The articles, published below, cover the arguments made in the Commissioner's recent consultation into the future of the governance of Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The consultation closed on the 14th August and can be read in more detail at the dedicated website.
Links to the articles:
Telegraph leader comment
David Lloyd’s opinion piece (This article is behind a paywall and is published for transparency below)
'Fire service money is being used to quietly prop up other council-run services'
It looks as if Essex will be a safer place to live from the autumn. I hope the same will be true of many more parts of the country as Police and Crime Commissioners start to take on responsibility for Fire and Rescue. There has never been a more important time for this to happen with public safety and the fire service at the forefront of our minds at the moment.
The changes that have occurred in police governance, with a directly elected commissioner accountable to the public for the planning, provision and budget of the police service, is desperately needed across emergency services and there is a real appetite for the general public to be able to influence the debate.
The Government’s direction of travel is crystal clear: responsibility for the fire service has been transferred to the Home Office and is overseen by the Policing and Fire Minister.
The body which inspects our police forces has just been expanded to include fire and rescue services. It makes sense to have our emergency services more closely aligned, with an accountable leader who is solely focused on ensuring an effective and efficient police and fire service prioritising public safety.
We need a more co-ordinated way of working from the moment 999 is dialled. I believe the call should go to a joint control room and from there the operational response would come from a local joint service community safety hub. This would work well, for example, with road traffic collisions and the rescue of missing people.
However it must go further in areas such as crime prevention and community reassurance. The list of potential areas for better collaboration is long and when it has happened the public will be safer.
Unfortunately the argument still needs to be won in some places. In some areas, including Hertfordshire, those who currently have control want to keep it.
I can understand why – fire service money is being used to quietly prop up other council-run services, although the service is hardly acknowledged either during an election or after it. In areas which have stand-alone fire authorities their representatives are reluctant to lose significant allowances.
This has left the service having to cope with a little less money every year, leaving the IT system creaking and the buildings in need of major refurbishment. I don’t think that is what the public expect. Opponents say this is all about money and in some ways they are right, but not as they imagine.
We can raise enough money for the fire service to ensure that there is the right cover to keep the public safe; but they want to know that money raised for their fire and rescue cover can only be spent on that in a way that the public can scrutinise. I agree, and I think that PCCs are the only people who can guarantee that.
David Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner, Hertfordshire