Thursday, November 29, 2012

Accountability & Openness

In the  Code of Conduct 

we found these two definitions 

ACCOUNTABILITY: Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

OPENNESS: Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

So  as tomorrow is the last day of "consultation" we here at FCCL will be sending an email  next Monday to every member of the fire authority and senior members of the management team at WYFRS  asking them (in the spirit of openness and accountability of course ) what they have done in regard of promoting the consultation process. 

How many public / private meetings have they organised ?
How many public / private meetings have they attended ? 
How many emails  they have had from constituents in opposition (or favour) of the proposed cuts in provision?

But sadly we are prepared to be bitterly disappointed - we suspect that many will simply not reply - some such  as Cllr Gil Thornton & MP Hilary Benn will even show contempt and delete our emails unread.  (in which case we will have to FOI them for the information ). 

But it does already seem that deals are being done behind closed doors.............


the tail you can see disappearing is that of the station cat at Haworth  -  station cat reported that last night her fire station had a very special visitor, its so interesting we have posted the whole message below.  

"Deputy Chief Steve Beckley at Haworth last night; Told them that Keighley is to lose a pump in April and Haworth will be staying open for the time being. What happened to the consultation process? Mr Beckley is the Deputy who has taken his pension but stayed on, so he now gets £60,000 salary and £60,000 pension, taking him back up to his original £120,000. He will also be drawing interest on his half a million lump sum at the same time, so another £10,000 there. Could he be the best part time employee in the county? "

YES - we think he probably is !!!
(this scheme is NOT open to ordinary fire fighters btw) 

With information like this - its no wonder we at FCCL get cross - we have of course emailed Simon Pilling to ask if this is TRUE - for a start was DFO Beckley at Keighley last night would be a good place to start.   

BUT it seems that deals are already being done ------  without the consultation process even finishing..................   

anyway for nearly the last time (well till next year) 


Email Hannah Stoneman (HERE
(And don’t forget to copy in your MP, 
Local Councillor, 
Fire authority members, 
see the Contacts list for their E-mail addresses HERE

Or Write to her Here:-
Hannah Stoneman
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
Oakroyd Hall
Bradford Road
West Yorkshire
BD11 2DY


Oh dear we have made a mistake .....

Sadly we have to report we are hearing rumours that Gerry Sutcliffe


Signed the early day motion as we were assured by his staff

We will be contacting his office to find out why ---- 

well we contacted his office and they said - its on his desk waiting to be signed .......... we watch and wait to see what happens.

In the meantime here are some  more labour politicians who are opposing the closures click HERE
 it will be interesting to see how all of this pans out - the fire authority being labour controlled.... will they submit and be whipped (like last year) - we watch with interest. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Is the Chief Fire Officer Worth £160,369 ?

Is the Chief Fire Officer Worth   

£160,369  a year ? 

We have in previous posts referred to the consultation co-ordinator as the  "propaganda person"  well seems we are correct in our assumption as  yesterday morning we awoke to the Telegraph and Argus praising the fire service for their predicted underspend of £1.47 million after slashing its wage bill........... well we are very much aware of some wages that are NOT being slashed. 

David Cameron, the Prime Minister is paid 

£142,500 per annum  to run* the country 

* we use the term loosely of course 

Simon Pilling 

Chief Fire Officer, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue 

Courtesy of Bradford  Telegraph & Argus 

starts off with a basic ............£151,572

+  £1,572 expense allowance
+ £7,224 benefits in kind (lease car which is not taxable

which in total amounts to 

Over one hundred and sixty thousand pounds.   

and where did we get this figure from  

2011 /2012 statement of accounts 
which are available HERE

Lets get this in perspective a "bog standard,  fire fighter" who works shifts, does the dirty work and risks their life gets an average of 

Simon Pilling gets a £32,285 employer contribution to his pension every year, more than even a firefighter earns !

But it isn't just him - below are some other salaries that may shock you. 

