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Judicial review to challenge PCC fire governance

31 May 2018

CAMBRIDGESHIRE AND Peterborough Fire Authority has and agreed to issue a claim for a judicial review to challenge the Home Office’s decision to transfer governance of the fire service to the police and crime commissioner.

Members have taken legal advice and believe there has been no evidence presented to demonstrate a business case for the change. Fire Authority chairman councillor Kevin Reynolds said: “We have given this careful consideration since the decision was first announced by the Home Office in March. We have requested additional information from the Home Office about the rationale behind the decision and we have sought legal advice.

“The fire authority and fire and rescue service work extremely well together under the current governance model and continually perform well. No reason has been demonstrated as to why a change in governance will bring any substantial benefits. Having taken legal advice, we have decided to challenge the decision by making a claim for a judicial review.”

The Fire Authority was formed in 1998 to govern Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service when Peterborough became a unitary authority. Prior to that, the county council had been responsible for the county’s fire service. Seventeen members – 13 from Cambridgeshire County Council and four from Peterborough City Council – make up the Fire Authority.

Since 1998, with the Fire Authority at the helm, the fire service has continuously been one of the lowest cost fire and rescue services in the country, and scored well in the various assessments and inspections that have taken place by both government appointed bodies and peers.

In more recent years, the Authority has navigated its way through two comprehensive spending reviews where it has needed to find over £7million of savings to meet a reduction in government funding and has done this successfully while maintaining frontline services and still improving equipment and vehicles for firefighters.

In the last 14 years alone, fires have reduced by 48% and people are safer in their homes with a 44% reduction in accidental fires, a 61% reduction in casualties from fires and a 68% reduction in deliberate fires in our communities.