A new report highlighting the extent of collaboration between the emergency services has shown there is an increasing appetite to share knowledge and experience beyond blue light agencies.
A new National Overview document has been published by the Emergency Services Collaboration Working Group (ESCWG) and, two years after the first edition, provides a real insight into the scale of progress made and gives guidance about the best examples of working together.
The innovations extend beyond the emergency services too, with greater input than ever before from the wider public sector, including councils, mental health services and social care. The areas services are collaborating across include some of the most important parts of our business: control rooms, shared estates and assets and co-responding in emergencies.
The Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, who is handing over the chairmanship of ESCWG to his fellow PCC Phillip Seccombe (Warwickshire), says the degree to which organisations have been prepared to work together is very encouraging. He said, “I’ve been impressed by the examples of how the three emergency services have improved their service to the public and become more efficient by innovative collaboration. There is a clear case for investing in a joint approach to early intervention and preventative measures to allow the good work to continue.”
Demand across the services is changing, according to David Lloyd, and this presents new opportunities. Mr Lloyd said, “Fire-related fatalities are half of what they were 10 years ago, but the fire service’s attendance at non-fire related calls is increasing. So too is the demand on the ambulance and police service, particularly in relation to mental health issues. By working more closely together, services can better address these challenges.”
Mr Lloyd, who was previously the portfolio holder for the fire and rescue service at Hertfordshire County Council, is investigating the options in his own county for greater collaboration between fire and the police, with a business case into a takeover of the local fire authority in the process of being prepared.