- Thames Valley Collaboration Programme highlights region’s
- Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service (RBFRS),
Oxfordshire County Council Fire & Rescue Service (OFRS), and Buckinghamshire
Fire & Rescue Service (BFRS) plus police and ambulance services
- Collaboration projects underway across three counties with
more to follow
Emergency services across Thames Valley are
working in close collaboration to bring innovation, efficiency, and better
value for money for the people of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire.
Collaboration in the Thames Valley sets out the ambitious
strategy behind the collaboration and explains in detail the type of
cross-county work that is already underway or planned for the near future.
This ongoing programme of collaborative
activity also involves Thames Valley
Police (TVP), and South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), as well as the region’s three fire and rescue services.
does Collaboration look like?
Collaboration takes many forms, including –
- Joint control rooms
- Shared estates and assets
- First response and co-responding
- Information sharing
- Shared specialist capabilities
Many of these elements are already underway
across the emergency services within Thames Valley, with several other
innovative projects planned for the coming months.
Study: Thames Valley Fire Control Service
Thames Valley Fire
Control Service, based in Calcot, Reading, is a joint fire service control
room serving the people of Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire and Berkshire,
helping a combined population of two million people with the help of the most
Since opening in April 2015, the service has
delivered significant savings to all three services. By the end of 2024-25, total
savings of nearly £16 million are expected thanks to the increased efficiency
and improved performance the shared control room allows.
Study: Jointly purchased fire engines
The next generation
of fire engines is now serving in the Thames Valley following a successful
collaborative project run in a partnership between Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire
and Berkshire fire and rescue services.
A total of 37 new fire engines will be
delivered by 2021, with 15 delivered in 2017, eight for Buckinghamshire, three
for Oxfordshire and four for Berkshire. This project will lead to estimated
savings of more than £700,000. The vehicles are based at stations close to the
three services’ shared borders and replace existing vehicles.
Study: Shared premises
Community Fire Station officially opened following a major refurbishment
which began in November 2016. The refurbishment not only delivered a modern,
fit-for-purpose fire station, but also Berkshire’s first community tri-service
station, providing shared facilities for RBFRS, TVP and SCAS.
More recently, the Witness Care Unit from
TVP and Victims First, part of the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner
(OPCC), began sharing office space within the Reading headquarters of RBFRS.
In Oxfordshire, work will start in March
2019 on refurbishments to Chipping Norton and Woodstock Fire Stations, which
will become joint Fire and Police stations serving their communities.
study: Milton Keynes Emergency Services Hub
Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire
Authority is working with SCAS and TVP to move into a new purpose-built ‘hub’
that will see all three services operate from one site, based at West Ashland
in Milton Keynes.
The building will allow the three services
to leave five existing sites in the Milton Keynes area, which will free-up
those sites for alternative use and provide substantial savings to taxpayers
from reduced running costs. The new site should be ready for occupation by
around October 2019.
In Berkshire, there are plans for Theale to
host a new fire station, with facilities provided for both SCAS and TVP on the
premises. Crowthorne will also be rebuilt to house a similar new building, with
work due to commence in 2019.
In Oxfordshire, plans are being finalised
to build the Carterton Community Hub. The temporary Carterton Fire Station was
opened in December 2018, which will move into the Community Hub when it has
been built. The Hub will provide a base for emergency and communities services
in the area and be a resource for the local community.
Chief Fire Officer Simon Jefferies, collaboration lead for RBFRS, said: “The
blue light services of the Thames Valley have a proud tradition of
collaboration and by working together with our emergency services partners we
can ensure that we provide the best value for money for the people we serve.
“This important document outlines the
collaboration that has been going on for a number of years between the three
fire and rescue services and our partners, including the move to a shared
Thames Valley Fire Control Service in 2015.
“The existing willingness to work together,
combined with a new legislative approach will provide structure and a renewed
emphasis for emergency service partners to develop, improve and maintain their
collaborative working arrangements with new and existing partners.”
Swift, BFRS Director of People and Organisational Development, is the
collaboration lead for BFRS. She said: “Working together and sharing
accommodation with other emergency services both increases opportunities for
more partnership work and provides savings for the public.
“We will continue to explore opportunities
to collaborate and where possible share accommodation with other emergency
services to ensure that we provide the best possible service and value for
money to the communities of Thames Valley.”
Chief Fire Officer Rob McDougall, collaboration lead for OFRS, explained: “The
Thames Valley region is a leading example of public sector collaboration which
is not only an effective and efficient way of working, but a moral duty to help
protect the communities we serve. It further embeds shared working practices
and allows us to better align our response to ensure our communities receive an
effective response no matter which side of the county border they live in.”