Hants 180A ground-breaking offshore partnership with Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service will be considered by Hampshire's fire authority this week.

Authority members will be asked to look at signing the pioneering agreement, which would see Hampshire providing strategic leadership to the Isle of Wight. Both services would continue to retain their own political independence and corporate identity.

The partnership, which has already been endorsed by councillors on the Island, will help maintain the safety of residents on both sides of the Solent and assist both authorities in meeting their financial challenges.

Cllr Royston Smith, Chairman of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority (HFRA), said: "This would be the first partnership of its type in the UK fire and rescue service and provide even better value services for residents of both areas.

"The aim of the partnership would be to continue delivering quality services while realising benefits for both authorities through closer collaboration."

The approach, praised by the Department for Communities and Local Government, would see Hampshire's chief fire officer and his team provide strategic leadership and management for the Isle of Wight. Subject to consultation, the Island’s three senior officers would be transferred to HFRS, with the area and group manager maintaining a physical presence on the Island.

Further benefits of the partnership would include enhanced command and control capability and greater operational resilience.

Councillor Phil Jordan, executive member for public protection and PFI for Isle of Wight Council, added: “By sharing management expertise, we are able to retain fire stations and maintain frontline firefighter posts while enhancing services for residents."

The business case has been developed in consultation with the Fire Brigades Union, Retained Firefighters Union and Unison who support the partnership approach which minimises the impact on frontline service delivery. Staff, partner agencies and relevant stakeholders have also been consulted during the development of the proposal.