No backing for PCC’s Fire and Rescue plan
A proposal for West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner to take on governance of local fire services is set to fail to gain the support of Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet.
John Campion claims his plan to take on the roles of the two local fire authorities would result in £4m worth of savings.
But the council’s cabinet is set to reject the scheme because it believes the ability to deliver the promised savings are uncertain and that it would reduce the service’s resilience.and result in a risk of a loss of control.
The proposals came about because Mr Campion carried out a consultation on the changing of governance arrangements for the Shropshire & Wrekin and Hereford & Worcester fire authorities. His aim was to improve local fire services as well as making the proposed saving.
Council leader Councillor Shaun Davies asked the authority’s Customer, Community and Partnership Scrutiny Committee to review the proposal and provide a recommendation as to whether cabinet should support the proposals.
However, the committee found that it was unlikely the proposed savings could be made as described and this could mean that they would have to be delivered through other means, which could have an adverse impact on service delivery.
The committee also expressed concerns that the savings could result in some posts being lost leading to a reduction in the service’s resilience.
Councillor Gilly Reynolds, chairman of the council’s Customer, Community and Partnership Scrutiny Committee, added: “If governance is transferred to a single political candidate, with a wider geographical remit and with the challenge of governing both West Mercia Police and two fire authorities, the voice of local people may be lost or at best diminished.
“Both Shropshire & Wrekin and Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Authorities are currently well respected and are not failing, as is the case in other areas where a PCC is taking over the governance of an FRA. In fact, Shropshire & Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority is one of the top five performing FRAs in the country.
“For all these reasons, the committee found no merit in the PCC’s proposals, especially within the context of a well performing Fire and Rescue Authority, and welcomes current efforts at collaboration and encourage this to be continued.”
The council’s cabinet, which meets on September 14, is being recommended to not support the Police and Crime Commissioner’s proposals.