FIREFIGHTERS are struggling to develop a work-life balance.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service’s annual staff engagement survey report revealed that on-call firefighters did not understand how to develop a work-life balance to ensure that their time is managed effectively.

The survey also revealed that many staff were unclear about the service’s plans for the future did not understand the role they must play in these.

Several staff also highlighted that the service would need to create a more consistent approach for promotion and career progression which would ensure that everyone was aware of the learning available to all areas of the service.

It comes after both services combined on April 1, 2016, as part of a bid to save more than £6m a year.

In that time, a new headquarters in Salisbury at Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre has been established, and new ways of working have been adopted to help manage the larger service area.

However, the report highlighted that 80 per cent of staff and firefighters said that they were proud to work for the service and would speak positively about it while more individuals were openly recognising that the service cares about their safety and wellbeing.

In conclusion, Vikki Shearing, head of information and communications at the service, said: “The survey has indicated a very positive direction, reflecting the improvements we have made since the last survey.

“Officers have established a clear programme of communicating these results and engaged staff in delivering improvement actions at both a corporate and specifically tailored departmental level.

“These actions are monitored through our performance management arrangements.”

Addressing the concerns about work-life balance, she said: “Working groups have been established with on-call staff as part of the on-call review programme and implementation of the salary scheme.

“Work-life balance will be a focus area for one of these groups.”

Commenting on expectations from employees, she stressed that delivery teams for People Service, Service Support and Community Safety have already been established to enable decision making at the right level.

She added: “These teams also consider staff suggestions, ensuring a systematic and transparent feedback loop.”