Council agrees next steps in relation to Police Commissioner’s Fire Authority consultation
Shropshire Council has agreed the next steps it will take in response to the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) proposals to combine the Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority with the Shropshire Fire Authority (which includes Telford and Wrekin) under his governance.
Currently the two fire authorities have a governance structure comprised of
elected councillors from their respective local councils.
A consultation into the proposals is due to close on 11 September 2017, after which it is understood that the PCC will submit a case to combine and consolidate the governance of the two fire authorities to the Secretary of State, who should make a decision or appoint a review of the case within three months.
Worcestershire County Council, Herefordshire County Council, Telford and Wrekin Council and Shropshire Council are statutory consultees and the leaders of the four councils have sent a joint letter to the PCC expressing concern about the financial business case that informs the consultation.
At a meeting of Full Council yesterday (20 July 2017) Shropshire councillors agreed that responsibility to respond to the PCC’s consultation is delegated to the Leader of the council, in consultation with the leaders of the opposition parties.
It was also agreed that the Leader should refer the matter to the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, so that the committee can make recommendations for the Leader to consider in the council’s response to the PCC’s consultation.
Councillors also agreed that that the Leader will petition Shropshire’s MPs to support Shropshire Council’s position in relation to the reorganisation of the Fire Authority.
Peter Nutting, Leader of Shropshire Council, said:
“My attitude is that the fire authority should stay under local control. The proposed area covering four counties is far too large and the potential savings are unproved and will probably not materialise.
“I’ve already joined the other council leaders in expressing our concerns about the PCC’s financial business case, and now I welcome council’s unanimous agreement to allow me to seek the views of opposition leaders, scrutiny and our MPs before Shropshire Council submits its formal response to the PCC’s consultation.”
The motion unanimously agreed at Full Council reads:
This Council notes that since the Council report, consultation on the proposal of the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to change the governance of fire authorities, was prepared, the draft letter referred to has been sent to the Police and Crime Commissioner. Other councils have also made it clear that their position on this matter is not confirmed and has been referred to their respective scrutiny committee before further decisions are taken.
This Council resolves that the Leader of the Council should refer this matter to the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, so that the committee may make recommendations for the Leader to consider in any response to be made to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s consultation.
Finally, the Council resolves that the Leader of Shropshire Council will petition Shropshire’s MPs to support Shropshire Council’s position in relation to the reorganisation of the Fire Authority.
For background information, follow this link to the meeting agenda and go to item 11.