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Public Accounts Committee
Report published 17 February 2016. Awaiting Government response.
The incidents of fires and related casualties have been on a long-term downward trend. As has funding for fire and rescue authorities, which has fallen significantly between 2010-11 and 2015-16 leading to reductions to numbers of firefighters and prevention and protection activities. Concerns have been raised that capacity to respond to major incidents might be compromised by further funding reductions. A number of authorities anticipate that further savings will only be possible via further cuts in the numbers of firefighters. If funding reductions were to continue in future years, the sector would be faced with twin challenges: to implement new cost-reduction measures, and to manage increased risks. This is compounded by the limited ability of the Department for Communities and Local Government to assure Parliament on the standards of fire and rescue authorities as, unlike in other emergency services, there is no external inspection regime and DCLG relies on local scrutiny and authorities to self-certify. This inquiry examines the impact of funding reductions on the effectiveness of fire and rescue services.
Evidence given by Sir Ken Knight, former Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser, Jeremy Hilton, Chair, Local Government Association Fire Services Management Committee, and Paul Hancock, President of the Chief Fire Officers Association and Chief Fire Officer for Cheshire; Melanie Dawes, Permanent Secretary, Neil O'Connor, Director of Fire Resilience and Emergencies, and Peter Holland, Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser, Department for Communities and Local Government (at 10.30am).
Public Accounts Committee publishes report on inancial sustainability of fire and rescue services