18004 – Firefighter vacancies and crewing levels

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A request for information about Firefighter vacancies and crewing levels – 18004

Ref: FOI/18004

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information you requested on 5th January 2018

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

  1. a) The total number of current vacancies for retained (part-time) personnel for your stations.
  2. b) Which position has been advertised for the longest period of time? (Please give in days.)

Reply

West Midlands Fire Service does not have retained fire-fighters

Request

  1. a) The current number of vacancies for full time (wholetime) personnel in your area for stations. Please detail which station.
  2. b) Which position has been advertised for the longest period of time?

Reply

We commenced our ongoing recruitment activity in September 2017.  We currently have 1177 riders and our Firefighter recruitment activity is ongoing and we seek to maintain our establishment of 1220 rider personnel.

Request

On how many occasions, has a fire appliance been unavailable due to insufficient crewing levels? For each occasion, please provide the date, length of time the appliance was unavailable, type of appliance and the station it is based at.

Reply

As part of our integrated risk management plan, we have a blended approach to fleet management using fire appliances, crewed at 4 and 5 riders and smaller brigade support vehicles crewed at 3. If there are 3 riders to crew a fire appliance then it may be used as a brigade support vehicle and attend lesser incidents or support other appliances so will not be unavailable.

There are occasions whereby fire appliances are unavailable due to insufficient crewing levels but information about this is being withheld under Section 38(b) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) related to health and safety.

The reasons that we are withholding this information is because by disclosing this information to you, we would be releasing this information into the public domain as we publish all FOIA requests and responses on our website. We have considered that this information may highlight recurring patterns of unavailability and this information could be used to assist with unlawful activity that may adversely impact our communities.

Section 38 of FOI is a qualified exemption and means that we must consider a public interest test. In this case the safety of communities of the West Midlands outweighs the release of this information into the public domain.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact me.  Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications. If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision please write to The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW

Further information concerning Freedom of Information requests can be found on the Information Commissioner website at either the following link: https://ico.org.uk/ or at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF.

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