Health___Safety_newsletter_Jan_2013.doc - No 65 January...

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No 65January 2013Contents1.Fire safety2.Drug and alcohol policies3.Legionella risk4.Majority of workers still unhappy5.Lithium-ion battery problems6.Employees refusing to take sick days7.Government response to Black report on absence1) Fire safetya)A privatisation to further undermine workplace safety?A major “outsourcing” multinational, Capita, has been selected as the preferred bidder for the purchase of the Fire Service College. The college is the main training centre for fire service managers and technical experts and has a international reputation; and you may remember we reported that their in-house fire station caught fire a couple of years ago and destroyed a number of fire engines and appliances! Seems to be good news all round, as the quotes from the junior minister and Chief Fire Officers Association both show The junior minister responsible for fire services said he was happy that the proposed sale of the college to Capita would achieve value for money for the publicpurse and secure the future of the college. He was “delighted that we are making real progress in securing the future of such an important facility. It is vital for the development of the Fire Service College that we put it on a sound footing, giving the private sector a chance to provide innovation and investment that will guarantee the future of a world-class asset.”The Chief Fire Officers Association spokesperson, who you might imagine would show more caution and concern, said they were pleased with the outcome, which they hoped would secure the long term future of a world class facility for the fire and rescue service. “There is now a tangible opportunity for Capita to make real progress in providing innovation and investment.” So how come the public sector that established and ran the College for so many years has suddenly failed?A number of conditions will be set on the sale. These include commitments that:the college is preserved as a national training centre for fire and rescue authorities (What else might Capita do with it?) the college will continue to offer wider national resilience and emergency services training and exercises (Surely that’s the whole purpose of the fire service college?) government permission will be required if Capita wish to sell the incident ground (Under what circumstances would Capita wish to do that – it would conflict with condition 2 above)
Capita have taken hundreds of millions of public money for the provision of servicespreviously undertaken by public sector workers and their many failures have been regularly reported in Private Eye. Their latest fiasco reported early in January concerns the Immigration Service contract they have just been awarded. For more information see Can an organisation that gets it wrong so often be trusted to deliver effective management of the fire service college and maintain the appropriate standards?

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