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Three more PCCs to assume control of fire services

03 April 2018

THE HOME Office has confirmed that three more Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are set to take on responsibility of local fire and rescue services.

The PCCs that are about to widen their remint include John Campion, PCC for West Mercia; Matthew Ellis, PCC for Staffordshire; and Jason Ablewhite, PCC for Cambridgeshire.

This announcement builds on the provisions of the Policing and Crime Act 2017, which introduced measures enabling PCCs to submit a proposal to the Home Secretary to take on governance of a Fire and Rescue Authority where a local case was made.

These PCCs will join Roger Hirst of Essex, who became the country’s first police, fire and crime commissioner in October 2017.

In their proposals, each PCC has identified a number of collaborative opportunities through the new governance structure. These include shared estate and back office functions and closer alignment on prevention and resource deployment.

Before submitting their proposal, each PCC was required to undertake a local consultation considering the views of relevant local stakeholders. As the relevant local authorities in each PCC’s area did not support the transfer of governance, the Home Secretary commissioned independent assessments of each proposal in November 2017.

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) carried out each independent assessment. CIFPA has substantial public finance expertise and works closely with police, and fire and rescue services and was therefore well placed to carry out these assessments.

As this process must be independent of government, it was for CIPFA to determine the conduct of their assessment, and to provide the Home Secretary with its opinion as to whether the statutory tests set out in the act had been met. In doing so, CIPFA sought the views of the local police force, fire service and local authorities.

The Home Secretary carefully considered the contents of the proposals, consultation materials, the views and representations made by statutory consultees and the PCC responses to them. Together with the independent assessment, the Home Secretary was satisfied the proposals demonstrated that a transfer of governance would be in the interests of the local economy, efficiency and effectiveness, without having an adverse effect upon public safety.