Trailblazing Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners are making a difference
As the Government prepares to consult on plans to change how fire services are governed, a new report sets out how Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners (PFCCs) are already delivering efficient and effective fire and rescue services in parts of England.
Fire and Rescue Governance: In Focus, published today by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), contains contributions from the elected PFCCs of Essex, North Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, and Staffordshire.
Philip Allott, the North Yorkshire PFCC who leads on emergency service collaboration for the APCC, said: “There are significant benefits and opportunities that the PFCC role offers to the public and to fire and rescue services.
“For example, we provide strong local accountability. Elected PFCCs are directly accountable to the communities we serve.
“We consult on local priorities, ensuring people have a real say on how fire and rescue services are run and delivered in their areas. And we deliver value for money by setting an open and transparent fire and rescue service budget.
“We enhance public safety by enabling greater collaboration across bluelight services too. This can save money to be re-invested back into valuable front line services. It also allows PFCCs to explore ways police and fire can work together to protect vulnerable people.”
The report covers these benefits in more detail. For example:
- In Mr Allott’s area, support functions of the police force and fire service – covering human resources, ICT, estates, finance and business planning - are now joined under a pioneering organisation, Enable North Yorkshire.
- In Essex, PFCC Roger Hirst has ensured a once side-lined public service is now at the heart of the county’s emergency response to the pandemic.
- PFCC Stephen Mold has turned the struggling Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service around and given it a ring-fenced budget.
- And closer working between police and fire in Staffordshire, overseen by PFCC Ben Adams, is set to save more than £1million a year by 2022/23.
Lord Stephen Greenhalgh, Minister of State for Fire, said: “Through our forthcoming White Paper, we will consult on how governance in the fire sector can be improved, including expanding the role for Police and Crime Commissioners. I’m confident the PFCC model provides greater accountability, consistency, and transparency.”