Blue Light Collaboration

“Major benefits can be achieved by bringing together blue light services and we are delighted that Concertus is involved with the project. They have already played a large part in helping Fire and Police collaborations become a reality in areas of Suffolk and this success is testament to the hard work, enthusiasm and passion of their team.” – Dave Pedersen, Group Commander Programme Manager for Suffolk Fire & Rescue

Background: Since 2010, Concertus has been working closely with Suffolk Fire & Rescue and Suffolk Constabulary on an initiative that has aimed to achieve greater collaboration between the blue light services in the county.

Several projects have already been completed to refurbish, extend and adapt existing facilities to accommodate the two emergency services under one roof, so they can work more efficiently and effectively.

The Suffolk ‘blue light collaboration’ project has now caught the attention of the government’s Home Office, which could use the county and its results as a case study on best practice for the rest of the UK.

The Aim: The main objective of assisting Suffolk Fire & Rescue and Suffolk Constabulary in improving efficiency and cost effectiveness has been key. This would be achieved by making improvements to emergency services properties located in Suffolk towns, enabling local police and fire services to come together under one roof, while remaining at the heart of the community.

Improvements to the existing stations would therefore provide police and fire services with a shared environment and facilities that facilitate streamlined operations, collaborative working and subsequent cost savings.

The Scope: Concertus has been involved in the initiative from its very early stages. We were called upon to work with multiple stakeholders to give consultancy advice, before moving on to provide design and/or project management services, as required, for each of the individual projects.

One of the projects completed was Woodbridge Community Fire Station where we were initially selected as the preferred consultant to undertake a feasibility study. We were appointed to assess and lay out the options that would make the vision of a shared property a reality. The Concertus multi-disciplinary team included architectural, mechanical, electrical, structural, quantity surveyors, landscape designers, project managers and estates surveyors. Within the team, we considered issues relating to design, planning, land ownership and lease arrangements.

Our report was presented, and once the client had decided on the option they wanted to progress, we then acted as project manager for the scheme, overseeing the transformation of the existing fire station into a refurbished and extended emergency services property that housed both Woodbridge’s fire and police services.

To date, Concertus has been involved in five shared community fire and police facilities in Suffolk, undertaking a variety of roles from project management, architecture and building services, through to structural and civil engineering, quantity surveying and landscape architecture.

The Results:

Improvements to Framlingham’s station were completed in April 2010, with Debenham, Elmswell & Ixworth stations being completed in August 2013. Concertus provided project management services for these projects. Work in Woodbridge completed in September 2015; we provided all design services.

The Government has praised the result achieved from the joined-up approach by Suffolk, with talks of the Home Office using the county as a case study for ‘blue light collaboration’ success.

Accomplishments so far have highlighted how benefits can be achieved through bringing together blue light services in Suffolk. However, these results have also moved the public sector in Suffolk a step closer to the objective of creating single public sector estates or hubs, sited centrally, that bring together services that support the local community.

In addition to the five completed shared emergency services properties that we have been involved with, a shared station in Felixstowe and Saxmundham are currently underway with plans being considered to create shared stations in Newmarket, Beccles and Leiston.

“We are proud of our relationship with Suffolk Fire and Police, which has been built on our endeavours to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to achieve the vision for more cost effective and efficient blue light services in the county. A vision, which will continue to flourish as collaborations like these in Suffolk become a Government requirement.” – Andrew Rowe, Managing Director at Concertus