The emergency services continue to be battered by austerity measures. Our emergency service staff have had such a squeeze put on them over the last 10 years, that we now have 20,000 fewer police officers and 11,000 fewer firefighters. With crime rates increasing in most parts of the country and an aging population, this is leading to more demand from communities across the Police, Fire and Ambulance services.
Some of the challenges the emergency services are working towards overcoming are:
- Improved Strategic Partnerships. Enhancing and improving joint-working between Police, Fire and Ambulance services including PCCs and NHS ambulance foundation trusts
- Meeting and Controlling Demand. Increasing demands on care in the community and facilitating cross-emergency services, in the face of continuing to cut costs
- Effective Supplier Relationships. Working more closely with suppliers to innovate services to do more with less, save money and direct those savings to supporting front line services
- Local Authority Collaboration. Working more closely with local authorities to increase community prevention services.
- Getting and Keeping the Right Staff. Attracting the right staff to help support cross-emergency service and local authority collaboration to anticipate issues arising.
- Advances in Supporting Technologies. The emergency services now have many options to improve effectiveness and cross-service working with new IT and technological innovations that facilitate cross-service operating procedures. These include the options for integrated control rooms for handling emergency calls and moves to digital self service for many of these services. In addition, strategic service partners in outsourcing services or providing shared services (whether public or private sector providers) are improving their approach to be more flexible and increasing the innovation quotient to improve external service delivery to help the emergency services deal with these challenges.