A major collaboration programme aimed at protecting front line emergency services is ongoing in Cheshire. The ambitious plans involve bringing together most of the back office and professional services which support Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cheshire Constabulary and establishing a single, shared headquarters site by April 2018.
There will be no merger of frontline services, with each organisation keeping their separate brand, identity and management arrangements.
Mark Cashin, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said, “The Blue Light Collaboration programme, which was approved by Cheshire Fire Authority and the Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner in 2015, is ongoing and will still involve a move to a single joint headquarters and the merging of a number of support functions from both organisations.
“Originally, it was also proposed that operational fire training would also move to the new joint headquarters. However, following an in-depth review and costing exercise, the fire authority has agreed that training should continue to be delivered from its current location. Also in a bid to ensure that our firefighters get the very best training possible to keep them and our communities safe they also agreed that the current facilities could be significantly enhanced.”
The new joint headquarters at Clemonds Hey will be jointly developed to ensure that the look and feel reflects the cultures of combined teams and encourages closer working between individuals and organisations.
While the North West Ambulance Service has been involved in the blue light discussions, its regional structure means talks are focusing on areas such as shared premises rather than joint support teams.