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Fire Services: Safety

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what account she takes of firefighter safety in reviewing the efficacy of integrated risk management plans published by fire and rescue services; and if she will make a statement. (236127)

The responsibility for drawing up, reviewing and maintaining integrated risk management plans (IRMPs) lies with the elected members of Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs); it is not for Ministers or Government officials to review or intervene in the operational proposals in individual FRAs' IRMPs.

The Audit Commission is an independent watchdog, which assesses economy, efficiency and effectiveness in local public services. The Commission is responsible for reviewing the effectiveness of FRAs including individual FRAs' IRMPs.

Communities and Local Government is taking the lead on work to produce operational guidance, that supports firefighter safety. The Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser has agreed, in collaboration with key stakeholders such as the Chief Fire Officers Association and the Fire Brigades Union, a priority programme of work for 2008-09, and is developing the longer-term and sustainable framework for the development of future guidance.