Fire service reform white paper: CCN response

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2022 | 18 May 2022

Today the Home Secretary has unveiled the government’s Fire Reform White Paper, which sets out a series of proposals ahead of a ten-week consultation.

Below, the County Councils Network responds to the white paper.

Cllr Tim Oliver, Chairman of the County Councils Network, said:

“Earlier proposals for fire service reform included an ambition for Police and Crime Commissioners or combined authority mayors to oversee local fire services, removing them from upper-tier local authority oversight in the places where that structure is in place. We are pleased that today’s white paper does not make that transfer mandatory, and instead sets a wider set of potential governance options, as the County Councils Network (CCN) has called for.

“The proposals are rightly based on local discretion, albeit, with a clear preference for governance models with a single elected individual having responsibility for the service. We are pleased that one option remains the leader or cabinet member of the upper-tier authority having responsibility and ensuring fire and rescue remains integrated with the county or unitary authority.

“This is welcome, and a recognition of the strong track record local government has in effectively overseeing local fire services, including driving substantial transformations to ensure they are fit for the 21st century and embedding fire services within councils’ wider community safety remit.

“CCN will examine today’s white paper in detail and submit its detailed response in due course.”