Police and fire: Which model?13/03/17
The Policing and Crime Act 2017 introduces an enabling power which will allow a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to take responsibility for its local fire and rescue service (FRS) where it would be in the “interests of economy, efficiency and effectiveness or public safety”; and where a local case is made. If a local case is approved the transition would be given effect by secondary legislation.
There are two different models PCCs may propose:
- ‘governance’ model
- ‘single employer’ model
Alternatively, where the PCC opts not to take on responsibility for FRS but wishes to exploit collaboration opportunities, the Act enables a PCC to seek representation on its local FRA under the ‘representation’ model.
In proposing a particular model, it is necessary to submit a formal business case to the Home Secretary for approval. This will need to consider the relevant options and weigh up competing interests to justify a proposal for change.
Options appraisal and business case
The PCC and FRS will need to demonstrate that any change will in fact improve “efficiency or effectiveness”. This will require careful preparation – for example, you will require detail in the following areas:
- How changes will be funded. This is important given the constraints on public service capital budgets.
- Current and forecasted financial benefits.
- Clarity about affected services and the likely impact on service delivery
- Apportionment of service delivery.
- Management and governance structure.
- Structuring commercial relationships
- Having in place the requisite regulatory clearances, approvals and insurance cover.
- Constitutional changes.
- Understanding the impact on powers to discharge services.
- Managing public and other stakeholder expectations.
- Reputation management.
- Whether any employees will transfer or be seconded to a different employer (and associated pension eligibility questions).
- The potential for organisational change and the related transfer and redundancy consultation obligations.
- Combining work forces and the various terms upon which each cohort of staff is employed is a lengthy and difficult process. This process must also be combined with management of the workforce expectation and staff side engagement that will be required for any successful consolidation of this nature.
Property and other assets
- How the police and fire estate and assets will be used. This may include consideration regarding rationalising the joint estate
- Opportunities for rationalising other assets, e.g.vehicles
- The key estates questions to be considered include:
- where services be provided from?
- if facilities are available, who will pay for them?
- how will facilities be occupied?
- are the facilities fit for purpose?
- who will be responsible for maintenance of facilities and equipment?
How can we help?
We can assist in the early stages by identifying the best option for your organisation to achieve efficiencies, by:
- preparing an options appraisal
- working with you to prepare your business case in respect of your preferred structure(s).
- Working with you to obtain local internal and national regulatory sign off
- Assist with your consultation process