Fire and rescue policy to move to the Home Office

homeofficeThe Prime Minister today (5 January 2016) confirmed that Ministerial responsibility for fire and rescue policy will transfer to the Home Office from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Responsibility for fire and rescue policy will move from the Department for Communities and Local Government to the Home Office with immediate effect.

The Rt Hon Mike Penning MP will assume responsibility for the portfolio becoming Minister for Policing, Fire, Criminal Justice and Victims, Mr Penning will take over from Mark Francois, the previous Fire Minister.

This change, while not a surprise considering the recent government consultation paper on ‘Emergency Services Collaboration’, has come much sooner than we had anticipated. There is a large element of the unknown in terms of what this change will mean in both the short and long term for both our members and the fire service as a whole in England. However, one thing is certain, there will be further collaboration between emergency services in the future and we expect changes locally where some Police and Crime Commissioners will take over the responsibility of their local fire service.

The new minister will wish to meet with stakeholders in the near future and we will, as with all new Fire Ministers, be keen to promote the benefits of the expansion and more effective utilisation of operational personnel working the Retained Duty System (RDS), we believe we will be the only organisation pushing this agenda.

We will provide members with an update following the meeting with the new Fire Minister.