FIRE reports live from the Future of Fire Summit 2011 from Solihull, as Fire Minister Bob Neill says the Localism Act has given fire and rescue authorities "greater freedom than ever".

Addressing delegates at the sector-wide summit, Fire Minister Bob Neill expressed his gratitude to the fire sector over the last 18 months for the contribution all parties have made to the Fire Futures report, but said it needs to "go further and be bolder".

The Minister explained that the National Framework would be about resetting the relationship between government and local authorities. "We need to look at relationships with business and the broader society, seeking wherever we can to return power to local communities and not to micro manage.

"Local delivery doesn't stop at the door of county hall or city hall or fire headquarters - we need to go to the communities themselves and the people who make up those the communities. That's about letting go of control."

The Minister said that there have been some successes already, pointing to the partnership between the fire and heritage sectors, "which are providing practical solutions for fire precautions in heritage buildings. It was about getting everyone together in the room, and producing sector-led guidance to aid fire officers on the ground to ensure adequate enforcement and protection."

On a bigger scale, he pointed to the "success" of the Localism Act "which gives fire and rescue authorities more freedom and flexibility". The National Framework, he said, was about identifying the risk, making provision for protection and prevention and then responding. "You should be looking to work in partnership, locally and nationally, and be accountable," he said.

In contrast, he pointed to the "top-down" approach of the FiReControl project as an example of the restraints imposed by the previous regime.

Follow @FIRE_Editor on Twitter for further live coverage from the Fire Summit.


Posted November 29th, 2011 at 1505 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: