Amanda Milling, Member of Parliament for Cannock Chase, has welcomed the announcement by the Home Secretary that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will take over the responsibility for the governance of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The changes to the governance of the Fire & Rescue Service comes about from provisions made in the Policing and Crime Act 2017, which looked to improve collaboration between emergency services. Subsequently Matthew Ellis, Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, last year carried out an extensive public consultation on proposals to take over the governance of the Fire & Rescue Authority. The implementation of these changes could see savings of as much as £2million coming about from removing duplication across the services and better joint working between Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire & Rescue services.
Currently Fire and Rescue Services are run by a panel of appointed Councillors from local authorities, called Fire Authorities. Under plans approved by the Home Office, the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority will be abolished and its powers transferred to Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner. While the governance for the services will rest with a single elected public office, Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service will not be merged and will both remain as separate services.
This move is one which the Cannock Chase MP has been calling for since being elected to Parliament in 2015. Indeed, she campaigned to see the provision for Police and Crime Commissioners to take over the responsibility for Fire and Rescue Services ahead of the introduction of the Policing and Crime Bill being laid in the House of Commons in 2015. She has been campaigning subsequently to ensure that these changes are made in Staffordshire.
Amanda Milling said: “I have long called for Police and Crime Commissioners to have the ability to take responsibility for Fire and Rescue Services. I was very pleased when this was included in the Policing and Crime Bill back in 2015 and I am therefore particularly pleased that this will move will now be implemented in Staffordshire. Passing the powers to the Police and Crime Commissioner means that the taxpayer will see better value for money from their Police and Fire & Rescue services. It is logical for the two services to share their back office functions and remove duplication. The savings from doing so can then be directed to the front line. I look forward to seeing Matthew Ellis deliver on his plans for greater collaboration across the two services.”
The Cannock Chase MP added: “The removal of Police Authorities in 2012 and replacing them with a single elected individual has been very successful in Staffordshire, bringing about direct accountability over how Staffordshire Police services are run, new ways of thinking and far higher visibility of decision making for the public. I am very pleased that the way Fire & Rescue Services are run will mirror these changes and the service will become truly accountable to the public.”
Amanda Milling MP wrote about this issue in 2015 - https://www.conservativehome.com/localgovernment/2015/12/amanda-milling-time-for-accountability-in-the-fire-brigade.html