Devon Fire & Rescue Service: Report by Independent Mediator

Circular: NJC/07/02

Dear Sir/Madam


  1. In January 2001 the NJC Joint Secretaries sought to conciliate between Devon Fire and Rescue Service and the FBU in the light of a dispute over the compulsory transfers of a number of firefighters from a particular watch at Plymstock Fire Station. The dispute had at its root differences between members of that watch over volunteering for co-responder duties. Following those conciliation talks it was agreed to approach ACAS to appoint an Independent Mediator to carry out an Inquiry into the events leading to the dispute.
  2. The Independent Mediator was Mr John Harris. His terms of reference were: “To consider the wider circumstances that led to the dispute over compulsory transfers from Plymstock Fire Station and to make any appropriate observations and recommendations.”
  3. Mr Harris was assisted by the NJC Joint Secretaries acting in the role of assessors. There were three hearings: on 26th April, 12th July and 3rd October, all held in Exeter.
  4. In paragraphs 115 and 116 of the report the Independent Mediator recommended the establishment of a Joint Working Party to examine industrial relations in Devon and to produce proposals to bring about an improvement in industrial relations. The local parties and NJC Joint Secretaries have met with ACAS officials and the working party has now been set up.
  5. A copy of Mr Harris’s report is attached. A summary of his recommendations can be found at paragraphs 113 to 118 of the report.


Yours faithfully


Joint Secretaries

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