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Draft regulations published for minimum service levels in fire and rescue services

on Friday, 23 February 2024.

The Government has published the outcome of its consultation on minimum service levels (MSLs) for strikes by members of the fire and rescue services and laid draft regulations before Parliament.


The Strikes (Minimum Services Levels) Act 2023 (the Act) allows the Secretary of State to issue regulations in order to set MSLs in the following six 'relevant services':

  • Health
  • Fire and rescue
  • Education
  • Transport
  • Decommissioning of nuclear installations and management of radioactive waste and spent fuel
  • Border security

The aim of the Act is to safeguard essential public services during strikes by setting MSLs which must be maintained during strike action.  In order to preserve MSLs during strike action, employers will be able to issue a 'work notice' to require certain workers to refrain from taking strike action.  Unions must take "reasonable steps" to comply with a work notice. Failing to comply with a work notice could mean that the strike would not be protected in law. 

Fire and rescue

On 8 February 2024, the Government published the outcome of its consultation on MSLs in the fire and rescue service.  It also published draft regulations which define MSLs for three types of work, in respect of which employers will be entitled to issue work notices.

The three types of work covered by the regulations are:  

  • Control room services
  • Emergency incident response (such as firefighting and rescue)
  • Fire safety services

The regulations will apply to English fire and rescue services only. They will exclude volunteer firefighters.

Next steps

The regulations have been published in draft and are likely to come into force shortly. 

MSLs for passenger rail, ambulance and border security services came into force in December 2023. Further MSLs affecting hospitals, schools and universities are expected. We will continue to report on developments.

For more information, please contact Allison Cook in our Employment team on 07787 126 336, or complete the form below.

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