Minutes of Meeting of The Highland and Islands Fire Board held in the Council Chamber, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Sandwick Road, Stornoway on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 at 9.30 a.m.
Representing the Highland Council:
Mr D Mackay, Mrs I Campbell, Dr A Sinclair, Ms M Smith, Mr R Durham, Mrs M Paterson, Mr E Hunter, Mrs H Carmichael, Mrs P Munro, Mrs E McAllister (Substitute), Mr D Henderson, Mr J Ford, Mrs G Sinclair (Substitute), Mr D Fallows, Mr B Murphy (Substitute)
Representing Comhairle nan Eilean Siar:
Mr N M Macleod, Mr P Carlin, Mr C Nicolson, Mr I MacKenzie
Representing Orkney Islands Council:
Mr A Drever, Mr B Leslie
Representing Shetland Islands Council:
Mr A Duncan, Mr A Cooper
Officials in attendance:
Mr D Wynne, Chief Fire Officer
Mr T Johnson, Deputy Chief Fire Officer
Mr M Holme, Assistant Chief Fire Officer
Mr M Jenks, Head of Corporate Services, Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service (HIFRS)
Mr D Robertson, Treasurer’s Office
Ms M Morris, Clerk
Mrs R Moir, Assistant Clerk
Also in attendance:
Mr F Ewing MSP, Minister for Community Safety
Mr R Skey, Resilience Unit, Scottish Government
Mr R Durham in the Chair
1. Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Mrs L Munro, Mr D Flear, Mr J Gray and Mr R Balfour, the Highland Council.
2. Presentation – Outlook for Scottish Government Expenditure
Mr Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Community Safety, and Mr Robert Skey, Resilience Unit, Scottish Government, gave a presentation on the Outlook for Scottish Government Expenditure. The Minister explained that he considered it important to share with fire and rescue authorities/Joint Boards information already discussed with the Scottish Fire Conveners Forum (SFCF) and the Chief Fire Officers Association Scotland (CFOAS), and to emphasise the need for all interests within the fire and rescue arena to share responsibility for taking forward service delivery in the challenging times ahead.
Mr Skey presented a series of graphs illustrating UK public finance projections for the period to 2015/16 and the associated anticipated consequences for Scottish Government expenditure. Overall, six years of real decline were forecast, with the steepest decline “front loaded” in 2011/12. Even after this six year period, it was likely that there would be a continuing sense of contraction, with the economy improving at a slow rate only and not reaching 2009/10 levels again until around 2025/26. Current difficulties should not therefore be seen as a short-term blip and significant measures would be required to address the situation. It was clear that identifying and tackling efficiency savings would not be enough. New thinking was required, with all options on service delivery open for consideration.
In response to Member questions, the Minister advised that the projections had been prepared on a non-political basis and were independent, impartial best estimates. The position could change according to the overall performance of the economy and could indeed worsen if that performance was poorer than currently forecast. Whilst recognising the particular circumstances of geography and sparsity facing this Board, and the different management issues involved in operating a largely retained service, the Minister could not give any assurances on additional resources being available to address these issues. At the same time, he emphasised the recognition that had been given nationally to the need for capital resource to upgrade the retained estate in the Highlands and Islands.
On the likelihood of structural reform and the creation of a single Service/authority for Scotland, the Minister emphasised that discussions were ongoing on the future delivery model and suggested that, whilst it was important to recognise the importance of retaining a local voice, no proposals could be excluded at this stage. Referencing the discussion to be held at item 8(i) below, the Convener and Chief Fire Officer confirmed that discussions on all potential options were ongoing between SFCF, CFOAS and CoSLA. Efforts were being made, in the context of the National Spending Review, to develop a joint strategy across Scotland on a consistent approach to addressing the financial pressures being faced. The potential impact of any increase in fire requisitions on constrained constituent authority budgets and the need for a balanced approach was also recognised.
