A public consultation has been launched today, Monday, on whether the Cambridgehsire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite should take over governance of Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue.
New legislation means that Police and Crime Commissioners can take on responsibility for fire and rescue services in their area where a good case is made to do so.
Over the last few months, the Commissioner has been working with police and fire colleagues to explore options that could give him a greater role in the governance of Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.
A business case has been independently produced by PA Consulting to set out the four options. Following consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of each option, it recommends that the Police and Crime Commissioner takes on the governance of the fire and rescue service.
A link to the consultation can be found on the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website here, together with a summary of the proposals and a quick survey to enable people to share their views.
Mr Ablewhite said: “One of my roles as Police and Crime Commissioner is to explore options for collaboration with other emergency services where there are potential benefits to be had. I believe that there are many advantages to be gained if I take on responsibility for the governance of the Fire and Rescue Service such as savings through better use of fire and police estates, closer and quicker joint working between the two services, and savings through a simpler governance process.
“Collaboration between Blue Light Services in Cambridgeshire is already strong especially since I took up office last year where I have been helping fire with joint estate solutions for training. The proposal is not a takeover of fire and rescue services, or a merger of the roles of police officers and firefighters. The distinction between operational policing and firefighting will be maintained.
“I believe that by taking on the governance arrangements from the (now) council run fire authority, I can provide greater accountability and transparency of both police and fire services and can maximise front-line resources and improve public safety. What this means in practice is that I will be responsible for such things as decisions on how Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service spends its budget and whether new fire service facilities should be built or shared with other emergency services.
“I am keen to hear people’s views of the proposal. A description of the options and a short online survey can be found on my website: www.cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk/fire
Funding has been provided by central government to support the development of the business case.
After the consultation the Local Business Case will be revised to take on board consultation comments and submitted to the Home Office for approval in the autumn. If approved the new arrangements would be introduced on 01 April, 2018.