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Questions around working patterns

Can you provide more detail around the proposed working patterns?

The Response Managers are currently working on an initial proposal, using some of the feedback already received, that covers what a 24-hour station and day-only station looks like, alongside more detail for an evening shift and surge shift. It will provide details on competence expectations, working hours, who can access these shifts, numbers of personnel required and remuneration. We are aiming to share this information via an online presentation in early February and we will invite staff to feed back their views on these proposals at the presentation itself and then subsequent workshops.

How will the proposed evening shifts be structured? And how many people will be required?

The proposed model has been costed using an approach that involves the evening shift being based from four locations across the county. Each location would require one appliance crewed with four personnel (1 x Watch Manager, 1 x Crew Manager and 2 x Firefighters). The total number of personnel required per part-time station is dependent on the minimum shift requirements for a part-time Firefighter to achieve and maintain competence (TBC). As part-time shifts are integral to the proposed model, this is subject to the outcome of the public consultation.

What compensation is available to staff that are unable to commit to the evening shifts?

The proposed model may offer greater flexibility as it creates additional wholetime (full and part-time) and surge team vacancies. If existing members of staff are unable to commit to the proposed working patterns then redundancy is an alternative option.

What will be the working pattern at Atherstone Fire Station?

The proposed model includes the introduction of the 2-2-4 working pattern at Atherstone fire station. This includes working 08:00 - 18:00 for two days / 18:00 - 08:00 for two nights and four days off.

Has the service considered the impact of stations with wholetime day cover and an on-call crew who have targeted evening/night cover?

The service has considered this impact, however the current on-call system does not provide guaranteed response. The proposed part-time contracts will provide guaranteed response. The evening shift also creates additional capacity for prevention and protection activity.

Are the welfare arrangements on stations sufficient for the proposed model?

Where the proposed model requires alterations to welfare facilities, these will from part of the transitional arrangements.

As an employee holding a dual role would it be possible to train during the day in my primary role?

Full-time positions will maintain competencies through their full time contract and part-time positions will maintain competencies through evening shifts.

Will full time staff be able to go from working a day shift straight into working a part time evening shift?

We are considering this in line with the working time directive and in consultation with representative bodies.

How will rest breaks be incorporated and guaranteed?

We have a fatigue management policy and as part of the Resource to Risk Program, we intend to review fatigue management, particularly looking at our approach to protracted operational incidents and/or spate conditions. Furthermore, surge teams would be used should there be any significant concerns in this area.

The proposed evening shifts start at 18:00 which may prove difficult for staff working a day job. Are the proposed start and finish times of the evening shift set in stone?

The proposed model including shift times has been developed using the evidence base. However, we are open to ideas around start times of evening shifts and we have developed both a working group and "Suggestion Panel" to which all staff are welcome to contribute.

Do you think we will get enough staff to sign up to the evening shift?

Based on historic recruitment, we have been successful in recruiting to wholetime positions. Under the proposed model, part-time contracts will be available for both external and internal recruitment.

Will the service be looking to bring Fire Control in line with the proposed working patterns?

We will be looking at all areas of the service to ensure we have the right resources in the right place at the right time.

If a part-time contract is the same pay and competence as full-time, do full-time staff only need to do one evening a week of training to be competent?

Full-time firefighters do not need to do an evening shift to maintain competency as they will do this as part of their full-time role. They can choose to do evening shifts as an addition and can also apply to join the surge teams.

Are evening/part-time shifts grey book compliant?

Part-time contracts can be compliant.

Why do we need part time shifts when we already have cover provided by On-Call during these times?

The current on-call system does not provide guaranteed response. The proposed part-time contracts will provide guaranteed response. The evening shift also creates additional capacity for prevention and protection activity.

Will your shift start at your local station?

Your shift will start at the station your contract stipulates. This applies to both full-time and part-time contracts.

Will existing staff be given priority when choosing any new work location?

In line with existing recruitment processes individual preferences will be given consideration. However, ultimately filling vacancies will be aligned to service need.

By introducing part-time shifts you are excluding people who may be available to work in the day, like single parents. What plans are in place to address this discrimination?

The proposed model may offer greater flexibility as it includes a variety of working patterns including full-time 24 hour, full-time days only and part-time evening shifts.

How does key issue 4 ("Some of our shift systems are not nationally accepted shift systems and has been subject to legal challenge nationally. Others are not sustainable into the future.") directly relate to resourcing to risk? 

Shift systems that are not nationally recognised are a foreseeable risk. We therefore need to plan to mitigate this as part of our community risk management planning.

Key issue 4 ("Some of our shift systems are not nationally accepted shift systems and has been subject to legal challenge nationally. Others are not sustainable into the future.") Can you show the difference in correlation and wholetime truck availability through making all shift patterns grey book compliant?

Key issue 4 is not about addressing availability. The challenge is operating shift systems that that are not nationally recognised.

Why is the Day Crew Plus System not a sustainable system?

The existing DCP system is being challenged nationally and poses the risk of legal challenge.

Will Self Rostering be removed as part of the proposal?

The current proposal does not include the removal of self rostering from Leamington. However it is very unlikely that we will get agreement from the representative bodies to introduce self rostering into other locations, unless a change in the current position is agreed nationally by the representative bodies.

There has been a pressure to remove the 2-2-4 shift pattern due to it being antiquated and not fit for purpose, is this still the case?

No, 2-2-4 is one of the four recognised shift systems within the proposed model.

Will people who are now on part-time/job share contracts at wholetime stations be able to continue where they are? Or will they have to move onto the new part-time 18:00-20:00 shifts?

Existing members of staff contracted on a part-time basis will be able to remain on this contract.

How is flexible working going to be adopted into this overhaul as there has to be the facility for a flexible option?

Arrangements for flexible working already exists. Any employee who has 26 weeks continuous service with Warwickshire County Council has the right to request flexible working.

What do we need to do to get our existing shift patterns put in to grey book?

Grey Book Terms & Conditions are negotiated through the representative bodies on behalf of members at a national level.

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