Give us your views at www.northantsfireproposals.co.uk
Stephen Mold, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, has today announced a public consultation on proposals that would see the governance of the county’s Fire and Rescue Service move from Northamptonshire County Council to the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner.
Following extensive negotiations during the first half of 2017, the PCC will also officially begin consultation with Fire Service employees, police officers and staff and Northamptonshire County Council, in line with legal procedures.
The plans – which if adopted would come in to effect from April 2018 – have been drawn-up following recent changes in legislation as part of the government’s desire to create more collaboration between emergency services at local levels. This builds on successful work already undertaken between Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.
As part of these proposals, the Police and Crime Commissioner plans to increase investment in to the frontline of both the Police and Fire services. Under the proposals, both organisations would stay separate and keep their separate uniforms, and carry on delivering separate skills. The Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer would continue to be operationally independent and solely responsible for the day-to-day running of their own specific services.
If accepted, the new arrangement would see the PCC become the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for the County, a role which would involve the Commissioner holding the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police and Chief Fire Officer of the Fire and Rescue Service to account on behalf of the public, for the performance of their respective organisations.
However, both organisations would work more closely together in common areas to help keep the people of Northamptonshire safer. The Police and the Fire and Rescue Service would have more aligned strategic plans that would help shape a safer county. Where it made sense to do so, premises would be shared and administration functions combined to save money that would be released back to front-line services.
Police and Fire and Rescue Service budgets would be ring-fenced and would be collected as part of each households council tax, in line with current arrangements. However, the Fire and Rescue Service precept would be shown separately from the total council tax, just as the Police precept currently is, to ensure transparency for tax payers. The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner would then allocate a budget to the Chief Fire Officer to run the organisation, as he currently does for the Police and Chief Constable.
Public consultation on the plans – which is available to take part in at www.northantsfireproposals.co.uk – will run from Tuesday, 20th June until Tuesday, 1st August and is open to all residents of the county.
Police and Commissioner for Northamptonshire, Stephen Mold, said:
“It has always been my ambition to increase investment in to the frontline of our emergency services and creating a single governance model for the Police and Fire and Rescue Service will allow us to make that goal a reality.
“It will save significant amounts of public money which we will reinvest in to frontline services. It will enable us to increase our preventative work across both police and fire areas while giving the public a level of transparency when it comes to spending by the Fire and Rescue Service that hasn’t been available under the previous governance model.
“Northamptonshire has led the way in demonstrating how emergency service collaboration can help to increase efficiency and effectiveness, and I’m determined that we build on this work to continue to create a safer county through enhancing the resources available to the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer.
“All our emergency services share the goal of keeping the people of Northamptonshire safe and through further integration with the fire service, we will increase our shared abilities to deliver a safer county for those who live and work here.
“Having reviewed the business case for this proposal, I’m confident that a change in governance is in the best interests of everyone in Northamptonshire. However, we want to hear from as many people as possible in the county around their views and concerns, to ensure they are accurately represented as we move forward.”
Chief Fire Officer, Darren Dovey, commented:
“Ensuring that we are able to keep the people of Northamptonshire safe is our number one priority and having spoken at length with the Police and Crime Commissioner, I am confident that these proposals will enhance our ability to develop the emergency services within the County in a progressive way, whilst allowing us to maintain our positive and productive relationship with the County Council.
“The proposed change in governance would complement and build on our existing collaborations with the Police while allowing the Fire and Rescue Service to retain its operational independence. It would ensure full visibility around the amount of funding that is allocated to the Fire and Rescue Service and would allow us to make decisions in a more streamlined manner.
“This would in turn lead to a more sustainable Fire and Rescue service, providing us with greater resilience and better enabling long term strategic planning. In short, I believe that our ability to make Northamptonshire safer – both now and in the future – would benefit from this change.
“I would urge everyone to make the time to take part in the public consultation so we can take their views in to account, and answer any questions they may have.”
Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police, Simon Edens, added:
“Northamptonshire’s police and fire services have been working together for many years to deal with emergencies and protect people from harm. Our more recent collaboration in areas such as prevention and emergency and contingency planning has demonstrated how we can work together successfully to keep the public safe.
“Both services share the same vision of a safer Northamptonshire and I believe the proposals will help us improve efficiency and make the best use of our resources to help us better protect people from harm.
“This is an important consultation about the future governance of our police and fire services and I would encourage people to complete the survey and take the opportunity to share their views.”