Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100

Emergency Service Collaboration

In July 2014, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire was successful in applying for funding from the three government departments to establish an Emergency Services Collaboration Working Group (ESCWG) to look in more depth at the position of collaboration nationally with a remit to provide strategic leadership, guidance and an overview of collaborations across England and Wales. In September 2014 the Home Office undertook an initial review to map the current landscape of collaboration between blue lights nationally with a view to providing an evidence base for the commissioning of further research by the working group into specific areas. The initial review asked a number of ambulance trusts, fire and rescue authorities, and police forces across England and Wales to provide examples of collaboration they were engaged with and their future plans. In doing so, the national overview provided a snapshot in time of where blue light collaboration is occurring across the country.

Building on the national overview, the working group commissioned The Universities of Nottingham, Birmingham and West Scotland in conjunction with the charity Skills for Justice, to identify how services could work together to improve delivery at a time of restricted public funding. This research focused on six emergency services collaboration projects across England and Wales, covering efficient services, effective services and emerging best practice, and aimed to identify the factors that have resulted in a number of very positive collaborations and the main barriers to increasing the scope and speed of collaboration between services in England and Wales.

The results of the commissioned research can be found here

Emergency Services Collaboration Working Group – The Current Picture

The Emergency Services Collaboration Working Group are pleased to launch the refreshed National Overview (2016). The refreshed overview is designed to provide services and associations with a variety of examples of significant collaborative projects from across the country, which are designed to help deliver the efficient and effective emergency services everyone would like to see. The review is designed to be as accessible as possible and to be used in accordance with local needs and priorities.

Fire Governance

As set out in the Policing and Crime Act 2017, Police and Crime Commissioners are now able to examine the options for taking over governance of their local Fire and Rescue Service.

In Hertfordshire, David Lloyd first stated his intention to investigate this proposal in 2016, and again in his Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan, published in 2017.

He believes there may be an opportunity to increase transparency, make the service more accountable and improve public safety and the overall efficiency of the service.

In December 2016, he commissioned an investigation to examine whether there is a good business case for bringing the governance of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority under his responsibility.

This Outline Business Case, published in March 2017, suggests there may be potential benefits to pursuing this model:

  • Improved interoperability, through a co-located control room, collaborative training and joint operational activity, enabling better coordination and the streamlining of decision-making across the emergency services. This will improve our response to road traffic accidents and other major inter-agency incidents.
  • Opportunity for better capital investment, the development of community assets, financial savings and innovation through shared police and fire estates.
  • Flexibility to determine the most financially beneficial option for back office service provision and corporate support, for example, vehicle maintenance.
  • Collaborative procurement between services, enabling substantial savings by maximising the collective buying power where operational requirements allow.
  • Delivery of efficiencies through a more coordinated use of joint resources, including Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and retained on-call fire-fighters, to bolster local policing teams and improve visibility.
  • Opportunities for improvements in public safety through bringing together an evidence base to inform preventative work and deliver improved safety outcomes for the public.
  • The outline business case has indicated that these benefits could achieve yearly revenue benefits of between £1.2m and £4m and one-off capital receipts of between £3.3m and £15.4m
David Lloyd will now commission a full business case to properly examine the potential of any further improvements to public safety and efficiency in Hertfordshire. If this reveals benefits can be achieved, he will put that to a public consultation.

The full business case is not expected to be published until the summer of 2017.

You can read the business case here.