During discussion, attention was drawn to suggestions, led by the Highland Council in particular, that consideration be given to a single co-ordinated “blue light” emergency service structure within the Highlands and Islands, to address particular local delivery needs and also ensure the retention of quality employment opportunities in the area. General support was expressed for the Convener to engage on behalf of the Board in any debate along these lines.
After discussion, the Convener having thanked the Minister for his attendance, the Board NOTED the presentation and information provided.
Members NOTED that Retained Fire Fighter Nikki Hercher, who had received the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation at the Board’s meeting on 29 January 2010 and, as intimated a the Board’s meeting on 23 April, had since also received the Brave @ Heart award, was now also to receive a Royal Humane Society award.
The Board AGREED to send a letter of congratulations to Ms Hercher.
Members also NOTED that the Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service second annual “Commitment to Excellence” awards event had taken place in Inverness Town House on 9 July 2010, with the participation of the Minister for Community Safety and the Provost of Inverness.
4. Board Membership Update
The Board NOTED that Highland Council had appointed Mr B Clark as a Substitute Member of the Board replacing Ms J Douglas.
5. Minutes of Meeting of 23 April 2010
The Minutes of Meeting of 23 April 2010, copies of which had been circulated, were found correct and APPROVED.
Arising from the Minutes, the Board NOTED that Mr A Duncan was standing down from membership of the Best Value and Audit Working Group, of which both he and Mr A Cooper had both been members since the merging of the former Policy & Finance and Audit Working Groups, and AGREED:
i. that the Chief Fire Officer bring a report on Health and Safety issues to a
future meeting; and
ii. that Mrs P Munro be appointed to the Service Improvement Working Group
to replace Mrs H Carmichael, the latter having intimated that, due to the
pressure of other commitments, she wished to stand down from
membership of this Group.
6. Strategic Scrutiny Review - Finance
There had been circulated Report No. fire-27-10 dated 26 August 2010 by the Chief Fire Officer on the powers, duties and responsibilities of Board Members in relation to the successful management of the Service.
The Service’s Head of Corporate Services made a presentation to the Board outlining the relevant legislative, professional and governance framework and drawing attention to the Board’s duties and responsibilities, in particular:
• the need to examine the efficient use of resources within the context of
• the need to seek continuous improvement whilst balancing quality and cost
• the need to approve changes to the Service’s Internal Financial Controls
• the need for a longer term approach to financial planning.
The presentation also outlined the external and local scrutiny reporting arrangements in place, together with various elements of the financial framework within which the Board and Service operated, including a brief summary of past and current revenue and capital headline statistics.
In response to a question on the Board’s Revenue Reserves Strategy, the Head of Corporate Services confirmed that currently the Board was restricted to a maximum 5% carry forward to reserves, but was working with others to try to have this threshold raised. There were some indications that the Scottish Government might support a one-off rise to 7% at the end of the current financial year, to assist in managing the anticipated sharp revenue decline in 2011/12, flagged at item 2 above. It was also expected that capital would reduce significantly in 2011/12, although it was hoped that this authority would continue to be successful in accessing some level of top slice funding, in addition to its formula allocation, from what would be a reduced overall pot.
In response to further questions, it was confirmed that:
• the Service drew on the professional procurement services available within the Highland Council, as well as the framework arrangements available to fire and rescue authorities/joint boards nationally
• opportunities for income generation were kept under review
• although still administered locally, firefighter pensions were now funded centrally by Scottish Government.
After discussion, the Board NOTED:
i. the content of the presentation defining the powers, duties and
responsibilities of the Fire Board under the 2005 Fire (Scotland) Act and
other related legislation; and
ii. the scrutiny arrangements set out in the Financial Framework for the Board
to meet its obligations and to discharge its duties.
The Board also AGREED that the following elements of the Financial Framework be scrutinised in more detail:
• the Board’s Spending Review strategy
• the Board’s efficiency programme
• future capital funding set against the Asset Management Plan
• levels of delegation in financial matters.
