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Fire Services

Volume 498: debated on Monday 26 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent guidance his Department has issued to fire and rescue authorities on (a) the reconfiguration of fire services, (b) the use of retained firefighters by fire services and (c) fire station closures. (292711)

Decisions on issues such as the provision of fire services and the closure of fire stations are taken by individual Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) as part of the Integrated Risk Management Planning process.

FRAs are required by the Fire and Rescue Service National Framework to have in place and maintain an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) which reflects local need and sets out plans to tackle effectively both existing and potential risks to communities. The IRMP enables the authority to tailor cover for fire and other incidents to local circumstances—evaluating where risk is greatest and allocating resources, accordingly. That would include decisions regarding the appropriate deployment of all firefighters including those working on the retained duty system.

A range of guidance on the drawing up of IRMPs has been issued to FRAs and is available on the Communities and Local Government website.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to page 13 of his Department's Resource Accounts for 2008-09, HC 449, for what reasons the FireLink project has been delayed; what assessment he has made of the implications for fire services of such a delay; and if he will make a statement. (294666)

The primary reason for the delays to the Firelink project arose from the contractor’s under-estimate of the time required to enhance the resilience of their network. All Fire and Rescue Services excepting two are now migrated onto the Firelink system; Shropshire and London are scheduled to be migrated by March 2010.