Stephen Kerr, MP for Stirling, has welcomed figures that show improvements in the crew availability for both the Full time staffed station in Stirling and the stations crewed by RDS ( Retained Duty System) officers that cover the rest of the Stirling Council area.
The average daytime availability (0800 to 1800hrs) from January 1st to May 31st 2019 for RDS stations in the Stirling Council area (Aberfoyle, Balfron, Bridge of Allan, Callander, Doune, Dunblane, Killin and Tyndrum) was 87%. Night time average availability (1800 to 0800hrs) was 93%. The agreed staffing levels for all the RDS stations referred to above is 77. The current staffing level as at 11th July 2019 is 75 leaving only two vacancies between all the RDS stations.
The Full time staffed Stirling Station requires 45 personnel to be available to avoid the need for routine overtime to be worked. There has been at least this level of crewing consistently at the Stirling Station since January 2019. Availability of appliances was at 99.2% for the six months December 2018 – May 2019.
Last year there were serious concerns raised by the MP regarding the availability of the second appliance from the Stirling Station. There were also issues concerning general staffing numbers across stations serving the Stirling area. Overtime was being restricted and there was the need for national recruitment campaigns for both RDS and Full time officers.
The improvement in the figures has been attributed to the success of the recruitment campaign and a more flexible approach to overtime being taken. There is currently a new full time officer recruitment campaign running. The Retained crewed stations have also experienced staff shortages and there are still problems with maintaining availability of crews at all times of the day. The current terms and conditions for Retained Officers do not reflect modern lifestyles and are currently being looked at to make them more flexible.
Stephen Kerr said:-
These figures do show a significant and consistent improvement and that is to be welcomed. The recruitment campaigns have certainly helped and I am pleased that these are ongoing, as well as looking at the way retained officers contracts could be improved. The flexibility available to senior officers to use overtime as needed to ensure cover is in place and appliances are available must be maintained.