7. Minutes of Best Value and Audit Working Group 2 July and 20 August 2010
There had been circulated and were APPROVED Minutes of Meetings of the Best Value and Audit Working Group held on 2 July 2010 and 20 August 2010.
Following discussion as at item 8 below, the Board APPROVED the following recommendations of the Working Group:
i. to support the position take by the Scottish Fire Conveners Forum that the
Fire and Rescue Service take forward the issues relating to the Strategic
Spending Review, as set out in the Minutes, as part of the Local
ii. to support the national strategic approach being taken by the Conveners
and Chief Fire Officers in this regard; and
iii. that the Board approve the options being explored for further local
efficiencies, as set out in the Minutes.
8. Matters Arising
i. Spending Review Preparations Update
There had been circulated Report No. fire-28-10 dated 25 August 2010 by the Chief Fire Officer on the National Spending Review Project approach adopted by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as part of its collective preparations for the forthcoming Spending Review 2011/14. There had also been re-circulated, as Appendices 1 and 2 respectively to that report, Reports Nos. BVA7/10 on the Spending Review and BVA 8/10 providing an update on efficiencies, both reports having previously been considered by the Best Value and Audit Working Group at its meeting on 20 August 2010.
Members were advised that the National Spending Review Project reported to the Fire Conveners’ Forum through the Chief Fire Officers Association Scotland lead officer arrangements. At their meeting on 13 August 2010, Fire Conveners had agreed to support a National Strategy Programme, reflecting the agreed collective approach, and had also agreed that this should be presented to each Fire Board/Authority for formal adoption. The circulated report reflected the agreed approach, for the Board’s formal consideration.
During discussion, attention was drawn to the potential for the proposed Shetland carbonaceous training unit to be made available to other organisations and thus generate income; further information on this was requested when available. Further clarification was also given on various efficiency savings proposals set out in Appendix 2.
After discussion, the Board AGREED:
i. to adopt the National Strategy (Fire Spending Review) outlined in Appendix
1 to the circulated report; and
ii. to support the actions to be taken and considered as part of the efficiencies
plan outlined in Appendix 2 to the circulated report, in preparation for the
2011/12 budgetary process.
ii. Automatic Fire Alarms
There had been circulated Report No. fire-29-10 dated 26 August 2010 by the Chief Fire Officer highlighting the increasing number of automated false fire alarms attended by the Service and their impact on the Service’s resource.
During discussion, Members commented on the need to raise public awareness of the fact that only some 1% of automatic fire alarm calls resulted from a genuine fire incident and of the level of wasted resources in attending such calls. On balance, the risk of non-attendance at automatic alarms was offset by the opportunity to use the resources expended on attending false alarm calls towards maintaining staffing levels. Members also commented on the need for premises owners to have adequate insurance and to ensure proper maintenance of their systems, to try to minimise the number of automatic calls.
After discussion, the Board NOTED the content of the report and the need to improve public awareness of the very high level of false alarms generated by automatic fire alarms and the associated costs, and AGREED:
i. to support the ongoing discussions with stakeholders on the policy of future
attendance at automated fire alarms and
ii. that a further report on these issues be brought to the Board, to include
consideration of risk assessment and financial efficiencies issues.
9. Unaudited Statement of Accounts 2009/10
Members were advised that the Unaudited Statement of Accounts for 2009/10, which had been presented to Audit Scotland by the prescribed date of 30 June 2010, was available for information on the Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service website and by clicking here. Members were also advised that the audited accounts and the External Auditor’s Report would be considered by the Best Value and Audit Working Group later in the year.
The Board NOTED the position.
10. Revenue Expenditure 2010/11 Monitoring Statement
There had been circulated Report No. fire-30-10 dated 26 August 2010 by the Chief Fire Officer setting out the current position of the Revenue Monitoring Statement for the period to 31 July 2010 and the predicted year-end out-turn.
The Board NOTED:
i. the report;
ii. a typographical error in the estimated out-turn figure, which should have
read £22,341,000; and
iii. that some assessments of the rateable value of Board properties would be
The Board adjourned for lunch at 12.05 p.m. and reconvened at 1.05 p.m.
