Should the PCC be governing the fire and rescue service?
The OPCC has now submitted the business case to the Home Secretary for a decision to be made. The following documents include the decision paper from the PCC, the letter to the Home Secretary, and the full business case.
The Police and Crime Commissioner is proposing to take on governance of local fire services in Gloucestershire. Our analysis shows that this would result in:
- Savings that could be reinvested in front line services
- Closer collaboration between police and fire services
- A financially sustainable, standalone fire service, separate from the council and police
- Improved public safety
- No changes to front-line officers or services
- A system of a directly elected Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner
- Improved governance, scrutiny and financial transparency of the county’s Fire and Rescue Service
In order to achieve this, we assessed which option would be best for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service. The options are:
- No change / status quo: This would mean Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service remain part of the County Council and collaboration is progressed on a voluntary basis.
- Representation: This is where the PCC would become a formal part of the existing governance for fire and rescue in GCC, with full voting rights.
- Governance: Here the PCC takes on responsibility for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service in much the same way he currently does for Gloucestershire Constabulary. The role would become the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. Police and fire would retain their own chief officers and staff and be operationally independent of each another.
- Single employer: This is where the PCC would take on responsibility for fire alongside the police and also appoint a single chief officer for both services. Front-line services would remain distinct but support services would be increasingly integrated.
Against a statutory test of critical factors (economy and efficiency, effectiveness, public safety) and an additional assessment of deliverability, our analysis shows that the Governance Model would achieve the best outcomes for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and for Gloucestershire residents.
From this assessment, we have updated the business case from 2017 to include information from the last year that further strengthens the proposal for the Governance Model.
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