Plan to share role of fire brigade chief

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SOUTH Yorkshire’s fire service could share its top brass with a neighbouring brigade – in a move aimed at saving cash following the Government’s funding cuts.

The county’s Fire Authority, which oversees the way South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is run and funded, is considering reducing management costs by sharing the cost of employing a new Chief Fire Officer with neighbouring Humberside.

Both services are without overall bosses after their Chief Fire Officers both retired in April. Instead of each employing different replacements, they are considering making the role shared to save cash. Both brigades have to make combined savings of £16 million over the next four years in the wake of the Government’s public sector spending cuts. They have both announced redundancies but are looking at a range of measures they could take to make ends meet.

Councillor Jim Andrews, chairman of South Yorkshire Fire Authority, said: “The vacant position of Chief Fire Officer does present an opportunity for the Authority to look at all viable options as to the future management structure of the fire service.

“Members are currently reviewing these options and we will look to make a decision in the near future.

“However, we have absolute confidence the newly appointed Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Jamie Courtney, can successfully lead the service in the interim period until an announcement is made.”