Commissioner Launches Fire Governance Consultation
Proposals for closer joint working between the Fire and Police services have been published by Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Currently, Hertfordshire County Council runs the fire service as well as Adult Care services, Children’s Services, Roads, Waste, Libraries, Schools and Transport. The money spent on fire accounts for around 4% of the council’s budget.

The Policing and Crime Act came into force in January. It encourages greater collaboration between emergency services and has brought in legislation which encourages PCCs to examine new governance arrangements.

A business case has been developed which shows significant benefits:
  • Improved public safety through collaborative training and joint operational activity, enabling better coordination and the streamlining of decision-making across the emergency services. This will improve response to road traffic accidents and other major inter-agency incidents.
  • A better use of resources, such as a co-located control room and innovation through shared police and fire estates.
  • Flexibility to determine the most financially beneficial option for back office services and corporate support, for example, vehicle maintenance.
  • Greater protection of the fire budget, meaning the taxes raised for fire are spent on fire, rather than being diverted to other services.
  • Collaborative procurement between services, enabling savings by maximising the collective buying power where operational requirements allow.
  • Increased accountability from the public, with a directly elected person accountable for their actions.
  • A unique identity for both services. This is not a merger and both services would remain independent, with a Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer in charge of their own operational matters.
A full public consultation into the governance proposals began on the June

David Lloyd says this proposal would bring benefits to both services and to the safety of public:

"I believe it makes sense for the fire and police service to work more closely together. Having joint governance improves efficiency, provides exciting opportunities for collaborating and making the best use of our existing resources."

"It’s important to remember this will not affect the operational control of either Hertfordshire Constabulary or Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service. There’ll still be a Chief Constable and a Chief Fire Officer - the services will remain distinct."

"By bringing the strategy and governance closer, it will speed up the pace of better collaboration between all our emergency services, which is great news for the public."

The Fire Service budget would remain separate from the Police, and removing it from the County Council would, the Commissioner says, protect it from being diverted into other non-fire related services.

You can read the full business case and see a helpful summary of all the main points at the dedicated consultation page. You can also comment on the proposals and ask questions.