Monday, July 11, 2016

ACO Walton spotted in B & Q

We are hearing rumours that Assistant Chief Fire Officer Walton has been spotted in B&Q  buying large cans of whitewash, wallpaper  and polyfilla!

Seems West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue are to hold an internal enquiry in to the absolute mess that was Sunday  3rd July. The day that West Yorkshire Fire did what every body with half a brain knew would eventually happen - they ran out of fire engines.

So lets go back to 2011 when all of these horrendous cuts started in earnest and see what they said.

It's quite a read, a bit like a comic.  Safer Place, Fewer Fires, Emergency response times will reflect our planning assumptions, delivering effective services in optimum places.

We can't say it better than a serving fire fighter who posted the lines below on Facebook, Sadly we cannot imagine his honesty being appreciated up at FSHQ.

For the very first time in living memory WYFRS ran out of fire engines to send to incidents. This is due to the continual reduction in front line services.
3rd July 2016 @ 11.41 twelve fire engines called to a large fire at Halifax. At 16.15 on the same day the incident commander at a different incident, Morrisons bakery sent an urgent assistance message to WYFRS control requesting the attendance of ten fire engines and 2 aerial appliances. He was informed that he could only... have 7 !?!?!?
The thin red line was stretched to breaking point by 3 incidents running concurrently. The third incident was a HGV fire that occupied 5 fire engines. This third incident is not recorded on the WYFRS website incident page. I wonder why?
WYFRS legal department has never been busier. The insurance companies have started to ask some very searching questions in the aftermath of such expensive debacles.
The fire engine that was tasked to cover the largest city in West Yorkshire, Leeds, was from Selby. I have experience in fighting fires in city centre high rise accommodation gained from years working in such environments. It is safe to say that with the best will in the world the Selby crew do not share this experience. This is no fault of there own and I empathise with this crew entirely. They and the people of Leeds and the surrounding suburbs were placed at an unnecessary level of risk due to the continued cutting of funding for your fire service. If an incident in a high rise building had occurred concurrently, such as a standard flat fire then WYFRS would have been unable to respond in a suitable fashion.
The level of fire deaths in West Yorkshire is at an unacceptably high level for a Metropolitan Brigade.People are dying due to the closure of fire stations.
So the next time you see one of WYFRS management trumpeting the opening of a 'Super Station' (two stations closed one opened - Gipton & Stanks = Killingbeck) in the media, treat it with the utter contempt that it deserves.
Super Station? It is quite the contrary!

Way back in 2012 we blogged about insurance here seems we were right all along.

BUT - He missed a bit,

in a small rural suburb of Huddersfield there was a pump, all alone in Cumberworth Road, SKELMANTHORPE.  Trouble is, it is alleged that it was "forgotten"  and sort of fell off the map on WYFRS busiest day ever.

How dreadfully careless of them.

Now it might not have had enough crew, or a qualified driver, as yet we don't know (it is a retained station). But I reckon even I could, at a pinch and maybe with a large gin in hand, name every fire station in West Yorkshire.

One would think the white shirts in charge would be able to too!

 Pumps are big and red and very difficult to misplace (unless you are a CFO at a fire in Wetherby and you leave one a bit to close to the fireyou are trying to put out).

Why wasn't Skelmanthorpe mobilised? It isn't as though they haven't been quite busy recently - just look at the figures and how they have rocketed.

884%  rise in fires, 748% increase in incidents

There was also the unreported incident of an elderly person having a panic attack whilst stuck in a lift waiting to be rescued, a pump took over 15 mins to attend that incident.

So to finish off where we started with ACO Walton. It appears he is to conduct an internal review of the mess that was Sunday 3rd July. It will be an interesting read and I can't in all fairness see that it will uncover the truth - that West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue are understaffed, under resourced and stretched past breaking point. He will make excuses, whitewash facts and paper and polyfilla cracks.

We here at FCCL intend to conduct our own review  - so watch this space.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Time to See Through the Smoke and Mirrors of Fire and Rescue

Sorry we haven't been about much, but a new job as a risk subject matter expert (oh the irony) means FCCL has been really busy.

