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29 August 2018, 17:15 | Updated: 29 August 2018, 17:18
"Misleading" and "flawed" - Norfolk County Council slates case by Police and Crime Commissioner in his bid to run their Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service
"The Police and Crime Commissioner is putting public safety at risk" is the message that came loud and clear from today's Meeting of Norfolk County Council's Communities Committee.
Earlier today, Councillors from all parties agreed a formal detailed response to the PCC's business case on the future governance of Norfolk Fire and Rescue, which is currently run by Norfolk County Council (NCC).
A number of concerns have been raised by the council about the business case including:
" Removing the fire and rescue service from the County Council presents a significant financial risk to the service, and therefore a risk to public safety
" The claimed £10m efficiency figure is misleading, because the claimed efficiencies and changes are speculative and untested
" The medium term financial plan figures are flawed, because they are based on inaccurate assumptions
" It is not clear which Service will benefit from any claimed savings and additional investment
" The proposal makes a number of assumptions and untested claims
" The cost and disruption of change is unquantified and untested
" The proposed changes to operational response are not clearly articulated and have not been assessed, and therefore there is a significant risk to their deliverability
" The claimed benefits could be achieved without a change in governance, and without the associated cost and disruption
Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Chair of Norfolk County Council's Communities Committee, explains: "We have carefully reviewed the PCC's business case and have serious concerns over the reliability of its content. It's filled with assumptions and inaccurate information that just don't stack up to present a viable case for change, nor deliver the efficiencies promised.
"Norfolk County Council has been running Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service since 1974. Based on many years of experience, NFRS is managed efficiently, effectively and economically. It is safe in our hands.
"We are worried that the PCC is putting public safety at risk if he continues to pursue taking control over our Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service."
As the only Councillor sitting on both the Police and Crime Panel and the Communities Committees and as the member who called for this extraordinary meeting, Sarah Butikofer has welcomed the collaboration of all the political groups at the County Council saying public safety must surely always be our first priority as representatives of the residents of Norfolk.
NCC is encouraging the public to read www.norfolk.gov.uk/insafehands and respond to the Police and Crime Commissioner's consultation. The consultation can be found here: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/NorfolkPCC-Case-for-Change