So we close this post with some lines that were sent to us -  from  someone who has like us got the poetry bug the tune of Londons Burning - just in case you didn't guess 

Yorkshire burning, Yorkshire burning
Got no engines, got no engines
Dire dire, dire dire
Poor on water, poor on water

Simon's earning, Simon's earning
Sold the engines, sold the engines
Hire hire, hire hire
Tories bought yer, Tories bought yer

It's concerning, it's concerning
Stats cut engines, stats cut engines
Liar liar, liar liar
Give no quarter, give no quarter

Tomorrow we will tell you all about how certain other wage bills are going up up up  but for now just read about the £50 - £55 thousand a year scandal. Its in a post called 1,000 and counting and its available HERE 


Email Hannah Stoneman (HERE
(And don’t forget to copy in your MP, 
Local Councillor, 
Fire authority members, 
see the Contacts list for their E-mail addresses HERE

Or Write to her Here:-
Hannah Stoneman
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
Oakroyd Hall
Bradford Road
West Yorkshire
BD11 2DY

Open letter to Hilary Benn MP

Fire cuts cost lives - why did you delete an email  unread!!!

courtesy of British Inspiration Trust   

I was very sad to note that an email sent to you by the campaign group firecutscostlives on the 26th November 2012  (of which I am a part)  was deleted by you unread  yesterday.  It was to ask if you would support the early day motion 694 brought by  Kate Hoey. I can  only assume from  its deletion you are happy with the proposals to massacre the fire and rescue service when you clearly said in an email to me  dated  2nd December 2011

 “I am of course concerned about the impact cuts may have across West Yorkshire, especially if the Government persists with its unfair treatment of the Met Fire Authorities which face a further unfair budget reduction in future years. The Authority does not want to be doing this.
On what’s proposed locally, my principal concern as your MP is to ensure that local residents have the same effective fire service cover with an ability to respond to incidents within the required times, not just from the proposed new fire station at Killingbeck but also from other stations around Leeds. That is what I have sought assurances about. As you know, the Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling has said he fully understands the concerns of people who have objected to the proposals but he remains convinced that the plans are operationally sound and will “still enable us to deliver a first-class emergency service across the whole of West Yorkshire.” The thing that will convince me is seeing that promise kept, and I can assure you that I will keep a close eye on this and I am sure you will too.”

I would like to think you too like myself and many others feel that Simon Pillings “promise”  has not been kept – that now we will not have the same fire cover as the IRMP proposed for 2012/13 will remove assurances  made that we would  have sufficient cover. But sadly your deletion of  the email means that you still I can only assume that you believe the rhetoric of Simon Pilling and not the valid concerns of your constituents and operational fire fighters and Fire Brigades Union who oppose these cuts.  Many labour councillors and an MP turned out to the November 3rd March and Rally organised by the FBU although I can only hope that the labour controlled fire authority will not do as last year and three line whip members when they know  that the cuts they implement will cost lives. Surely being in “opposition” means just that – why rubber stamp cuts you know are wrong?

With regard to the response times that are circulated by WYFRS do you genuinely believe that the entirety of Burmantofts and Richmond Hill (and indeed other areas of your constituency ) can be covered by one simple figure. 6:27 seconds ? It will of course impact  on the poorer and socially deprived areas of the wards which should surely be your major concern? (but of course these are the people and areas least likely to vote) But if you delete emails from campaign groups I can only assume the worst, you are in favour of these cuts and will see provision decimated in our area.   

Sadly  as non of the labour councillors bothered to note or  comment at the inner east area committee  a few weeks ago (and I appreciate it isn’t your patch) but house fires in Seacroft and Killingbeck are rising. Even the leafy suburb of Chapel Allerton has only 2 less house fires a year than Richmond Hill! Statistics can deceive and of course a middle aged woman cannot compete against uniformed officials who use their power to deceive.

Anyway,   this morning I have FOI’d  WYFRS to request a copy of the letter of you wrote in response to last years IRMP,  that  Simon Pilling assured the fire authority you had verbally retracted when he contacted you last year.  I  previously requested it from WYFRS and was refused by officers of the authority who said I required your permission, I am confident under Freedom of Information regulations this is not true. It would however be quicker if you would supply me with a copy of the letter yourself.  I am sure the community will find it an interesting read ................ and perhaps at somepoint you can explain yourself to us – after one of your constituents has died in a fire perhaps!

I am deeply disappointed in your actions Hilary, I naively thought better of you. A labour MP surely should fight cuts in public service provision and the job losses that ensue?

Please note I have posted this email on the firecutscostlives blog and I along with thousands of our readers look forward to the response .

Sarah Covell

However - three cheers for Gerry Sutcliffe!!! 

courtesy of Telegraph  & Argus 

the Bradford South MP (Labour)  who HAS responded to our email  AND signed the Early Day Motion. 

