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We want your views about changing the governance of the Fire and Rescue Service in Northamptonshire.
What’s being proposed?
Following new government initiatives for greater joint working between emergency services, a change to the governance of the Fire and Rescue Service in Northamptonshire is being proposed.
What will change?
The Fire and Rescue Service in Northamptonshire is currently governed by the Fire Authority and sits within Northamptonshire County Council – it is proposed that the governance of the Fire and Rescue Service transfers to the Police and Crime Commissioner, who would become the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
How would this effect the Police and the Fire and Rescue service?
The government wants our emergency services to work much more collaboratively and has recently changed the law to allow this to happen. We already do this really well in Northamptonshire, however this change means there is now a greater opportunity for our Fire and Rescue Service and our Police Force to work much more closely together to keep our communities safe.
Both organisations would stay separate – the Police would not become Firefighters and would not carry hoses. Firefighters would not become the Police, and would not carry handcuffs. Both organisations would keep their separate uniforms, and carry on delivering separate skills.
However they would work more closely together in common areas to help keep you safer. This may involve Firefighters checking window and door locks at the same time as checking smoke alarms, and both organisations working together to prevent fires and crimes.
The budget for the Fire and Rescue Service is currently part of the overall County Council budget. As part of this proposed new governance there would be a separate line on your council tax bill identified solely for the Fire and Rescue Service – just as there is for the Police – making it totally transparent – so you’ll know exactly what is being spent on your local fire service.
The current Police and Crime Commissioner’s ambition is to increase funding into the frontline. This will be achieved through saving money by sharing premises and combining administration functions, and also by potentially increasing the amount we ask the public to pay towards fire services by only 3 pence a week.
How would the Fire and Rescue service be governed?
The new Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner would govern both the Police Force and the Fire and Rescue Service.
They would hold the Chief Fire Officer to account in exactly the same way the current Police and Crime Commissioner holds the Chief Constable to account.
The Chief Fire Officer and Chief Constable would continue to be operationally independent and responsible for the day to day running of their services.
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner would be an elected official held to account by the public at the ballot box. The next election is 2020. In addition, their decisions would be scrutinised by a Police, Fire and Crime Panel, made up of a small number of locally elected councillors and independent members.
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner would replace the existing Fire Authority – which has 57 councillors. This proposed new governance model is smaller, reduces bureaucracy and allows important strategic decisions to be made much more quickly.
What do you think?
We want to know if you agree with the proposal for the governance of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue service to pass to the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner, and what benefits and concerns you see for Northamptonshire Police and Fire and Rescue services working closer together.