Independent review of open water rescue arrangements in Scotland

Project Summary & Objectives

Scottish Government – Independent Review of Open Water Rescue Arrangements

Concerned that Scotland should have a coherent understanding of the risks arising from its extensive inland waters, and be able to ensure an appropriate level of coordinated preventative measures and proportionate provision of rescue capacity, Droman Limited was commissioned by the Minister for Community Safety in the Scottish Government to conduct a full review and submit recommendations for legal, structural or procedural change.

Parliament welcomes the findings of Paddy Tomkins’ Independent Review of Open Water and Flood Rescue in Scotland, which examined the arrangements and protocols for inland water rescue in Scotland, and believes that the report’s recommendations should be carefully considered and acted on in order to strengthen multi-agency arrangements and ensure that an effective and proportionate response capability exists across Scotland.

Fergus Ewing, MSP, Minister for Community Safety

Droman’s Role

Scottish Ministers set the following terms of reference for the review of:

The resources and capabilities of all agencies currently involved in water rescue emergencies

Whether there was a need for changes in current operational arrangements between responders

Whether there was a need for a change in the law covering the responders who cover water rescue
The level of public awareness and education of the risks associated with open water

The review was framed on the EFQM model, examining the following areas:




Partnership & Resources






Policy and Strategy





Value Delivered to Client

We led a wide-ranging review over six months, including public consultation, a professional advisory group, and the involvement of key agencies and interest groups. Our report, subsequently debated and welcomed in the Scottish Parliament, made 15 recommendations – all of which were accepted by the Scottish Government.

The report explored existing arrangements for governance and co-ordination of assets operated by different public, private and voluntary organisations. We highlighted areas for improvement and recommended solutions which were later adopted
Our work addressed a high-risk and high-cost area of public policy, providing pragmatic and beneficial options for change while coping with constrained budgets

Recognising the challenging strategic context, we outlined practical and cost-effective steps covering the policy areas of policing, fire and rescue, search and rescue, health care and education to deliver enhanced public safety

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