Norfolk's PCC eyes up fire governance

17 July 2018, 08:05 | Updated: 17 July 2018, 08:43

Lorne Green

Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner has launched a consultation on whether he should take on governing the county's fire service too.

Lorne Green says improved efficiency could save £10 million over ten years.

He has launched a consultation on plans that would see him become the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner - and told Heart there's a chance for the county's emergency services to work together more effectively.

"I've been presented with an independent business case that says that we can keep this county even safer, we can be more effective, efficient and economical," he said.

"And in the process that we can - through efficiency savings - free up over £10 million over ten years.

"That's a million pounds a year going back into emergency services, with no fire station closures, no merger between the two important services - fire and rescue and police, {and} no compulsory redundancies."

Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service (NFRS) is currently governed by Norfolk County Council's Communities Committee which also oversees libraries, museums, archives and arts.

In 2017, a new legal duty for the three main emergency services to collaborate was enacted by Parliament.

"This new legislation has presented an opportunity for PCCs to look at whether collaboration between the two services could be made simpler, faster and better", added Lorne.

"As your PCC, I hold the police to account for joint working, whilst the fire and rescue service is overseen by a committee at Norfolk County Council - which means twice the governance.

"I believe the governance of the fire service sits better alongside a fellow emergency service, rather than with a council committee which also oversees libraries, museums, archives and arts.

"One of the real benefits of the role of PCCs is that it is not hamstrung or delayed by a complex structure of committees, sub-committees and immovable meetings. PCCs can make informed, evidence-based decisions in a sharper, quicker and more effective manner."

The 'A Case for Change' consultation will run until Wednesday 5 September 2018.