Governance – Fire service

DRAFT Fire Service Corporate Governance Framework

In June 2018 the Home Secretary announced that Julia Mulligan, elected Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, would take on the governance of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The transfer of governance took place on Thursday 15 November 2018.

This DRAFT Corporate Governance Framework sets out how Julia governs the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The final Corporate Governance Framework will be agreed by the Police, Fire and Crime Panel on 4 December 2018

1 – Statement of Corporate Governance

1.1.1 The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (Fire and Rescue Authority) for North Yorkshire Order 2018, created this Fire and Rescue Authority, under section 4A of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, for the area covered by North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York Council.

1.1.2 Within that order it sets out that the person who is the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire is also the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Fire and Rescue Authority for North Yorkshire. She will be known as the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (“PFCC” or “the Commissioner”) for North Yorkshire.

1.1.3 The Commissioner is elected every four years, and has a duty to represent the views of the whole community.

1.1.4 The Commissioner shall establish a Fire and Rescue Service for the area, which shall be known as the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (“NYFRS”).

1.1.5 The purpose of this statement is to give clarity to the way the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Fire and Rescue Authority for North Yorkshire, and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, will be governed to do business in the right way, for the right reason at the right time.

1.1.6 This statement does not include any responsibilities or requirements of the Commissioner in relation to policing. A separate governance framework exists for the functions of the Commissioner in relation to policing.

2 – Code of Corporate Governance

2.1.1 This Code of Corporate Governance sets out how the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Fire and Rescue Authority will conduct their organisation, in accordance with the Statement of Corporate Governance. It will do this by highlighting the key enablers for ensuring good governance.

3 – Scheme of Corporate Governance – Delegations and Consent

3.1.1 The Statement of Corporate Governance details the key roles of the Commissioner, Chief Executive Officer of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Chief Fire Officer, the Treasurer, Monitoring Officer and of those who support them. The Chief Fire Officer is designated as the Head of Paid Service for the Commissioner’s Fire and Rescue Authority.

The Code of Corporate Governance describes the strategies, arrangements, instruments and controls adopted to ensure good governance in the organisations.

This Scheme of Corporate Governance provides a framework which ensures the business is carried out efficiently, ensuring that decisions are not unnecessarily delayed. It forms part of the overall Corporate Governance Framework of the organisations. It should be read in the context of the Statement and the Code.

This Scheme of Corporate Governance sets out the delegations by the Commissioner to the Chief Executive Officer of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, other members of their staff, Chief Fire Officer and Fire and Rescue Service staff. It includes other instruments such as the Financial Regulations and the Contract Regulations.

This Scheme of Corporate Governance aims to clarify those powers which, for the benefit of good business practice, are given to the statutory officers. The Commissioner may limit these powers and/or withdraw delegation. This does not refer to the discharging of statutory powers provided by legislation to that position.

The Commissioner may impose reporting arrangements on any authorised powers.

The powers given to officers and staff should be exercised in line with these delegations, the law, financial regulations and contract regulations and also policies, procedures, plans, strategies and budgets.

This Scheme of Corporate Governance does not identify all the statutory duties which are contained in specific laws and regulations.

4 – Decision Making Policy

4.1.1 Purpose

This policy establishes the approach and principles for decision making by the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Fire and Rescue Authority. It outlines the decision making process together with providing information on how decisions of strategic public interest will be determined, recorded and published.

5 – Financial Regulations

5.1.1 These Financial Regulations form part of the governing documents approved by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (Fire and Rescue Authority) for North Yorkshire. These regulations will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure they remain timely and relevant. Subsequent changes will be submitted to the Executive Board for approval.

5.1.2 These regulations apply to all staff in the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (Fire and Rescue Authority) for North Yorkshire including the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. The s.4A Fire and Rescue Authority was created following the Statutory Instrument 2018 No. 970 and came into force on 15 November 2018. The s.4A FRA is a fire and rescue authority under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 and has a statutory duty and electoral mandate to ensure an efficient and effective fire and rescue service. The s.4A FRA is referred to as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (“PFCC” or “the Commissioner”) for North Yorkshire as set out in the Scheme of Corporate Governance.

