THE leader of Highland Council today unveiled proposals for the main emergency services, the council and the health board to share a control centre hub in Inverness.
Councillor Drew Hendry is calling for the Highland Council to share a dedicated control centre building with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, NHS Highland, and Police Scotland. The Scottish Ambulance Service and Scottish Water may also be invited the share the facility.
A council spokesman explained: “The suggestion is that the agencies share new premises in the city, each having their own control centre within the hub. This would provide the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service with their third strategic control room for Scotland and also further demonstrate the good practice in the Highlands and Islands of public agencies sharing services/accommodation and delivering services efficiently and collaboratively.”
Members of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service board last month agreed in principle to retain only three of the current control centres serving the country as part of a major rationalisation plan. Under the proposals, the control room at Johnstone in Renfrewshire will be retained and two other control centres will be kept from a four strong list of centres at Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.
Councillor Hendry states in a letter to Pat Watters, Chairman of the Scottish Fire Board. “We do recognise the need for SFRS to review its organisational arrangements and property requirements especially given the current financial constraints. Indeed, we have been undertaking similar reviews and share the vision of the SFRS for innovation, efficiency in the delivery of high quality public services.
“We have prepared a proposal for the development of a co-located multi-agency control room in Inverness. This approach will build on the current and proven shared service emergency response arrangements that the Highland Council already has with Police Scotland and NHS Highland.”
He adds: “We have a legacy of delivering co-located and shared services and are seen as an exemplar in collaboration with its partners. We believe that co-locating the control room in Inverness will enable SFRS to meet its strategic aims and demonstrate its commitment to communities in the North of Scotland. It will provide an opportunity to create a highly effective multi-agency emergency control centre.”