In what has been another exceptionally busy week for FBU officials, further progress has been made on a number of reform topics.
A range of topics relating to FBU officer members was discussed early in week, with very positive engagement taking place. We are now putting final details to a joint statement on that work and it will be circulated early next week. FBU Officer reps have been given an outline of the discussions already and will begin the engagement with members.
Work has proceeded on a number of key areas including the arrangements for how the FBU and SFRS work together to progress the development of the service. This includes some discussion around how we better manage such things as discipline and grievances, so that the high standards of the service are maintained in a way that is fair and appropriate to our members. Further work is underway. The application of the IPDS system and a review of how ADC's work was discussed along with the Union Learning Partnership that the FBU has with Stow College and the organisations already in the ULP. The Union Learning Partnership allows members access to a great number of courses and leaning opportunities that can be accessed at various workplaces across Scotland. The position relating to the legacy Station Officers was also raised and will be considered in detail at a follow up meeting.
Two other areas were discussed that were significant. The first being the approach to ARA and CPD payments and how these could be adapted Scotland wide. This is obviously of great importance to FBU members and as such the Scottish Committee has established a working group of officials to consider this topic and the options that are available. It is important that members put forward their views through their branch reps and any proposals will be fed back through those internal structures. The second area of key interest was fitness standards. The previous 8 FRS all operated differing policies on fitness standards and this must be addressed. The proposal is to split this work into establishing an interim standard for the short-term and then to set out the terms of reference and scope for a robust piece of work that will agree the long-term fitness standard. The principles of this approach have been agreed and work will commence shortly. The Scottish Committee has again established a working group, led by the Scottish HS&W rep and made up of a number of officials with an interest in this topic. The work will consider an appropriate fitness standard for recruitment to the service and a standard for the routine testing of firefighters. It must also consider what is the safe minimum level for operational members, how that will be tested and verified and then consider what practical arrangements can be made to ensure individuals are assisted in regaining and maintaining a suitable standard of fitness.
Beyond the work to address the interim fitness standard there will also be consideration of how the service can establish an agreed, long-term, scientifically based fitness standard and program for the future. This project will naturally flow from the interim work being done and again the principles and the outline of the approach that will be taken have been accepted. The details of the terms of reference and who will undertake any research will be finanlised shortly but the crucial point for FBU members is knowing that your officials will be fully involved in the process from the outset.
The use of topic specific work-groups will be something that we will be using more and more of over the coming months as a way of developing FBU contributions to the service development projects. We have also this week created a group that will look at the use and deployment of high reach and specialist vehicles. This again will involve a group of FBU officials with an interest in this topic. We welcome member’s views and contributions and these should be passed to your branch official in the first instance.
Finally for this update – congratulations go to John McFadden, recently elected to join the Scottish team as the Regional Organiser.