Sixth police, fire and crime commissioner announced
A sixth police and crime commissioner (PCC) is set to take on responsibility for governing their local fire and rescue service.
North Yorkshire PCC Julia Mulligan’s case to take over governance of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was approved by the Home Office on Wednesday (June 13).
She will join five other police, fire and crime commissioners (PFCCs) who have already taken advantage of laws passed last year to drive greater collaboration between the two organisations.
Ms Mulligan believes her new role will allow the local force and fire service to make joint savings of at least £6.6 million through efficiencies in sharing buildings and back office support functions.
The announcement comes in the same week the Government announced new measures will be enacted allowing more PCCs to take a seat on their local fire authorities.
By working closer together, police and fire and rescue services can share best practice and innovative thinking to improve the services provided to local people
Ms Mulligan said: “I’m pleased that the Home Secretary has recognised the benefits that joint oversight of police and fire services will bring to the people of North Yorkshire.
“By bringing both organisations under the same governance, we can increase the speed and depth at which we collaborate, improve transparency and efficiency of both organisations, saving at least £6.6 million, to be reinvested into frontline policing and fire services.
“This process has not been without controversy, and I would like to thank and acknowledge all the councillors and MPs that have contributed to, and scrutinised, my business case and consultation to make sure that this was a robust process.”
More than 2,500 people responded to Ms Mulligan’s consultation on how her office could best collaborate with North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, with 71 per cent preferring PCC-led oversight.
The approval means she will become the sixth PFCC since Roger Hirst, PFCC for Essex, took on the new responsibilities in October 2017.
Other PCCs who have made the transition to PFCC include Stephen Mold (Northamptonshire); John Campion (West Mercia); Matthew Ellis (Staffordshire); and Jason Ablewhite (Cambridgeshire).
All six PFCCs so far have been Conservatives.
On Tuesday (June 12), the Home Office revealed further details of its plans to give more PCCs voting rights on fire authorities.
Under changes coming into force this autumn, all PCCs will be able to be represented on their local fire and rescue authority, subject to the organisation’s approval.
Doing so should allow PCCs voting rights on decisions made in relation to their local fire and rescue services, such as finances and staffing.
This new provision follows a government consultation last November that found 91 per cent of fire authorities supported it, with just two making objections.
The Government said it is exploring the concerns of these two authorities to determine whether the representation model could be applied to them.
Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd said: “By working closer together, police and fire and rescue services can share best practice and innovative thinking to improve the services provided to local people.
“These changes mean that all locally elected police and crime commissioners can be given a seat at the table of their local fire and rescue authority – meaning every area in England is able to reap the rewards of collaboration.”