- 31 Aug 2016
The core staffing within HM Fire Service Inspectorate in Scotland is one Chief Inspector, three Assistant Inspectors, and two administration support staff. The Inspectorate’s policy is to supplement that team through short term secondment of a maximum of two staff at any one time from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, from other UK fire and rescue services or from other organisations. The purpose is to allow for additional capacity within the Inspectorate at times of peak workloads. It is also hoped that seconded staff will benefit from the secondment period in terms of personal development.
By agreement with the SFRS, the Inspectorate maintains a small bank of people who have registered an interest in short term secondment. The secondments are normally for a four to six month period which is aligned to the Inspectorate’s planned workload. It is not our intention to second the same people or person on a number of occasions, however, this policy does not preclude that from happening as long as any individual’s cumulative total secondment period does not exceed 24 months.
Secondment opportunities are open to fire and rescue service staff regardless of conditions of service. Staff at Group and Area Manager level or equivalent are eligible to apply. Before applying, applicants will have to have their Chief Officer’s agreement that they could be released.
Staff are normally seconded on their existing terms and conditions. Aligning a salary level to its Civil Service equivalent may allow an additional responsibility payment to be made as an incentive for the secondment. However, this will be dependent on specific circumstances and cannot be guaranteed.
Applications to join the secondment bank are advertised throughout the UK FRSs and a simple selection process involving an informal interview with the Chief Inspector is used to accept people into the bank.
In relation to secondments from the SFRS, the Chief Inspector and the Chief Officer are conscious that secondments might expose staff to a conflict of interest during their secondment period or on return to the Service. To counter that risk, the role of the seconded person is limited to fact finding and data gathering and the Chief Inspector takes sole responsibility for the conclusions or comments made in a given report. At the beginning of any secondment, this issue is discussed with staff and the Chief Inspector may raise a particular issue with the Head of Human Resource and Organisational Development at any time. In addition, a routine debrief will take place at the end of each secondment which, amongst other things, consider whether there are concerns over reintegration into the Service.
This policy is, amongst other things, an agreement between the Inspectorate and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and can be varied at any time.