Alasdair Hay has been appointed the first Chief Officer of the new single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
The post will be one of the top fire jobs in the UK and one of the most demanding and high-profile roles in civic Scotland. Scottish Government legislation will bring together the current eight services to protect and enhance the frontline.
Minister for Community Safety Roseanna Cunningham confirmed the appointment at Perth Community Fire Station, which will be the interim headquarters for the new service when it goes lives on April 1, 2013.
Mr Hay is currently acting Chief Fire Officer of Tayside. He has also worked with Essex County Fire and Rescue, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Advisory Unit and the Scottish Fire Services College.
He is expected to start in the Autumn, following the appointment of the SFRS Chair. This will help ensure a smooth transition to the new service.
The new single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will have a workforce of more than 9,000 firefighters and support staff, with accountability for a multi-million pound budget and responsibility for ensuring the safety of more than five million people.
The new service will reduce duplication of support services and sustain frontline services and ensure more equal access to specialist support and national capacity. It will also strengthen the connection between services and communities, by creating a new formal relationship with each of the 32 local authorities.
Single police and fire services will deliver estimated efficiency savings of £1.7 billion over 15 years.
Ms Cunningham said: “Mr Hay has the experience and attributes to be an outstanding first Chief Officer for the new single service. He has passion for the service and genuine commitment for the successful delivery of the new single structure.
“I am confident he will work closely and constructively with the Board and all other partners to ensure the continued delivery of excellent fire and rescue services in communities right in all parts of Scotland.”
Mr Hay said: “I am honoured to take this unique opportunity to shape and deliver the new single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. It will allow us to sustain and improve the local services communities in all parts of Scotland depend on, to build on success and do more.
“Throughout my career, I have demonstrated a genuine commitment to partnership working. I will continue to work closely with the workforce, unions, government, local authorities and other key partners to maintain the high standards of the Scottish fire and rescue services.
“Above all, the single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will strengthen the connections with all communities and the people we serve. This new service will be efficient and effective, and focused on the needs of the people who depend on the vital services our dedicated workforce delivers.”
Mr Hay was appointed through fair and open national competition against an extremely strong field of candidates from the UK. Paul Gray (Scottish Government Director-General for Governance and Communities) chaired an interview panel which included Ronnie Mercer (Chair of Scottish Water) and Mary Pitcaithly (Chief Executive of Falkirk Council) with HM Chief Inspector of Fire and Rescue Authorities Steven Torrie acting as its professional advisor.
Work by the panel informed the Ministerial decision to appoint the candidate who, on the basis of the evidence in the panel’s report, was judged to have met the criteria most successfully.
The Chief Officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will initially be based on the interim headquarters at Perth Community Fire Station. The salary will be £165,000.
Mr Hay joined Tayside Fire and Rescue Service in 1994 and is currently acting Chief Fire Officer. He was seconded to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Advisory Unit from May 2011 to March 2012. He was a senior instructor at the Scottish Fire Services College from October 1992 to October 1994, and held various roles at Essex County Fire and Rescue from September 1983 to October 1992.
Mr Hay (50) was born in Edinburgh and lives in Dundee. He is married with three grown-up sons.