Minister for Fire Bob Neill has met with fire and rescue authorities and chief fire officers to begin a strategic review of the Fire Service.

The scope and terms of reference for the review have been agreed by ministers. Key outlines are the development of a joint view on the future shape and direction of the Fire and Rescue Service, and the respective roles of local and central government. This is to be done in conjunction with the sector.

It is planned that future actions will involve consideration of the range of the new and evolving challenges facing the Service, and how these will impact particularly in relation to role, structure, governance and efficiency.

The strategic review will develop a range of robust future strategy options for the Fire and Rescue Service and make recommendations to ministers for how these should be taken forward.

Bob Neill said that key issues were likely to include the following, although the lead will be taken from the sector itself:

  • The current and future remit and strategic priorities for the Fire and Rescue Service over the short, medium and longer term
  • The current and future delivery model for the Service, taking account of the work that the sector is already leading on regarding decentralisation, and considering how this can be taken further to drive increased localism
  • The efficiency of the Service and how this can be further improved to enhance value for money
  • The respective roles and responsibilities of central government and local partners, including consideration of the future role of a national framework
  • Implication of all of the above for the Fire and Rescue Service workforce and for the future structure and governance of the Service.

The review will be within the context of the clear commitment to achieving value for money whilst prioritising the front line, improving resilience and ending forced regionalisation of the Service. To see the emerging work streams from the ministerial workshop, refer to the feature section on the website.