these initiatives.
8. YOUR VIEWS ARE IMPORTANT
8.1 The Fire Authority is seeking your views on these budget proposals before we set our final
budget in early 2007 and invite you to make any comments and observations by emailing
us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Budget Consultation, Nottinghamshire Fire
and Rescue Authority, Headquarters, Bestwood Lodge, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 8PD
before 11 January 2007.
8.2 More information about the work of the Fire and Rescue Authority can be found on our
Paul Woods Darrell Pulk
CHIEF FIRE OFFICER CHAIR OF THE FIRE & RESCUE AUTHORITY