Many Thanks Gerry for your concern and prompt response. If you would like to thank Gerry in person his website is  HERE

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Coming Soon - HOW MUCH ??????

We  have held off for as long as we can 

Tonight we will tell you HOW MUCH Simon Pilling the Chief Fire Officer gets paid -  is he worth it ?  

We have already explained how the number of staff has increased recently  - read all about it  HERE 

We will also  reveal  a few more interesting facts about the 

WYFRS payroll. 

We here at FCCL have our personal opinions about this  and maybe, just maybe we will be sharing them with you. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Performance Report 2011/12

Performance Reporting 

 - we took a peek at the 2011 /2012 performance report. 

The full report is available HERE


Number of injuries from accidental fires 
per 100,000  


(9.07% with a target of 7.22)

Now we know from  various station cats across the WYFRS estate  that to get a fire logged as "accidental" or "deliberate"  has been difficult recently,  requiring the attendance of a fire investigation officer rather than the professional experience of the officer in charge- could this be to re profile the above statistic?  

Yes we think so. 

Scarily the Figures are   RISING for 

Number of Fire Casualties (excluding precautionary checks) 
per 100,000 population

( 12.18% with a target of 10.38%) 

Further investigation this shows that West Yorkshire is 
5th out of the 6 metropolitan district fire authorities 
for fire casualties.  

A N Y W A Y 

THIS IS IT !!!!!

 the final week of "consultation"

 although we use the term loosely as we are not convinced

 that WYFRS have actually wholeheartedly embraced the concept.

 It means beings being proactive - rather than the

 "lets sit on our hands" 

and go la la la   strategy they seem to  have adopted. 

Which yet again begs the question what do they employ their "communications" experts to do ? (apart from ringing up FCCL members to try and shut them up ?)  

Perhaps they would be better named - propaganda persons as that is what they promote? For more on this click HERE

We don't doubt that here at FCCL we are going to have to keep soldiering away at Simon P and Co in the coming months AND YEARS - because if  they think we will pack up our laptops on December 21st they are very wrong indeed. 

We intend to.......................................

FCCL  have been so heartened by the community response to our blog we are planning great things for the future - and are already in discussions to co-ordinate with anti fire cuts provision further afield and link into to other brigades campaigns; share expertise etc because not even in our wildest dreams did we realise how successful the FCCL campaign  was going to be, and we have scored not hundreds but THOUSANDS more hits than we ever anticipated.

So to develop further we have linked with a national campaign run in Manchester

  Save Our Fire Service 

run by operational  fire fighter Simon  Hickman. The Save Our Fire Service  site is available HERE and covers national issues, but we at FCCL have a link under the campaigns tag HERE

But more importantly Simon has very kindly for the last week of the campaign set up an automated email  service that will allow you to record your objection to the cuts by simply adding your name, email address and post code  to a simple form, click send and an email will automatically be sent to every fire authority member, Hannah Stoneman, Simon Pilling  AND your local MP. 

How clever is that 

So to register YOUR OBJECTION TO THESE PROPOSALS  click    HERE    (please note you will see no text in the form) 

Now to tell you more about what the FBU have been up to click here to be transferred to the FBU pages on this site

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Simon has an FRU - a little transit van !

This morning in the Yorkshire Post we read with interest of fire crews in South Yorkshire refusing to staff Small Incident Units - the equivalent of Fire Response Units (FRUs)  in West Yorkshire. The full article can be read HERE

Which got us thinking about FRU's and as we were in a poetic mood, look what the FCCL team came up with 
( we thinks its rather ...........good.)

Simon has an FRU
A little transit van
He drives it round the streets of Leeds
Put fires out – IF he can!!!

An FRU is very small
With not a lot of kit
No substitute for propers crews
In fact it’s really..............  (insert word of choice)

What use are FRU’s to me ?
I hear you cry with glee
They keep attendance figures low
(the’re creeping up you see)
For little fires they aren’t so bad
But little fires grow
And when they are so well alight,
a proper crew must go.

Once Simon took his FRU
To Moortown. long ago
I spoke to people crewing it
They told me  tales of woe
“It cannot put out car fires”
“This red vans such a farce”
So Simon take your FRU
And drive it up your..............(again please insert word of choice)

We here at firecutscostlives think
An FRU is wrong
When fat cats up in Birkenshaw
Have done their sums “pete tong”
And one day soon, someone will die
And then we all will say
“We told you Simon, did you hear
What firefighters say ?”

