Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has described today’s county council debate over fire and rescue service governance as ‘a missed opportunity’.

Martin Surl said the outcome, with the majority of the 53 councillors who sit on the fire authority voting against change, was totally predictable.

“Since the county council is the fire authority, anything other than a ‘No’ vote would have been like a confession that someone else might be able to oversee the service better than them”, said the PCC.

“But what was most disappointing was that once again there was little consideration given to how things might change for the better and how we might be able to work together for the greater benefit of the fire service and the people of Gloucestershire”.

“Despite what councillors say, governance is not a merger, nor am I attempting a ‘hostile takeover’, nor am I ‘empire building’. Governance is what a good manager does. It’s keeping a careful eye on the books; making sure the fire and rescue service runs efficiently for the benefit of the whole community.

“A report, produced independently by PA Consulting and refreshed by my office, shows a change in governance would:

  • Make Gloucestershire safer and our communities stronger by delivering services that would otherwise be unaffordable.
  • Enhance and improve services by unlocking the potential that closer collaboration brings and
  • Provide clearer transparency and accountability

“The public consultation runs until 21 December and I have every confidence people in Gloucestershire who pay their council tax and submit their views by clicking here, will have a more open-minded approach than those on the county council”.