11. Capital Expenditure 2010/11 Monitoring Report
There had been circulated Report No fire-31-10 dated 26 August 2010 by the Chief Fire Officer summarising expenditure and income relating to the Board’s capital programme recorded in the ledger as at 31 July 2010.
The Board NOTED the content of the report and APPROVED the proposed virements between capital projects.
12. Strategic Scrutiny Review - Service Delivery
There had been circulated Report No. fire-32-10 dated 25 August 2010 by the Chief Fire Officer advising the Board of its powers, duties, roles and responsibilities in relation to the successful management of the Service.
The Deputy Chief Fire Officer gave a presentation on the powers and duties placed on the Board in respect of its Service Delivery function and the importance of these in ensuring the safety of communities within the Highlands and Islands. The presentation outlined key policy areas that had been developed, including arrangements for the effective management of Service delivery, encompassing Community Risk Management strategies as well as the provision of an effective emergency response capacity. In so doing, the presentation highlighted the relevant legislative and guidance provisions applicable and examined the risk management framework in terms of strategies/measures for prevention (e.g. community fire safety), protection (e.g. fire safety audits) and intervention (e.g. emergency response).
The presentation drew attention to the proposed restructuring of the Service into three operational areas, which would reinforce management support to stations, and outlined three major strategic influences: Integrated Risk Management Planning (IRMP), National Resilience and Operational Assurance (the “Safe Person” concept). The presentation concluded by summarising the principal service delivery objectives:
• driving down deaths and injuries
• community safety
• maintaining emergency response capacity
• firefighter safety
• maintaining resilience
• national response capability
• reaching those most vulnerable in society
• partnership working.
During discussion, it was acknowledged that it was difficult to evidence/evaluate the impact of prevention measures on bringing down the number of fire incidents. In response to questions, it was confirmed that:
• the cost of domestic sprinklers had risen since private sector contractors had
been given responsibility for installation
• all Services contributed to the cost of Scottish-wide fire safety advertising
• the Service provided fire safety advice to social housing providers.
After discussion, the Board NOTED:
i. the content of the presentation defining the powers, duties and
responsibilities of the Fire Board under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and
other related legislation; and
ii. the resourcing arrangements and strategic plans which set out the Service’s
approach to delivering the current and future Service Delivery function,
necessary for the Board to meet its obligations and to discharge its duties.
The Board also AGREED that:
i. each future Board report include a paragraph, as applicable, setting out its
financial implications and implications for service delivery, risk and/or efficiency; and
ii. the following elements of Service Delivery be scrutinised in more detail:
• the Draft Community Safety Plan
• matters arising from the Scotland Together report (including the progression
of domestic suppression system provision).
13. Minutes of Service Improvement Working Group 2 July and 20 August 2010
There had been circulated Minutes of Meetings of the Service Improvement Working Group held on 2 July 2010 and 20 August 2010.
Following discussion as at item 14 below, the Board APPROVED the Minutes and thus, with minor amendments, the proposed multi-layer strategy presented to the August meeting of the Working Group, which had sought to balance community risk with the Board’s duty of care risk, while recognising viability, sustainability and affordability interests.
14. Matters Arising
i. Service Improvement and Efficiencies
There had been circulated Report No. fire-33-10 dated 25 August 2010 by the Chief Fire Officer advising on progress made against the series of priority areas identified by the Board’s Appointments Sub-Committee in December 2009 which they had wished the Chief Fire Officer to address over the subsequent 12 months. The Chief Fire Officer had also agreed to provide the Sub-Committee and Board with an Improvement Plan at the earliest opportunity, setting out the actions taken or needing to be taken, to address priority areas. Updates had been provided to the Appointments Sub-Committee in April 2010 and to the Service Improvement Working Group at its meetings in July and August 2010 (Minutes at item 13 above refer).