Reducing front line services
In such a viscous way, 
no smoke alarm or FRU
Will change what we all say.................


We have before mentioned a paper written by  the Fire Brigades Union called "It's about time" it was ages ago,  in an article of the same name available HERE   The paper its self has a very interesting item on FRU's in which it talks of one based in South Yorkshire. 

The full document is available Here but for speed we enclose an excerpt below

However today has not been all doom and gloom - we are hearing reports from Morley that over 2,000 people have signed the objection to Morley Station Closing. 

The information is on the Morley Independents blogsite which is just a click away so please click here for the Morley Independents Blogspot

And as  this page has in the main been full of positives - if you want to see something that is so bad it's good click  Here to see Blaze Bear in action decorating his Christmas Tree - the continuity is truly dire (watch the fireplace!) 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Councillor contempt!

As our caption competition was a complete FLOP  (not one person entered ) we now have a "Hot Dates" calendar we do not know what to do with.  Some at FCCL are screaming political correctness - some aren't. - Boss Hooch is moaning about equal opportunities - WYFRS do employ female fire fighters, so why arent there any of them draped round a pole topless. Sarah reckons it's deameaning, citing that if you were to be rescued from a fire you would not give a hoot what the fire fighter looked like.  
Anyway we paid our fiver for it,  which is for a very noble cause

The Fire Fighters Charity

so nothing has been lost and the calendar has been consigned to a drawer. 

So our competition is  no longer valid 
can you guess which of our  62 posts has been read the most
shared to date?

This oneavailable here  in  which we discussed Protected Disclosure and Whistle Blowing! 

It beat second placed  Employee Consultation, available here  
by a WHOPPING 44%.

As we can now measure our success in THOUSANDS  we can only hope that our post pricks someones conscience and a whistle is blown loud and clearly.


its not quite whistle blowing BUT it is extremely annoying.

We at


have, on a regular basis, contacted the 
Councillors, who make up the Fire Authority of WYF&RS, 
to make them aware of the contentious issues that have arisen in regard to plans that they will soon have to make a decision upon ,

on your behalf!

 Unfortunately we have to report that certain elected officials have shown contempt toward their electorate - by deleting the messages we sent them, without having the respect to even open the emails and view the contents.

One of those is:-

Councillor Gill Thornton
(you can E mail her here)!

Courtesy of Keighley News 

Labour Group - Bradford District
Chair Human Resources Committee

Member of Finance and Resources Committee
Bradford District Community Safety Lead Representative

 The message that we sent to her was deleted 
"without being read on Mon, 19 Nov 2012 15:49:20" 

So a message to all those who voted for her is - 
and do not vote for her again!

Cllr Thornton receives in excess of seven thousand pounds a  year for her duties as a fire authority councillor - comprising of

£3,411 basic allowance
£3,764 special responsibility allowance 
(chair HR committee)

BUT........there is one councillor in the FCCL good books - Cllr Mark Dobson - Labour - Garforth ward,  Leeds has waded into the debate and sent a letter available to read HERE  to CFO Pilling. We do hope he keeps to his word - we remember last year when local Leeds MP Hilary Benn wrote opposing the cuts and then retracted it via phone after being called by CFO Pilling. We watch and await developments with interest............

Monday, November 19, 2012

What a cheek! - Money for old rope

So it appears that West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service have 

 "been encouraged by the level of interest shown during the 

consultation period, which began in September." 

According to today's Yorkshire Evening Post! - Click Link!

It has become clear to us at FCCL

that the last thing WYF&RS want is "Consultation"

Where were all the regular media advertisements,  
The Public meetings - in all the effected areas 
The consultation with Stakeholders?

We here at FCCL are considering sending WYF&RS a rather large "Bill" for the time and effort we have put in notifying the Public of West Yorkshire about the decimation of their Fire Service.
Something that the WYF&RS PR Dept.  
Clearly haven't done!

Why is Hannah Stoneman being paid?
After all she is the leader of:-

Corporate Communications

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue's Corporate Communications team provides a comprehensive range of services across the following:
public and media relations
marketing and internal communications
digital and visual media

Money for old rope!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oh What a tangled Web!

Oh what a tangled web we weave,

When first we practise to deceive!

It has become apparent that In order to "Sell" their Cuts proposal to the Authority and Public, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, have not exactly been telling the truth. 

