Posted: Friday 14th July 2017
An all-party panel has unanimously recommended that Hertfordshire County Council should object to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s proposal to take control of Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The Community Safety and Waste Management Cabinet Panel was discussing the county council’s 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.
The panel is recommending that the county council should object to the PCC’s proposals on the grounds that they are not in the interests of economy, efficiency or effectiveness, or in the interests of public safety.
Terry Hone, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Chair of the panel, 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 and having firefighters working closely alongside other council staff like social workers, public health specialists and trading standards makes a huge difference to keeping our residents healthy and safe.
“We do recognise that it’s important for emergency services to work together, so the recommendation the panel is making to Cabinet is that the best option for the fire service would be for it to remain part of the county council, but with the PCC given a strong formal role in how it’s run.“
The panel is also recommending that, in order to improve collaboration between the emergency services, 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 cost of transferring control.
The panel’s recommendations will be discussed by the full County Council on 18 July, before the council’s Cabinet makes the formal decision later that day on whether or not to object to the PCC’s proposals.
The panel paper, including the recommendations to Cabinet, can be found at http://cmis.hertfordshire.gov.uk/hertfordshire/Calendarofcouncilmeetings/tabid/70/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/397/Meeting/787/Committee/53/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx
The Police and Crime Commissioners business case and consultation can be found at www.hertscommissioner.org/fire