The report provided Members with the outline details of these actions and the timescales for their full implementation. The Chief Fire Officer made a presentation to Members providing further detail on achievements and progress on the key areas of activity. He summarised the original priority areas as having been:
• re-establish employee and industrial relations arrangements
• secure management stability
• provide management leadership
• prepare for Best Value Audit and Spending Review challenges
• secure long-term sustainability (IRMP) arrangements
He outlined the various internal challenges he had identified:
• need for strategic cohesion across Service functions
• need to secure modern policy positions in some key areas
• need to enhance senior management experience
• need to improve support arrangements for district and front line services
• need to identify local efficiencies plan for 2011/12 and 2012/13 to reflect
Spending Review challenges
He also summarised the Improvement Plan drawn up in April 2010 to address these issues and the progress to date. He highlighted in particular the appointment of a short-term Service Improvement Team and the development of a revised management structure, in terms of both senior management and district management arrangements. Under the new senior management alignment, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer would have management responsibility for the service delivery function, with the Assistant Chief Fire Officer responsible for Service Support functions.
The new district arrangements saw the reorganisation of the Service into four operational areas: Orkney and Shetland; Caithness, Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty; Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey and Western Isles; and Lochaber and Skye & Lochalsh. New district management structures were being put in place to support this arrangement, involving a move to four larger district teams and, by flattening the previous management structure, an eventual increase of 16 posts within these teams. Effectively, a management tier was being removed to permit an increase in numbers at a lower tier. These reforms would increase flexibility, assist equalisation of workloads across districts, strengthen relationships between Policy Teams at Headquarters and Delivery Teams, and give each team the capacity to deliver all key functions. They would also achieve the removal of a number of underutilised non-uniform posts and, overall, an anticipated reduction in management costs of £170,000 per annum.
During discussion, Members were assured that these arrangements were designed to secure greater flexibility throughout the Service area and should not lead to the disadvantaging of any location, including Inverness. The increased management support for retained stations was welcomed. Members were assured that, in moving towards the new district management teams, every effort would be made to avoid redundancies among those holding management posts under the existing structures; rather, reliance would be placed as far as possible on natural developments such as retirements. However, any future issues arising would, if necessary, be brought to the Board.
In response to a question on the Board’s capacity to replace existing equipment – alongside its known upgrade requirements – the Chief Fire Officer advised that an Asset Management Strategy would be presented to the next meeting of the Board. In response to a question on service provision and management support in Shetland, the Chief Fire Officer reiterated his professional view that his proposed reforms would provide a sustainable arrangement.
After discussion, the Board APPROVED for its interest the Improvement Plan that had been developed with the support of the Members of the Appointments Sub-Committee and of the Service Improvement Working Group to address the Board's priority concerns; AGREED to HOMOLOGATE the early steps towards a revised management structure; and NOTED the progress made to date on key actions and activities.
ii. IRMP Risk Review Phase II Update
There had been circulated Report No. fire-34-10 dated 25 August 2010 by the Chief Fire Officer presenting recommendations appertaining to the second phase of the Risk Review agreed by the Board on 10 September 2009. The recommendations were based on the progress made by each of the individual stations, considered against previously defined criteria, with specific proposals accordingly set out in relation to Flotta, Foula, Torridon, Glenuig, Minginish, Hamnavoe, Strathconon, Struan, Eigg, Muck and Papa Stour.
During discussion, Members acknowledged the efforts made by staff to encourage recruitment to all the stations in question, with, however, varying degrees of success. The comment was made that the forthcoming provision of improved training facilities in Shetland might assist recruitment to the affected stations there.
After discussion, the Board APPROVED the recommendations as detailed in the report, as proposed by the Service Improvement Working Group.
15. Public Performance Report 2009/10
There had been circulated Report No. fire-35-10 dated 25 August 2010 by the Chief Fire Officer referring to the draft Public Performance Report for the financial year 2009/10, copies of which had also been circulated.
The Board APPROVED the Annual Performance Report.
