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Government cracks down on fire chief re-appointments

08 January 2018

MINISTER FOR policing and fire Nick announced new rules to crack down on the employment of ‘boomerang bosses’ in England’s fire and rescue services.

The practice has seen senior fire officers retire from their post only to be re-appointed almost immediately and take advantage of favourable pay and pension terms potentially worth more than £20,000 a year.

Following a consultation earlier this year, the Home Office is issuing new rules preventing fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) re-appointing senior fire officers post-retirement other than in exceptional circumstances. Any re-appointments will have to be agreed by a vote of the members of the FRAs and should only be considered where it is necessary to protect public safety.

A long-serving chief fire officer on a typical salary of around £140,000 can potentially access a lump sum from their pension pot of over £400,000 and then avoid employee pension contributions of more than £20,000 a year after being re-employed in the same role.

The new rules are included in a revised Fire and Rescue National Framework for England being consulted on today. The Framework, last issued in 2012, sets priorities and objectives for fire and rescue authorities in England and has been revised to reflect the Government’s fire reform programme.

Nick Hurd said: “This Government is reforming fire and rescue services to ensure they are more accountable and effective in performing their vital duties.

“The practice of boomerang bosses is not acceptable, which is why we have taken action to rule it out. It undermines confidence in the fire and rescue services, who do such a brilliant job keeping us safe and gives the impression there is one rule for rank and file firefighters and another for those at the top.”

The Home Office will further review and update the National Framework in due course to ensure that recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the final report of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety are appropriately reflected.

The revised Framework will:

  • Outline the role of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service and the National Fire Chiefs Council in England;
  • Embed the transformation of local governance arrangements where Mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners take on responsibility for fire and rescue services; and
  • Support the ambitious programme for workforce reform including enhancing professional standards, management, leadership, training, equality and diversity