OPINION

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a stretched fire service

It would be irresponsible for us to suggest that the fire service was putting lives at risk by its latest cost-cutting decision. We would not go that far, especially as we are not privy to the data and analysis the management have which has led them to decide to staff one of its two new flagship fire stations part-time and the other on reduced hours. But many people will question the logic behind such a sizeable investment, quickly followed by an inability to provide the staffing levels previously anticipated. The difficult budget the fire service is working within means that it has to find £12m in savings by 2017. It is clearly running out of options as it tries to preserve its new strategic plan of operation. The number of fire incidents has reduced as houses become safer and it is possible to plan manning levels around past experience. But it is the exception to that experience that could prove costly if there is not the level of manning in place.

keeping us up to date

The resurfacing of Sheffield’s roads by the Streets Ahead project run by Amey is beginning to gather momentum with pledges by the company that it will increase its rate of road completions. One thing it needs to concentrate on is reliability of its timetabling. Its website and communication to residents outlines when work is scheduled to begin, but often the timetable stretches – leading to a perception that nothing is happening. That, of course, is far from the truth. But good communication is key to the continued success of such a major project happening with the minimum of disruption and inconvenience.

gap closing

Sheffield’s schools are near to having closed the gap with the national average with their GCSE results. That is the product of a lot of committed hard work between the council and schools to focus on performance, bucking the national trend for pass rates.