The coalition government is continuing its 'localism' agenda by ending the influence of regional management boards. The aim of the move, recently announced by Fire Minister Bob Neill, is to enable fire authorities to prioritise their own resources in the best interests of the communities they serve. Issues highlighted in particular as elements of the national framework - which will remain in place - that central government will not become involved in include workforce development, asset management and equality and diversity.  

Bob Neill said: "The coalition government is committed to stopping regional government and cutting away unnecessary layers of bureaucracy by pushing power into the hands of communities.

Bob Neill 

"We have fantastic fire and rescue services in this country and it's time we stopped tying them up in red tape and give them more freedom to serve their communities. We rely on our firefighters to keep us safe, not waste resources on bureaucracy.

"Fire and rescue services are mature enough and professional enough to make their own decisions and to work together to make continuous improvements. I know the sector is keen to step up and show that they are more than capable of supporting their own."

In the light of this announcement, and the new imperative that services support each other, the government has stated that it will end its formal engagement with Cornwall Fire and Rescue Authority. It, according to an official statement, will now only intervene in extreme cases.

This development follows on from recently-announced government plans to scrap regional development agencies and regional assemblies. The government has also announced its potential interest in abolishing the nine government offices for the regions.