Alasdair Hay to head national Scottish fire & rescue service
By Keith Aitken in Edinburgh | 16 August 2012
The chief officer of Scotland’s new national fire & rescue service was named today as Alasdair Hay, currently acting chief fire officer in Tayside.
Hay will take up the £165,000 post in autumn, and help run the transition to April 1 next year, when Scotland’s eight regional fire & rescue services are merged to form the new body. The service will be based, initially at least, in the Tayside city of Perth.
A parallel merger of the eight regional police forces is taking place on the same timetable, and the new national chief constable is expected to be named soon.
The mergers won backing from Labour and the Tories during their Holyrood passage earlier in the year. Ministers say they will save £1.7bn over 15 years, although that claim has met with scepticism from CIPFA Scotland and from some union leaders, who fear loss of local accountability and potential frontline cuts.
Edinburgh-born Hay, whose experience includes spells in Essex and at the Scottish Fire Services College, was appointed under open competition rules. The interview panel included Scottish Water chair Ronnie Mercer, Falkirk Council chief executive Mary Pitcaithly and chief inspector of fire & rescue Steven Torrie.
Announcing the appointment, community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham praised Hay’s experience, his passion for the service, and his ‘genuine commitment for the successful delivery of the new structure’.
She said: ‘I am confident he will work closely and constructively with the [new national] board and all other partners to ensure the continued delivery of excellent fire & rescue services in communities in all parts of Scotland.’
Hay promised to operate in partnership with the workforce, unions, government, councils and others, and said the new service would strengthen connections with the communities and people it served, as well as being efficient and effective.
The appointment was welcomed by Labour. Jenny Marra MSP said:‘I know Mr Hay from Tayside Fire & Rescue as someone who is trusted, respected and gets the best out of his staff.’