Posted: Wednesday 19th July 2017
Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet has formally decided that the council will object to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s proposal to take control of Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The county council’s Cabinet discussed their response to the PCC’s plans for taking over governance of the fire service from the county council, which has run the fire service in Hertfordshire since 1948.
Late last week, the county council’s cross-party Community Safety and Waste panel recommended that Cabinet should object to the PCC’s proposals on the grounds that they are not in the interests of economy, efficiency, effectiveness, or, most importantly, public safety.
The Cabinet met following a meeting of full County Council, at which all councillors present also voted in unanimous, cross-party support to oppose the proposal.
In order to continue building on the already-strong collaboration between the emergency services, Cabinet also agreed to the panel’s recommendation that the Police and Crime Commissioner should be given a seat on the county council’s Cabinet where he would be able to play a strong role in the governance of the fire service, without the disruption, uncertainty, risk, and not least the cost that would be incurred by transferring control.
Terry Hone, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is an integral part of the county council and is supported by efficient back-office arrangements shared with a range of other services, all of which deliver high quality services for our residents.
“The existing service is much more than just an emergency service. Working as part of Hertfordshire County Council, the fire and rescue service is well-trusted and has an excellent reputation with our residents. The key role the service plays in local communities is made easier by firefighters working closely alongside other council staff like social workers, public health specialists and trading standards. This also makes a huge difference to keeping our residents healthy and safe.
“This Tuesday, Cabinet voted in formal agreement of the panel’s proposals. We recognise that it is important for emergency services to work together, so the best option for the fire service would be for it to remain part of the county council, with the PCC given a strong formal role in how it is run.”
You can read the panel paper, which details the recommendations to Cabinet, here.