Data supplies to FCCL by WYF&RS Clearly shows that they have deliberately been massaging the figures

Information supplied by Front line Officers also supports this.

There have many comments left on the FCCL Blog regarding the "Deliberate v Accidental" reporting,

Here is what one Officer said to us recently

Senior management have given instructions to fire crews on how to record "deliberate or accidental" fires. 
Officers in charge of fire engines have been told to record such fires as bin fires, bonfires, rubbish fires and even shed fires as accidental, 

One senior officer has been telling operational fire crews that they cannot record a fire as deliberate unless it has been verified by a fire investigation officer,  or someone is seen lighting a fire by the crews. 

I am not sure how many bin fires, bonfires etc are lit by accident, I would guess very few - 
but statistics tell a different story

Are these the same statistics being used to close fire stations? 

Another comment left on the FCCL  blog said:-

 One West Yorkshire Fire Station has been informed by
management that it has reached it's monthly "allocated total"

 of deliberate fires, and that wherever possible the causes of

 these fires should be re-classified as unknown. 

Since when
was there an allocated total of any kind of


If someone wanted to close a fire station, they would need to show it was not required any more. One way to try and show this would be to show that the amount of calls had dropped! 

-But if fire fire calls are still being received how could you do this?


Just send appliances from another station!

As an example, We at FCCL have been looking through the data supplied by WYF&RS. 

In the case of Gipton, which was ear-marked for closure last year, it has been noticed that there were in excess of 180 calls that were attended by appliances from Leeds Fire Station into the Burmantofts area, mainly to St James' Hospital.

Using the AA Route Plannerthe favourite software of 
Mr Barnes, 
Director of Corporate Resources
We concluded that the distance from 
Gipton Fire Station to the Hospital, was 1.80 miles 
whereas from 
Leeds Fire Station the distance was 2.80 miles.

As we all know seconds can make the difference  between life and death!

Another example was that of 
Garforth Fire Station 
being sent to 
Temple Newsam House! 
35 times!

again an AA Route planner was used.

Garforth to Temple Newsam 4.8 miles
Gipton to Temple Newsam 2.5 miles

Now don't forget, The Statistics don't lie


Friday, November 16, 2012

Never Give Up


is the FCCL motto (closely followed by  "Don't let the bastards grind you down" ) and this is  the message we would like to pass to our comrades in London who are battling the same as we are to save fire and rescue services from viscous and unnecessary cuts in provision.

Therefore we  would like to publicly send our support and solidarity to those who are fighting the closure of New Cross Fire Station in London. Seems they too are suffering from the fire authority preferring to do things behind closed doors  as this newspaper article demonstrates in the  East London Lines News

Paul Embery the FBU’s regional secretary for London  recently said .............

“The London Fire Brigade is a proud organisation with a fine history. But it is now facing possibly its greatest challenge. Its leaders must do the right thing and tell the politicians these cuts are wrong and dangerous. If they don’t do it, the FBU will.”

Does that sound familiar ---------  a little like  the West Yorkshire Brigade Secretary David Williams who was recently quoted  in The Guardian as saying............

"Firefighters are angry because these cuts will slow response times. Small fires will become big ones. In emergency situations every second counts, a few seconds delay can be the difference between saving a life or failing to save it"

So New Cross - your fight is OUR FIGHT  
because Fire Cuts Will Cost Lives. 

And to help you on your way we have sent you an email explaining how FCCL operates and how we run our very successful blog.  (which obviously we aren't going to publish but have sent to you separately)

And of course there are the mysterious coincidences of our campaigns .............. FCCL has Sam Hirst as one of its members - he is our photographer who took the picture on our front cover and also the ones we have sent to English Heritage for our application for Gipton  to be listed  AND Chloe Hirst his sister is based in London and is writing in East London Lines about the cuts in provision, and an example of her work can be seen  HERE

Then there is Eleanor Covell,  a student and resident of New Cross who is opposing the closure of New Cross who is the daughter  of our very own Sarah Covell. Seems it's a very small world indeed!


And because its Saturday,  and probably  just because we have learnt how to do it is the FCCL motto in jigsaw form.

Can you reassemble it to create our motto?
In less than 2 minutes ....................  ?
(and BossHooch using the autosolve is cheating)

Because in Less than 2 MINUTES - THIS CAN HAPPEN