Guest column: Fire service must rip up its consultation and start again

John Mann MP
John Mann MP

I have written over the past few months about the proposed changes to the staffing at Worksop Fire Station.

I thought it was best for the public to be able to attend open consultations about these proposed changes but sadly, this has not happened, so I have been working with the Fire Brigade Union and organising street stalls in both Retford and Worksop so that you can complete the consultation and make sure your views are heard.

I was therefore shocked when a woman from Langold claimed that she had been offered £40 to attend one of the invite-only consultation sessions. I raised my concerns with the fire service and have now received its response which confirms that it is paying out an attendance allowance of £40 to the invited guests at the closed-door consultation events.

The required transparency and openness of the consultation has been completely undermined in my view. This is the first time that I have ever heard of the public sector paying people to participate in a consultation process.

This is astounding and I feel it calls into question the independence of the consultation and I am challenging the use of public money for such a purpose. This could have been avoided early on if the Fire and Rescue Service had decided to hold open and public consultation meetings so that every single Bassetlaw resident who wanted to have their voice heard could do so.

I suspect nobody will now trust the outcome of the consultation and I call upon the Nottinghamshire Fire Service to rip this process up and start again.

This week is Usdaw’s Shopworkers week.

This is an annual event where shop workers publicise their concerns about the problems of violence, threats and abuse.

Shop workers are on the frontline and it’s wrong that they should be required to soak up the anger and abuse from disgruntled customers.

It’s during this period in the run up to Christmas when there is an increase in this unacceptable behaviour.

Part of the campaign encourages shop workers not to accept abuse as part of the job and to report incidents to their manager.

Usdaw is running its ‘Freedom from Fear Campaign’ and I encourage all of us to treat shop workers with the same respect and manners we want to be treated with.

At the same time, local shop managers should draw a line under this type of behaviour and not tolerate their staff members having to face abuse and rudeness.

There is a petition in Tesco in Worksop that you can sign as part of this campaign.

The rollout of Universal Credit next month means that there will be a greater demand on Bassetlaw Food bank, especially in the run-up to and over Christmas.

The food bank wants people donate items such as mince pies, advent calendars and other seasonal foods.

You can take items to The Well on Hospital Road.