Cleveland Fire bosses say they are “good value for money”

Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton
Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton

FIRE chiefs say the senior management restructure has helped save £1.8m and say the current team represents “good value for money”.

Ian Hayton, chief fire officer, said: “Senior managers in Cleveland Fire Brigade have not received a cost of living pay rise during the current public sector pay restraint period.

“In 2011-12 the brigade undertook a fundamental review of its managerial structure establishing savings of £1.85m. Following that review the fire authority undertook a job evaluation exercise to establish the appropriate salary bands for all affected staff.

“This was undertaken independently by the North East Regional Employers Organisation, and was applied across the whole organisation.”

In that review, a director post was removed and the following changes were made to the salaries of the remaining directors as a result of increased responsibility:

l Director of community protection from £93,058 to £95,000;

l Director of technical services from £87,883 to £95,000;

l Director of corporate services from £82,705 to £95,000;

l Director of business development from £80,119 to £85,000;

l Director of human resources from £78,992 to £0 (post removed).

Mr Hayton added: “Overall implementation realised a reduction in budget of £52,757 in senior post expenditure and contributed to the overall savings as well as being the first cut to be implemented.

“Cleveland Fire Brigade senior management team remains one of the smallest and lowest costing in the UK Fire and Rescue Service.”

Fire chiefs say any discrepancy between the numbers published in the statement of accounts for 2012-13 is as a result of back pay, which was paid to all staff identified as having increased responsibility levels, from the point those responsibilities commenced to the end of the financial year.

Hartlepool Labour councillor Robbie Payne, who is chairman of Cleveland Fire Authority, said: “The pay rises were as a result of the job evaluation process which all staff went through and some went up, some went down, and some stayed the same.

“The senior management team have not had a cost of living rise.

“We have one of the smallest senior management teams in the country and we believe, as a fire authority, that we are getting very good value for money.”

Coun Payne added the team also manage the Cleveland Risk Management service at no additional cost to the authority.

But Davy Howe, brigade secretary for Cleveland branch of the FBU, said: “The FBU nationally has raised concerns about the level of salary for senior officers compared to firefighters.

“The average wage for a firefighter is about £29,000 a year and those are the people that the public see day-to-day putting their lives at risk.

“Nationally it is a concern, but locally members in Cleveland are also very angry, especially after a three-year pay freeze and the fact they only got a one per cent rise this year.”

Mr Howe said firefighters are worse off than four years ago due to the rising cost of living and paying more into pensions.

He added: “If the fire authority are willing to pay these percentage rises for senior officers then firefighters are going to get more and more angry.”