Fire and Rescue Services are in constant search for solutions to help them overcome their reporting and scheduling challenges. Innovative software can address issues such as managing complex availability spreadsheets, preventing appliance availability problems, and constantly changing schedules of retained firefighters.
In this context, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service organised a tender process in March (NWFRS-T-06-16) to select three software providers to help meet the aforementioned challenges. The Framework Agreement allows any UK Fire & Rescue Service to award call-off contracts for electronic availability, payroll and rostering systems without the need of a lengthy tender process.
Following a competitive process, FireServiceRota was selected as one of three successful suppliers and earned a position within the Framework Agreement. Key to the success of FireServiceRota’s bid was not only the capacity to fulfill specific requirements, but also proof of our ability to tailor our software to the individual needs of Fire and Rescue Services at a competitive price.
FireServiceRota has provided availability software for over a decade in The Netherlands and, more recently, in the United Kingdom. By specialising in the development of software for the Fire and Rescue Services, we have been able to meet and exceed our customers’ requests.
The Framework Agreement
The tender consisted of three areas of functionality: availability, payroll and rostering. These are the key features and advantages that FireServiceRota offers in those areas:
The tender required a system that allows retained firefighters to indicate whether they are available for mobilisation via the internet, a mobile app and SMS. This system should also be able to interface with operational management and fire control centres to enable appliances to be mobilised.
FireServiceRota meets these requirements by giving crew to ability to manage their own schedules. It continuously monitors resource availability to identify crewing deficiencies before they occur. At the same time, managers know the station’s status at a glance and can act in case of (imminent) understaffing.
FireServiceRota has a fully open architecture with a publicly available API that facilitates the required integrations with other systems.
For the payroll functionality, the tender required a system to record the working hours of wholetime and retained personnel. The system must also be able to hold personal information, be intuitive, and create individual reports for incidents, drills, and training courses.
FireServiceRota records and creates prefilled reports about the turnout and attendance to incidents and the number of additional hours worked. In addition, it is able to capture and hold contact details and contractual targets. This information can be managed, updated and communicated to relevant stakeholders and other electronic systems.
The final component of the tender required a system to plan and schedule the duty rotas of wholetime firefighters.
As our name implies, FireServiceRota’s main area of expertise is managing rotas for the Fire Service. Our system allows wholetime fire stations to ensure optimal crewing levels while providing the flexibility to firefighters to exchange shifts and request additional ones.
In particular, this functionality has proven vital for one of our UK customers and is increasingly in demand as Fire and Rescue Services look to increase efficiencies.
FireServiceRota uses the Agile Development Methodology. This means we can tailor our software in partnership and collaboration with our customers in a short amount of time. This is what our customers have to say about our approach:
“[Shropshire] have worked closely with [FireServiceRota] throughout the past four months and it is really impressive how rapidly they have introduced new features. This has enabled us to introduce a new and quite unique working pattern in Shropshire with the confidence that the software has the flexibility to allow us to change in future.” (Sally Edwards, Shropshire F&RS ICT Manager, March 2017)
“Experiences working with FSR are refreshing. The team is very proactive and efficient. Building our account to what we use today has been nothing but first class service.” (Ryan Hall, Jersey F&RS Watch Manager, September 2016)
Utilising the Framework Agreement, UK Fire and Rescue Services can evaluate FireServiceRota as one of the 3 awarded suppliers against their specific requirements via a mini-competition process; no direct award option is available. To access the Framework Agreement UK Fire and Rescue Services must contact Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service to obtain the access agreement which allows for provision of the Framework Agreement details and guidance on how to undertake the mini-competition process.