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Fire Reform

Volume 638: debated on Monday 26 March 2018

I am pleased to announce that I have approved proposals from the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) for Cambridgeshire (Jason Ablewhite), Staffordshire (Matthew Ellis) and West Mercia (John Campion) to take on governance of their local fire and rescue services.

I have carefully considered each proposal, taking into account representations made by the public, police and fire personnel, and relevant local authorities in response to each PCC’s local consultation. In each case I obtained an independent assessment of the PCCs’ proposal, carried out by the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accounting (CIPFA), which I have had regard to and today publish in the interests of transparency. A copy of each of the independent assessments will be placed in the House Library and published on shortly.

Having had regard to this material, I am of the view that in each case, a transfer of fire governance to the PCC is in the interests of economy, efficiency and effectiveness, and that there is no adverse effect on public safety.

These PCCs will join Roger Hirst of Essex, who became the country’s first Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in October 2017. My officials will now prepare the necessary statutory instrument to give effect to these proposals in the coming months.

As directly accountable leaders overseeing both fire and policing, each PCC can increase efficiency and effectiveness, maximise available resources and improve the service delivered to the public. I look forward to seeing the benefits this will bring to each area.