Safer Together – Service Delivery Public Consultation

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service works every day with its communities and partners to prevent emergencies and to make people safer in their homes, workplaces and the places they visit.

Its Safer Together programme proposes to change the way it works, to ensure it is responding to current and future risks in Somerset and Devon. As part of the programme, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service will consider:

  • How many of its existing fire stations it still needs due to falling numbers of incidents
  • Refurbishment or rebuilding of fire stations
  • Location and number of different types of fire engines (also called appliances)
  • New types of fire engines
  • New equipment for firefighters
  • Firefighter shift patterns and duty systems
  • Improved digital technology to support it’s work

How Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has already helped reduce the number of fires

In the last 10 years, total fires have reduced by 33% across England. This reduction has largely been due to two things: work around fire prevention and protection, and changes in technology and habits. (Data 2007/08 – 2017/18 from FIRE0102 Government statistical data).

Every year the service carries out about 28,000 hours of prevention activities across Devon and Somerset, including home safety visits, school talks and visiting other groups. It also carries out out checks and audits for non-domestic premises and events – around 18,000 hours a year.

There have been significant changes in both technology and our daily habits which have impacted the number of fires. The smoking ban; changes to furniture and furnishing regulations; and even the introduction of the oven chip meaning we deep-fry less, have all contributed to reducing fire risks inside the home.

To put this into context, 56 of its fire station areas, (including Lundy) have fewer than 10 dwelling fires a year. A dwelling fire is a fire in a domestic property such as house, flats or caravan. (Data is a 5 year average taken from April 14 to March 19 inclusive).

Eight of its fire station areas, (including Lundy) have fewer than 10 fires of all types a year. This could be a minor fire such as a dustbin fire. (Data is a 5 year average taken from April 14 to March 19 inclusive).

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service needs to adapt to our ever-changing population

Not only have our lives and habits changed, our population in Devon and Somerset has changed too. In the past few years we have seen significant new housing developments across our two counties, and these new developments are continuing to grow. This means the service needs to assess where it is located in relation to this change in population size and shape.

Throug risk analysis and profiling, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service also knows that some people will be more at risk of being involved in a fatal fire due to certain factors, and needs to ensure it is able to take steps to reduce the likelihood of these incidents. For example, those aged over 85 years have a much higher rate of fatal fires. In Devon and Somerset, it is predicted that the number of people aged over 85 will nearly double (43% increase) in the next ten years.

This means the service needs to need to take steps to reduce the risk of incidents happening, through its prevention work. As part of the Safer Together proposed changes it will be looking to prioritise and increase capacity to deliver targeted prevention and protection activities in our communities.

The service has been analysing its own data as well as data from partners. This new intelligence helps it match its resources – crews, equipment and fleet – to specific risks in each of our communities. It also means the service could increase its capacity for important prevention and protection work activity within its annual budget.

Service delivery public consultation – open now until 22 September 2019

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has recently launched its Safer Together Service Delivery public consultation. Have your say on the future of its services by attending one of its consultation events, or completing the online consultation survey. You can find out more here.

Questions or feedback about Safer Together? Get in touch at

Supporting LGBT+ Communities in Somerset

The Somerset Equality Officers Group and the Diversity Trust are currently working on identifying what support services need to be developed for the LGBT+ community in Somerset.

They recently held a consultation event to engage with the LGBT+ community on it’s proposals and give attendees the opportunity to provide feedback. The proposals included:

  • The provision of a community venue for LGBT+ organisations to use
  • A Community Development Worker to engage with, and build connections within the LGBT+ community
  • Training for schools, GO surgeries, businesses and public sector organisations to help demystify transgender
  • A Community Engagement Officer to work with existing LGBT communities and improve the voice of the LGBT community within the public sector and wider community

You can read the proposals and a summary of the feedback from the event here.

The LGA green paper for adult social care and wellbeing – share your views

The VCSE sector is being encouraged to respond t0 The Lives we Want to Lead, the Local Government Association’s (LGA) green paper for adult social care and wellbeing.

The green green paper is only a starting point, the LGA wants to to build momentum for a debate across the country about how to fund the care we want to see in all our communities for adults of all ages, and how our wider care and health system can be better geared towards supporting and improving people’s wellbeing.

The green paper poses a series of consultation questions and the VCSE sector is invited to share its views. Click here to complete the consultation before Wednesday 26th September.

Shaping the future models for Support in Sheltered Housing in Somerset

Somerset County Council’s contracts for Support in Sheltered Housing schemes is due to end in October 2018. In April, a consultation will be launched to explore the different ways in which the Council could provide these services in future.

The current service
Currently the County Council partially funds Sheltered Housing Providers to help tenants to manage their day to day requirements. This can include assisting with correspondence; helping to pay bills or manage the household budget. They also help to arrange appointments and help to plan shopping or meals. Some people don’t need this support on a regular basis, but may benefit from a visit to check all is well and to see if any help is needed.

The current contract covers about 3,500 sheltered housing tenants in Somerset. However, a much larger number of people have similar needs, but don’t get any support because they own their own homes or live in other types of housing. As funding from the Government is being reduced, the County Council are working to find new ways to provide these services and to make sure they are fair, affordable and available to all eligible people living in Somerset.

Involving and consulting others
The County Council has already started to change the way in which it can help people through “Community Connect”. This has introduced a new way of working, which is being adopted by community, health and social care organisations in Somerset to improve wellbeing, whilst allowing people to continue to live independent lives. This is done by having conversations to understand what people want to achieve to live a good life in their local community, and residents are then given help and guidance in order to achieve this.

The County Council is now in the process of working with housing providers and stakeholders to develop potential ideas for the future model. They will also seek views from both service users and non-service users on what options they would prefer, and will invite suggestions for alternative models. This will then be followed with a consultation in April, asking respondents for their preferred option. The consultation will include a number of drop-in events and workshops, as well survey packs and an online surveys.

Involvement and consultation is a necessary and valuable part of changing, modernising and reviewing how these services are delivered, and no decisions have been made. The consultation will provide the opportunity for service users and partners to feedback on the proposals, and no decisions will be made until the results of the consultation are fully analysed.

The consultation exercise is being undertaken in order to provide existing and potential users of the service, and other stakeholders, the opportunity to have a meaningful input into the development of future commissioning intentions.

For future updates and details on how you can have your say, please contact the Support in Sheltered Housing Project Team. Email or 01823 359161.