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20 June, 2019

APCC response to HMICFRS reports

HMICFRS, the national inspectorate for Fire and Rescue Services in England, has voiced concerns in its latest round of inspection reports published today.

The inspectorate, which has now inspected 30 of England’s 45 fire and rescue services, has identified concerns relating to the way fire and rescue services approach and respond to risk.

The inspectorate also emphasised the need for the fire and rescue sector to be supported in its quest to reform through enhanced capacity and capability.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and national Fire Standards Board member Julia Mulligan responded to the latest round of reports commenting:

“Recommendations for greater consistency in how services recognise and respond to risk are helpful. We will ensure these recommendations receive the necessary attention and action they require, with a view to supporting the fire and rescue services in developing a more consistent approach towards risk management.

“The Inspectorate’s comments on the need for the sector to be supported in its quest to reform are encouraging. In the relatively short time Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners have overseen services, it has become clear there is a need for a clear expectation of what the role of fire and rescue services should look like in the future.

“Commissioners are more than aware of the challenges facing them in delivering innovative and preventative practices, in reducing vulnerability and in supporting people in need. Furthermore, we recognise there is work to do to ensure fire and services are representative of the communities they serve. We hope to meet these challenges by using our experience from policing and by working with the Home Office, National Fire Chiefs Council and HMICFRS on this.”

Background information

In 2017, the Government passed legislation (the Policing and Crime Act 2017) providing directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) with the opportunity to have a more active role in fire and rescue governance.

According to the legislation, PCCs must consult locally and develop a full business case identifying the benefits of moving to a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) model of governance, replacing the Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA).

The Home Secretary has final say on business cases. Additionally, PCCs can also request to join their local FRA as full voting members to help further police and fire collaboration.

To date, there are four PFCCs in Essex (Roger Hirst), North Yorkshire (Julia Mulligan), Northamptonshire (Stephen Mold) and Staffordshire (Matthew Ellis). The legislation remains and PCCs maintain the option to develop business cases to take on fire and rescue governance in their areas. 

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