16. Quarterly Performance Report 2010/11
There had been circulated Report No. fire-36-10 dated 25 August 2010 by the Chief Fire Officer on Service performance for the period 1 April to 30 June 2010, together with copies of Quarter 1 reports for each Constituent Authority area, in addition to an overview report for the whole Board area. Members were advised that the overview report only would be brought to future meetings and that the individual Authority reports would be circulated separately to the Members representing those authorities.
During discussion, Members welcomed the new reporting format and level of detail provided, which would significantly improve Members’ capacity to scrutinise Service performance.
The Board NOTED the position.
17. Measuring the Impact of Occupational Health Screening within
Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service
There had been circulated Report No. fire-37-10 dated 26 August 2010 by the Chief Fire Officer relating to issues raised by the retrospective introduction of an Occupational Health Service to former auxiliary stations and setting out improvements for the future delivery of Occupational Health Services.
The report highlighted the obligations on the Service to ensure its firefighters were in a suitable physical condition to undertake the demanding physical tasks they could face in carrying out their duties. It also pointed out that the 2005 upgrade of many stations from auxiliary (volunteer) to retained status had resulted in a significant number of firefighters, who had not previously been subjected to the medical screening programme used for either Wholetime or Retained entrants to the Service, now being required to undergo medical assessments at regular intervals during their service and to meet national medical standards.
The Service was rolling out a health screening programme which had identified a number of concerns, most of which could be addressed. A number of staff, however, had possible long term health and fitness issues. The report acknowledged the difficulties that could arise from this, particularly in small communities where there might in any case be sustainability issues surrounding capacity to recruit and maintain sufficient numbers. The report went on to outline a range of short, medium and long-term management actions being considered to address the position, including examining ways in which staff in remote rural and island communities not meeting the required UK standards for full operational duties might be permitted to undertake specific limited duties within the local team structure, taking into account the local capacity and risk profile.
During discussion, Members expressed general support for the more flexible approach being explored. As a practical consideration, they urged that a mechanism be found whereby the required health screening could be carried out at a more local level, to minimise travelling and disruption for part-time retained staff. The importance of firefighters being fully aware of their own fitness responsibilities was also highlighted.
After discussion, the Board NOTED the position and AGREED that a further report be brought to the Board setting out a brief summary of the nationally-set Performance Standards.
18. Estate Management
There had been circulated Report No. fire-38-10 dated 25 August 2010 by the Chief Fire Officer presenting information and recommendations on the disposal of surplus properties, the relocation of some staff to rented office space, and site acquisition.
During discussion, concern was expressed that efforts should be made to dispose of surplus properties more quickly. The Chief Fire Officer assured Members that proposals were in hand to speed up this process.
After discussion, the Board APPROVED:
i. the disposal of the properties scheduled in the report as surplus to
operational requirements; and
ii. the proposed rental of office accommodation in Inverness, as set out in the report.
The Board also NOTED the progress on site acquisitions and the slippage in the Lochaline Development Programme and AGREED:
i. to authorise the Chief Fire Officer to reallocate, if necessary, the capital
budget from the Lochaline project to single appliance operational assets in
need of urgent upgrading, with a further report to the Board setting out
the detail of any such action; and
ii. to take forward the proposal for sharing of premises with the Scottish
Ambulance Service at Tarbert, Harris, with a further report to be brought
to the Board setting out the cost-benefit analysis of this proposal.
19. Capital Projects Monitoring Report
There had been circulated Report No. fire-39-10 dated 26 August 2010 by the Director of Housing and Property of the Highland Council summarising the status of all current key projects carried out for the Board.
During discussion, it was requested that information be provided on the tender process for the Shetland carbonaceous unit and on the level of delegation for procurement of capital assets. The importance of a full register and risk assessment of asbestos levels in Board properties was also highlighted.
The Board NOTED the position.
20. Scottish Fire Conveners’ Forum Update
There had been circulated and was NOTED Report No. fire-40-10 dated 27 August 2010 by the Clerk introducing a briefing note on recent discussions at the Scottish Fire Conveners Forum.
