Fire and Rescue Services - the demand
On 18 May 2018 we held a facilitated discussion for the support officers from Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire and West Mercia PCPs, who have recently been granted responsibilty for their local Fire and Rescue Services.
The discussion was led by Rob Fox, the support officer for Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel and it was well received.
The session highlighted the Essex experience of the PFCP in taking on the additional fire and rescue service responsibilty. A number of Panels have expressed an anxiety about this and whist there ahs been an increase in work, it does not appear to have been unmanagable. Clearly, local dynamics play a key part. The relationship between the PCC and PFCP is strong, which always helps. However, Essex have taken a pragmatic approach with theor arrangements. We will keep a close eye on our new pathfinders and sure you will to. It will be interesting to see whether the Essex experience is shared by others, time will tell.
It was reported that whilst the Panel had not increased their number of meetings, the duration of meetings had been marginally exended. Items were selected on a priority basis, as opposed to having Police and Fire items on every agenda. This is an approach we would endorse and links to the training sessions we provide on developing work programmes and prioritisation. It was pretty much business as usual for Essex, which colleagues found reassuring.
There was a discussion around whether it was essential to have people appointed onto the Panel with Fire experience. The consensus was that it was not. This mirrors the approach taken by Local Authority Scrutiny Committees, with emphasis placed on scrutiny skills as opposed to technical experience. It was felt too much technical experience could result in operational matters being raised, alhough it was acepted there is a balance to be struck.
We are pleased to announce that there will a session on Fire and Rescue services at this years conference so watch this space. In the meantime, please find attached a copy of the terms of reference for the Essex Fire, Police and Crime Panel.
Published: 20 May 2018