PCC receives support from public and workforce on fire governance proposals
More than half of people surveyed by North Yorkshire police and crime commissioner (PCC) Julia Mulligan have supported her proposals for the governance of the fire and rescue service.
More than half of people surveyed by North Yorkshire police and crime commissioner (PCC) Julia Mulligan have supported her proposals for the governance of the fire and rescue service. In a public consultation, Mrs Mulligan proposed that she should take over the governance of the local fire service to enable efficient collaboration with the police service. According to Mrs Mulligans survey, 56 per cent of the 2,341 respondents supported her preferred model of governance, compared to 29 per cent who wish to see her made the 17th member of the fire authority and 15 per cent supported the idea of a single chief officer responsible for both services and answerable to the PCC. The results revealed that 71 per cent of the public and 61 per cent of the workforce want a change in oversight, with just 30 per cent overall opting to retain the fire authority. Closer working between the two services would likely involve sharing police and fire stations. Mrs Mulligan said: “I am heartened that so many people got involved in my consultation and had their say. This is all about improving the service to the public and ensuring we continue to properly protect people into the future. “What`s more, with only 30 per cent of the total preferring to retain the fire authority, it is clear that there is great appetite for change to improve the way the fire and police services work together. People have consistently told me that this makes a lot of common sense.” During the consultation, Mrs Mulligans proposals were rejected by the North Yorkshire County Council and the Police and Crime Panel. Councillor Ashley Mason said panel members have serious concerns that if the fire authority is scrapped, there will be no accountable body to ensure she is doing a good job for both the police and fire service. North Yorkshire County Council recommended the representation model, which would see Mrs Mulligan take a seat on the fire authority. Councillor Carl Les said he wanted to see a more gradual approach to changes and collaboration between the police and fire service. North Yorkshire Fire Authority has confirmed it will be undertaking a review looking at the number of fire vehicles and equipment available within the service and how quickly the response time after Mrs Mulligan criticised its original flawed evaluation. Mrs Mulligan added: “It is very disappointing that the councils do not support my proposals and have opted to put vested interests first. This means additional expense to the public and a prolonged process, when we could be getting on with the job, putting the public first. What`s more, during the past few weeks, I have also raised serious concerns about how the fire service is being managed right now. Fortunately, the fire authority has listened, seen the error of its ways and performed a spectacular U-turn on its flawed fire cover review, which I welcome. However, this also clearly demonstrates that the current arrangements are not fit for purpose and that change is needed. I`d like to thank the workforce and the public for their support and in the meantime, will continue to challenge the status quo.” The final business case will be published in due course.