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More police to be given fire authority voting rights

13 June 2018

THE HOME Office has announced it will bring forward legislation which will enable more areas to access the benefits of emergency service collaboration.

Under the changes coming into force in the autumn, it will be possible for all police and crime commissioners (PCCs) to be represented on their local fire and rescue authority (FRA), subject to the consent of the FRA.

This means PCCs can have voting rights on important decisions made in relation to their local fire and rescue services. This could include matters such as finances and staffing.

It is for individual FRAs to decide whether to grant membership if a PCC makes a request. In interests of transparency FRAs will be required to publish their decisions.

Minister for policing and the fire service, Nick Hurd, said: "By working closer together, police and fire and rescue services can share best practice and innovative thinking to improve the services provided to local people.

"These changes mean that all locally elected police and crime commissioners can be given a seat at the table of their local fire and rescue authority – meaning every area in England is able to reap the rewards of collaboration."

Voting rights provisions already apply to county and metropolitan FRAs and the government believes that the same level of transparency should be extended to the 23 combined FRAs across England, which cover more than one local authority area.

The move follows a consultation launched in 27 November on the proposals. The responses showed 91% of affected fire authorities backed the move.

Two FRAs were found to have objections, and the government is exploring their specific concerns to determine whether the representation model can be applied to them.