At its meeting on 23rd January 2012, the Executive Committee of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority (WMFRA) agreed to the establishment of a company limited by shares and wholly owned by the Authority, so that it may undertake trading and income generation activities.
The company, which will be known as West Midlands Fire Service Business Safety Ltd, has been established in line with the terms of the Localism Act 2011, which offers greater freedom and flexibility to public service bodies to generate new business opportunities.
West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is having to cope with one of the largest cuts in funding in comparison to any other UK Fire and Rescue Service, a spokesperson told FIRE. As a result, it is being forced to review the way in which it delivers emergency fire and rescue provision across the West Midlands conurbation.
Through the establishment of the limited company, West Midlands Fire Service will seek to deliver fire and rescue related services to external companies in its core areas of expertise.
Cllr John Edwards, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: "The ability for us to generate income through the limited company will go some way towards plugging the huge hole in our government grant funding.
"Any income generated by the limited company will be ploughed straight back into our front line services, enabling us to continue providing the best possible fire and rescue service to the people of the West Midlands."
The new company will have its performance and governance measured regularly by WMFRA.
Commenting on Executive Committee's decision, Chief Fire Officer Vij Randeniya said: "It is important that the communities we serve understand that this will not affect the day to day service they receive from us. Ultimately, our aim is that we are able to continue to provide them with the first class fire and rescue service to which they have become accustomed.
"We have made no secret of the cuts we face to our government grant funding and the many challenges this places upon us. I hope that people will see this innovative move as an indication of our commitment to protecting front line services."
Posted February 8th, 2012 at 1045 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org