Seventy point checklist as fire service looks to save cash in the year ahead

FIRE chiefs have compiled a list more than 70 ways to save money in the year ahead as the cash-strapped South Yorkshire service looks for efficiencies.
Changes: Fire chiefs have a long list of money-saving ideasChanges: Fire chiefs have a long list of money-saving ideas
Changes: Fire chiefs have a long list of money-saving ideas

Under current plans, the cash ‘reserves’ or emergency money, will dwindle from around £18.5m to approximately £15.2m by March 2027 as the service draws on that cash to bolster its spending needs.

However, available cash from that pot is limited because some has to remain for unforeseen emergencies and senior managers are now looking at savings elsewhere.

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The ‘long-list’ of ideas for potential savings is in excess of 70, although it is conceded not all would be easy to instigate and some may not result in cash savings.

A report to South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, the brigade’s ruling political body, said some of the ides “have potential for large and small savings, whilst others will not result in cash savings, or may be challenging to deliver.

"The list includes both income generation and cash saving ideas.”

The ideas on the list were “now being prioritised, with the highest impact and easiest to deliver savings considered first.”

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A shake up of the way the service spends cash on overtime is described as “one of our priority areas for savings”, with the expected reduction in those payments already factored into this year’s budget.

A new Community Risk Management Plan is being drawn up, and the findings of that could influence how property and other assets are used in future, and may influence the way staffing rotas are drawn up.

That comes alongside a commitment to find three per cent productivity improvements among staff.

The service is looking to sub-let part of its headquarters, with the NHS South Integrated Care Board expected to move into the premises this year.

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Collaboration with South Yorkshire Police could also see a joint community safety department established and bringing their vehicle fleet management under the same roof.

The work comes after the service failed to meet its efficiency targets last year, stating they were “disappointed” by that but blaming high inflation as a key factor.

Despite that, they made savings of almost 18 per cent on spending on non-pay items. Wages account for the bulk of fire service expenditure.