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Humberside is leading the way for collaborative working after a successful partnership between Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) and Humberside Police was launched in April 2015.

The merger of both vehicle and equipment facilities has not only achieved annual savings of £300,000 but it has brought together the skills, knowledge and experience of staff to form one specialist team who now deliver fleet management and engineering technical support to both the police and fire service.

Previously, these services were offered from six separate sites across the Humberside area but now Emergency Services Fleet Management Limited (ESFM) operates from a single new state of the art facility located in Melton, East Yorkshire.

Kevin Wilson, Executive Director of Service Support at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The new partnership has already proved to be a huge success. By bringing the specialist skill sets together, we now have the expertise to deliver a complete service, without reliance on a third party, which provides a more robust service to both agencies and has also enabled us to make significant savings.”

ESFM is its own company, which is jointly owned and operated by both agencies. Membership of the company is shared between Humberside Fire and Rescue Services’ Chief Fire Officer and Chair of the Fire Authority and the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable from Humberside Police, with a board of directors. The new energy efficient facility has almost 40 employees and is responsible for around 800 vehicles and around 2500 operational equipment items.

The core business and focus of the company is to support the operational fleet and associated equipment of the police and fire service. To achieve this in the most efficient way, key service delivery options were developed to draw upon a range of partners to support areas of work beneath the operational front-line priority. These new ways of working include a partnership with West Yorkshire Police for vehicle role conversion work. This allows the company to pay for role conversions at cost when they are required, and not to carry staffing cost when they are not.

Much of the new equipment has contributed to a reduction in the time spent working on vehicles, this includes a computerised four wheel laser alignment system. Due to the often robust nature that they are used, emergency service vehicles regularly require the alignment of the vehicles to be checked, this new system saves the cost and time of using a contactor which means vehicles can be returned to operational service much quicker.

Phil Goatley, Humberside Police Assistant Chief Officer said: “There are real benefits for Humberside Police and the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service as partners in this new venture. Of course the Police and Crime Commissioner and Humberside Fire Authority are also essential partners with us. As far as we know this is the first established collaboration across police and fire vehicle fleet management and maintenance services in the country. Certainly we have had a lot of interest from other police forces and fire services in what we have delivered since we went live.

“We have been able to bring together the talented specialists we had in both organisations as a single team which is delivering key operational support services that are high quality, more timely and more cost effective. Through our new central facility at Melton we are delivering significant improvements in workshop capability and providing a safer, better equipped environment for vehicle maintenance. We are all convinced that savings we have made could not have been achieved in the Force or the Fire Service if we had not come together.

“We believe that this is a ground-breaking example of partnership working in blue light services and indeed wider given that the local unitary authorities are also involved in providing routine maintenance, triage and MOT services to us through their vehicle maintenance workshops. With the Government announcing their intention to promote through legislation joint working across blue light services, we hope that this new service and partnership is a foundation on which we can build in the future.”