5.1.3 Appendix B provides definitions for terms used within these regulations.

5.1.4 The Treasurer of the Commissioner has a personal fiduciary duty by virtue of their appointment as the person responsible for proper financial administration under the Fire and Services Act 2004. This includes requirements and formal powers to safeguard lawfulness and propriety in expenditure (section 114 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, as amended by regulation 6 and the schedule to SI 2018/226).

The Treasurer has a fiduciary duty to the local taxpayer as they have a responsibility for securing the efficient use of public funds (which will include revenue derived from the fire precept).

The statutory responsibilities of the Treasurer of the Commissioner are set out in Part 8 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988. The qualifications set out in section 113 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 apply to the Treasurer. The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 impose further responsibilities. Taken together, and considered in the context of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, these mean that the S151 Officer of the Commissioner is responsible for:

  • ensuring that the financial affairs of the Commissioner are properly administered and that the financial regulations are observed and kept up to date
  • ensuring regularity, propriety, feasibility and value for money in the use of public funds
  • ensuring that funding required to finance agreed programmes is available from central Government funding, business rates, precept, other contributions and recharges
  • reporting to the Commissioner, the Police, Fire and Crime Panel and to the external auditor any unlawful, or potentially unlawful, expenditure by the Commissioner or officers of the Commissioner
  • reporting to the Commissioner, the Police, Fire and Crime Panel and to the external auditor when it appears that expenditure is likely to exceed the resources available to meet that expenditure
  • advising the Commissioner on the robustness of the budget and adequacy of financial reserves
  • ensuring production of the statements of accounts of the Commissioner and confirming that they present a true and fair view of the financial position of the Commissioner at the end of the financial year to which it relates and of the Commissioner’s income and expenditure for that financial year
  • liaising with the external auditor
  • advising the Commissioner on the application of value for money principles by the fire and rescue service to support the Commissioner in delivering efficient and effective financial management
  • advising, in consultation with the statutory officers, on the safeguarding of assets, including risk management and insurance

The Treasurer of the Commissioner has certain statutory duties which cannot be delegated, namely, reporting any potentially unlawful decisions by the Commissioner on expenditure and preparing each year, in accordance with proper practices in relation to accounts, a statement of the Commissioner’s accounts.

The Treasurer is the Commissioner’s professional adviser on financial matters. To enable them to fulfil these duties and to ensure the Commissioner is provided with adequate financial advice, the Treasurer:

  • must be a key member of the Commissioner’s leadership team, working closely with the Chief Fire Officer, helping the team to develop and implement strategy and to resource and deliver the Commissioner’s strategic objectives sustainably and in the public interest
  • must be actively involved in, and able to bring influence to bear on, all strategic business decisions of the Commissioner, to ensure that the financial aspects of immediate and longer tem implications, opportunities and risks are fully considered, and aligned with the Commissioner’s financial strategy
  • must lead the promotion and delivery by the Commissioner of good financial management so that public money is safeguarded at all times and used appropriately, economically, efficiently and effectively
  • must ensure that the finance function is resourced to be fit for purpose
  • must be suitably experienced and ensure professional knowledge is kept current through continuing professional development

6 – Contract Regulations

6.1.1 These Contract Regulations explain the procedures for obtaining written or electronic quotations and tenders from suppliers for the provision of goods, services and works on behalf of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (Fire and Rescue Authority) for North Yorkshire (the Commissioner). They do not apply to the employment of staff nor the acquisition or disposal of the right to use, or an interest in, land or buildings.

The procedures in the Contract Regulations apply to all contracts with third parties and to all sub-contracts (where a sub-contractor is specified by the Commissioner to a contractor).

The Commissioner’s Financial Regulations, Financial Procedures, Scheme of Delegation and Procurement Policy provide the framework for managing the financial affairs when dealing with the setting up of contracts for services or works, or the purchasing of goods. They apply to every North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Principal Officer, Function Heads, Budget Co-ordinators or anyone acting on their behalf.

The Contract Regulations should be read in conjunction with the Financial Regulations, Financial Procedures, Scheme of Delegation and Procurement Policy.

The financial limits specified within these Contract Regulations are subject to variation from time to time by the Commissioner. Those subject to European Union Directives are presently reviewed by the European Union every two years.

Download the DRAFT Corporate Governance Framework