Anyway  today on   we discovered THIS   a snappy little article about transparency and the fire and rescue service

It isn't on WYFRS website - obviously we know how keen they are to consult  (NOT) but we think it should be, , public consultation  is VERY IMPORTANT

We think more information and interactive maps is a great idea - they are so simple to use even a local Councillor could understand them

So lets get rid of the smoke and mirrors all FRS use to disguise facts and see some proper information instead of lies and massaged statistics See below for the full article and link to the survey

The Home Office is running a survey to find out how you currently access information on fire and rescue services and what other types of fire related information you would find useful.
The Home Office is the government department responsible for fire and rescue services in England. The Home Secretary recently announced a package of reforms to the service including seeking greater transparency by making information on the service more easily accessible to the public online.

We would like to hear your views on how you currently access information on fire and rescue services and what other types of fire related information you would find useful. You can access the survey here

(opens in a new window)

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Money for Nothing, but you Quit for free!

Living your life in the public domain is for  some people  a way of life. Many newspapers and magazines thrive because members of the public wish to read lots of mindless and facile stuff about "celebrities"  (Although to be fair Dr's surgeries would be dead boring without reading materials like that, even if they are several years out of date.)

Let's be clear, we aren't averse to a spot of gossip, to use the appropriate cliché  "there's no smoke without fire"  There has been a certain dismissal recently, which in our opinion (with only a few selective titbits at our disposal) should have most definitely resulted in one of these
                  To claim  or not to claim, that is the question!

But ended in this .........


However we understand that particular amount, although totalling  more that a chief fire officer gets (we won't say earn)  in a week is small fry compared to the whopping £42,000 that Jim Andrews, the Chair of South Yorkshire happily handed over to several senior staff during a period of perfectly legal industrial action by the Fire Brigades Union. We could rabbit on about the who, what and where but this has had a significant amount of coverage in the press.  Bottom line is these people were contracted to work whatever hours were required of them and had no provision for overtime payments in their contracts. If do you fancy having a read at the shameful episode this article gives a good explanation of why we and many other people are campaigning for Cllr Andrews and CFO Courtney to resign.  
But lets put all that aside and take a more in depth view of the man who made the decision to pay the "overtime" - Cllr James Gregory Andrews, BEM If you click on his name it will take you to his declaration of pecuniary interests, we are interested in particular his declaration under para 2d - Body whose principle purpose is to influence public opinion or policy. 
A spot of amateur handwriting analysis clearly shows he is much fonder of the LABOUR PARTY than UNITE the union, in which union doesn't warrant the use of uppercase and sort of trails off into the distance, but it is UNITE and Cllr Andrews membership of it that made us howl with laughter - the man is in our opinion clearly a hypocrite of the highest order.
Let us show you our reasoning below

UNITE are very clear on the subject of FOI's - in fact they wrote a response to the Independent Commission for FOI's call for evidence (20 Nov 2015)

Unless you are a Labour chair of South Yorkshire FRS !!!!
So come on Jim you know you want to resign really !
It seems bizarre that a councillor who publicly allies himself to the biggest Trades Union in the country would covertly give thousands in payments to management to basically break a lawful strike !
When an audit revealed -

...... the payments, which officers received for working during strikes over the last two years, were withheld from public scrutiny because they were considered too “sensitive”.

and that FOI approving UNITE Union man Cllr Jim Andrews


Now we do know he isn't a fan of democracy as he recently blocked a proposal to have a vote of confidence in......yes you guessed it
And from the horse's mouth Neill Carbutt, Brigade Secretary of the South Yorks FBU
"He stopped a question and statement from us (the FBU) on our position of no confidence in him and chief... He stopped Barnsley trade council speaking, Yorkshire post and a member of public. Apparently he could as he's the chair?"

Is this a man that UNITE the UNION wish to have in their ranks as a Brother ?

A man who conceals payments, refuses to allow perfectly reasonable questions at PUBLIC meetings, declines questions from the legitimate press  (gawd knows what they all get up to in private!)
But for now it appears Cllr Andrews is wearing a coat made from

As things sure as hell aren't sticking to him......

But we reckon that might not be the answer, personally we consider the fact that shortly after he very kindly gave Courtney and Co extra money he was awarded the BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL and if you read the announcement it is very specific

Councillor James Gregory ANDREWS

Deputy Leader, Barnsley Metropolitan Council and Chairman,

 South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority.


For services to Local Government.



It was awarded in the

New Years Honours of 2015 !!! 


It's not us is it?


Do you also smell a




To date Cllr Andrat (whoops sorry,  we mean Andrews) has apologised but steadfastly refuses to resign as does CFO Courtney.

We think this is the ultimate insult to the FBU and members of the public







Tomorrow we will write more regarding the Seven Principles of Public Life  something else that appears to have disappeared without trace recently.