A decision by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority to move forward with work looking at collaboration and integration between emergency services in the county has been welcomed.
A meeting of the Fire Authority on Tuesday, December 15, agreed a recommendation that a group of senior officers should fully explore the benefits and risks of integration and collaboration.
Councillors on the Fire Authority also agreed a panel should be established to scrutinise the work of those senior officers. Those scrutinising the work of senior officers would also explore the benefits and risks of integration and collaboration.
The Authority also agreed that a progress update would be made at the next Fire Authority meeting in February on the work in this area.
Leading figures in Staffordshire, including the Police and Crime Commissioner, have welcomed the decision to move forward with work looking at collaboration.
Deputy Leader of Staffordshire County Council Ian Parry said, “This decision to understand in detail the benefits and challenges of integrating police and fire services is the right way forward. Spending every pound more efficiently is what we are about in Staffordshire and Stoke-On-Trent and this is a great example that could benefit substantially the people in our area.”
Deputy Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Councillor Abi Brown said, “This is the right decision by the Fire Authority and represents a tremendous opportunity for the police service and the Fire Authority in Staffordshire to reduce duplication and ensure more money goes to the frontline to both police and fire services.”
Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis has called for joint working and further co-operation among public services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to increase value for money for communities.
Following the Fire Authority decision, he said, “This is forward thinking and a sensible approach by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority members. It is absolutely essential that we reduce duplication in support services and move more money to support frontline policing and the frontline fire and rescue service. This is about Staffordshire showing the way forward for better integrated, more cost effective and more joined up services for the public.”
The scrutiny group would include five members of the Fire Authority, a member of Stoke-on-Trent Council, a member of Staffordshire County Council and the Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Fire Authority meeting was held at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service headquarters.