2016 Government Fire Service Reforms
The government have recently decided to take the opportunity to reform their policies in regards to Fire Prevention. There has been a restructuring in responsibility that sees fire services now under the control of the Home Office. Some bodies, such as the Glass and Glazing Federation, have raised concerns that compromises between Government Departments with regards to building fire protection will now have to be made as a result of such policy.
There have been recent concerns raised, largely from UK based companies, that the the quality of fire safety provision in the UK is in decline and the upholding of regulations has diminished in the last 10 years. The new structure threatens the already limited resource in such monitoring and enforcement.
The government announced this restructuring on the 5th
of January claiming it should support “a radical transformation of how the police and fire & rescue services work together.” The justification for the move is to enable greater efficiency and streamlining of services to ensure maximum protection is brought around the country. However, skeptics are concerned this is just another scheme to enable cuts to very important services in out communities. As of April 1st
the Departments of Communities and Local Governments will lose their funding and staff devoted to fire safety with all responsibilities being transferred to the Home Office.
This follows September 2015 reforms that saw the government adapt the way that police and fire and rescue were able to co-operate and achieve results in a much greater time. Police and crime commissioners should be able to take on the duties of the fire & rescue authorities aiding in investigations and immediate relief services in local cases. This essentially will create a single police and fire employer ensuring the rationalization of employment and recruitment policies. People supporting the policy also claim that it could be extended easily to enable relief on the strained ambulance services by taking away certain first response emergencies.
The debate between professionals and critics remains high and open ended and ultimately will not be resolved until we see the policy following April and how efficiently managed such a combined service is going to be.