Programme for Change

Programme for Change Outline Business Case

The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) Programme for Change Outline Business Case lays the foundations for a stronger organisation that is focused on keeping communities safe and delivering a sustainable, affordable, frontline first emergency service.

GMFRS is currently facing a number of significant challenges that must be addressed and there are inevitably some difficult decisions to be made. The contents of this document set out the future vision for the service, focusing on frontline delivery, maximising fire cover with available resources, and providing better public value to the communities of Greater Manchester.

The proposals seek to protect the frontline, enhance firefighter safety, keep more firefighters in communities, whilst having a minimal impact on performance and maintaining response times.

Firefighters sit at the heart of these proposals, and will be supported by an organisation which has a culture of trust, respect and accountability, together with improved working conditions, modern facilities and better training and equipment.

The Programme for Change has come from a number of factors, including the response to the Manchester Arena attack, the Kerslake Report and concerns raised by firefighters with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

Public consultation

The public consultation, which closed on Friday 31 May 2019, focused on a number of the areas within the Outline Business Case, including:

  • Our proposal to consolidate six fire stations into three brand new, state-of-the-art community fire stations in Bolton, Manchester and Stockport
  • Our proposal to manage our fleet of fire engines, whilst ensuring that we still have a response time that is faster than the national average

The consultation report and consultation summary can be found in the 'supporting documents' section of this page.

In September 2019 Programme for Change proposals were updated based on feedback from the consultation

This included:

  • The current arrangements around the number of firefighters on fire engines will be maintained for the 19/20 financial year
  • Firefighter numbers will remain at or above May 2017 levels for at least the 19/20 financial year
  • Firefighters will see their role around prevention and protection enhanced, in areas around fire safety visits, inspections and enforcement activity. We will allow sufficient time for our firefighters to be adequately trained and equipped to fulfil these duties whilst retaining a number of additional specialist prevention staff to support complex cases
  • We will develop alternative delivery models for volunteering and cadets. We will continue our Prince's Trust work, reducing the number of teams from seven to five to allow more time to develop future options
  • We will maintain a fleet of 50 fire engines for at least the 19/20 year
  • The fire station mergers will go ahead as planned, which will see the creation of three brand new state-of-the-art fire stations, alongside ongoing investment in stations, including welfare facilities
  • The proposed reduction of 113 non-uniformed roles has now reduced and we still aim to have no compulsory redundancies. We will work with any staff impacted to help them find new positions
  • We will undertake a limited restructure of administration activity initially, allowing more time for the development of a centrally managed delivery model

Programme Delivery and Programme Closure

Following the consultation period work took place across the Service to implement the proposals from the Outline Business Case.

Some of the key achievements delivered through Programme for Change include:

  • A number of immediate improvements were made including changes to firefighter shift patterns, greater flexibility around annual leave arrangements, and improved facilities at fire stations, such as new AV equipment and shower facilities
  • A new Mission, Vision and Values setting a clear direction of travel for the Service
  • Increased visible leadership
  • NFCC Leadership Framework embedded into our leadership development offer and promotional processes and improved training and coaching for our leaders
  • Increased local empowerment and accountability
  • Improved governance structures, clear lines of accountability and more rigorous scrutiny
  • A refocus on Protection, and clear plans to build both capacity and skills across the organisation
  • New Attraction Strategy developed
  • Increased percentage of recruits from underrepresented groups from 14% in September 2019 projected to be to 32% in May 2021
  • £7.2M efficiency savings

You can find more details about the achievements of Programme for Change in the 'Story so Far' document in the 'supporting documents' section of this page. 

The Chief Fire Officer and Service Leadership Team made the decision to formally close Programme for Change from 31 March 2021.

Programme for Change, helped to deliver the foundations for a much stronger Fire and Rescue Service. A number of key priorities from Programme for Change have been picked up in the new GMFRS Fire Plan.

Fire Plan 2021/25

The Fire Plan has been written by Chief Fire Officer Dave Russel, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, and Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Bev Hughes.

In addition to the Fire Plan, an Annual Delivery Plan for the Service – Our Plan – outlines exactly how the commitments in the Fire Plan will be delivered

Read more about our Fire Plan and Annual Delivery Plan