The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has squandered £610,000 on legal fees and financial settlements during a two-year procurement process for firefighter safety kit including jackets, trousers, helmets, gloves and boots. The troubled process was eventually banned.
Shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr received a Scottish parliamentary written answer confirming the taxpayers’ money has been wasted on the failed procurement process for structural fire kit and personal protective equipment.
Furthermore the fire service board, in papers from June 2017, acknowledges that it is necessary to replace the protective kit over the next four years.
The Board papers; Commodity Strategy; Provision of Structural Firefighter Personal Protective Equipment, states: "As the last full replacement in most legacy services was around 10 years ago, the cost of repairing existing kit is increasing.”
It goes on to state: “While the appearance is deteriorating, albeit any repaired kit is of course fit for purpose."
Personal Protective Equipment for Scotland’s firefighters has now been sourced from an established purchasing framework.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary, Liam Kerr commented:
"Our utmost priority is that firefighters are safe and have the most suitable and effective protective equipment.
"However, £610,000 is a lot of money to spend and not achieve that goal.
"While they await the new equipment it is also clear that more money is being spent to repair the old equipment.
"This is more and more wasted money that has been lost to management inadequacy.
"The SNP owe it to our brave firefighters to get it right the first time; ensure that public money is spent with care and due diligence and keep our firefighters safe."