The first part of the new Service to formally combine is Fire Control, and this happened on 26 August 2015.
All 999 emergency calls for the fire & rescue service from across Dorset and Wiltshire are now handled by the new Control Centre in Potterne.
Another significant landmark for the combined Dorset and Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service has been the adoption of a new visual identity.
The intention is to start introducing the new identity to buildings and vehicles from the New Year; however, in the interests of efficiency, we have already started to remove badges, county names and straplines from vehicles in both counties as they go through our workshops for routine maintenance.
As part of the decision to combine, the Shadow Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority agreed to establish a 'strategic hub' in time for the new Service coming into being on 1 April 2016.
Discussions are on-going for a preferred site in the centre of Salisbury. The intention is for this strategic hub to provide:
We are in the process of determining which members of staff might be permanently relocated to Salisbury from other parts of Wiltshire and Dorset. This is being done as part of developing the new organisational structure, and decisions have yet to be made.
Alongside the work to progress the new Salisbury site, both Wiltshire and Dorset FRSs are carrying out detailed reviews of their whole combined estate. It is too early to say what the long term future the Potterne and Poundbury HQs will be; however, the new Service is committed to achieving the best possible outcome for its staff and the communities it serves, while also being mindful of the financial pressures within which it is being formed.
This month will see another significant step on the road to combination, with the first full meeting of the new Shadow Fire Authority on 23 June.
With just nine months before the new Dorset and Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service comes into being, staff at both existing FRSs are busy developing structures, policies, procedures and systems.
Six workstreams have been established to direct this work, focusing on:
Workstream updates are presented to the Shadow Policy & Resources Committee (formerly the Joint Committee) following the Shadow Authority meeting on 23 June). Click here to view the papers.
Click here to see the Shadow Authority papers for 23 June.
Dorset and Wiltshire & Swindon Fire Authorities have successfully gained the support of the Secretary of State to combine and now start their one year journey in bringing together the two Fire & Rescue Services.
The combined Dorset and Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service officially came into being in shadow status on 1 April 2015 and will replace the two existing Authorities on 1 April 2016. This combination will help to secure the future of the two Services and the continued safety of the public in the two counties. Click here for the latest news release.
As the two Services start to come together, they will be focused on ensuring they maintain the professional emergency services for people living in, working in and travelling through Dorset and Wiltshire.
The current Chief Fire Officer of Dorset, Darran Gunter, has been appointed as Chief Fire Officer for the combined Service from April 2016 and, as designate for the next year, he will continue to work closely with Wiltshire's Chief Fire Officer Simon Routh-Jones and the Chairs of the two Authorities to build a strong, safe and sustainable Fire & Rescue Service.
Path to combination
The decision to merge the two organisations was made unanimously by Dorset Fire Authority and Wiltshire & Swindon Combined Fire Authority at meetings in November 2014.
The Combination Order was submitted to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government just before Christmas 2014.
On 26 February 2015, a selection process led to Darran Gunter (currently CFO of Dorset) being named as CFO Designate for the new Service – click here for more.
See also: Government funding of £5.54 million to support the combination – click here for news release