21. Gender Equality Duty
At its meeting held on 23 April 2010, the Board had delegated powers to the Clerk, in consultation with the Convener, Vice Convener and the Board’s Equality and Diversity Champions, Mr J Ford and Mrs H Carmichael, to prepare and publish the Board’s annual report on its Gender Equality Scheme (GES) by the deadline date of 29 June 2010. Members were advised that this document was now available on the Board’s website and by clicking here.
The report’s Action Plan indicated that the Board, as part of its review/scrutiny function, would receive a copy of the Chief Fire Officer’s annual report for information. Members were advised that this could be found on the Highlands and Islands Fire Service website and by clicking here.
The report’s Action Plan also stated that the Board would review its Single Equality Scheme for compliance with the terms of the Equality Act 2010, whose core provisions were expected to come into force in October 2010.
The Board NOTED the publication of its annual report and that of the Chief Fire Officer and AGREED to delegate powers to the Clerk, in consultation with the Convener and Vice Convener and the Board’s Equality and Diversity Champions, to make such adjustments to the Board’s Scheme as might be necessary ahead of the Board’s November 2010 meeting to ensure compliance with the Equality Act 2010.
22. National Fire Conference for Scotland
There had been circulated Report No. fire-41-10 dated 25 August 2010 by the Chief Fire Officer advising that the National Fire Conference for Scotland would be held on 9 and 10 November 2010 in Crieff and recommending that five Members attend to represent this Board, two from the Highland Council and one from each of the Islands Authorities.
Mrs H Carmichael, seconded by Mr D Mackay, moved that, in addition to the Convener, Dr A Sinclair attend from the Highland Council.
Mrs I Campbell, seconded by Ms M Smith, moved that Mrs M Paterson take the second Highland Council place.
On a vote being taken, Dr Sinclair received 12 votes and Mrs Paterson 5.
The other nominations having been unopposed, the Board AGREED the attendance of the following Members at the National Fire Conference for Scotland: Mr R Durham (Convener), Mr A Drever (Vice Convener), Dr A Sinclair, Mr P Carlin and Mr A Duncan.
23. Schedule of Meetings 2011
There had been circulated Report No. fire-42-10 dated 27 August 2010 by the Clerk recommending the following schedule of meetings for 2011, all to be held in Inverness, together with, on the same days, meetings of the Northern Joint Police Board, as also agreed by that body at its recent meeting:
• Friday 28 January (afternoon)
• Friday 13 May (morning)
• Friday 26 August (afternoon)
• Friday 25 November (morning).
The report also recommended that, in preparation for the Board’s Best Value Audit, the Board’s Member Development programme be further rolled out, with training sessions scheduled where possible on each preceding day.
During discussion, Members expressed concern as to whether the volume of business for both Joint Boards might be too great to hold their meetings together on the same dates. The Clerk gave assurances that this would be kept under review and the schedule revisited if thought necessary.
After discussion, the Board AGREED the recommended schedule of Board meetings and Member Development sessions and that the Clerk make the necessary detailed arrangements, including, in consultation with the Convener and Vice Convener, any adjustments to the schedule that might prove necessary.
24. Exclusion of the Public
The Board RESOLVED that, under Section 50A(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Act.
25. Chief Officers Appointments Sub-Committee
There had been circulated to Members only Minutes of Meeting of the Chief Officers Appointments Sub-Committee held on 20 August 2010.
The Board NOTED that Dumfries & Galloway Fire & Rescue Authority had agreed to extend the Chief Fire Officer’s secondment to 4 May 2011.
The Board AGREED:
i. that the Chief Fire Officer’s current secondment be extended to 4 May 2011; and
ii. to seek Counsel’s opinion with a view to making appropriate representations
regarding the taxation issues set out in the Clerk’s report to the Sub-
Committee, as outlined in the circulated Minutes.
The meeting ended at 3.45 p.m.