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Locals should have their say on controversial Fire and Rescue changes

July 21, 2017 4:37 PM

Liberal Democrat Councillor Ashley Mason, Vice Chair of the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel, is asking York residents to have their say on proposed Fire Service changes, which could see the Police and Crime Commissioner assume control of the Fire Authority.

Cllr Mason said 'I urge local residents to have their say on these controversial Fire Service reforms, which could damage the valuable work the Fire Service provide'.

There are three potential models that could be implemented across North Yorkshire. The 'Representation Model' would make the Police and Crime Commissioner a voting member on the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority.

The 'Governance Model' would mean that the Police and Crime Commissioner would take on both legal and overarching responsibility of the Fire Service of North Yorkshire, but with individual services retaining operational independence, budgets and staff.

The 'Single Employer Model' would mean that the Police and Crime Commissioner would become the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority. Both would retain distinct front line services; yet it would mean far greater integration in support services.

Cllr Mason believes it is vital that residents have their say on the controversial reforms. All three options for reform would greatly increase the powers of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

It is believed the Police and Crime Commissioner's preferred option is the 'Governance Model'. However, the North Yorkshire Fire Authority would prefer a representative option, whereby Ms Mulligan sits on the Fire Authority.

Cllr Ashley Mason said:

"I welcome proposals which would mean the Police and Crime Commissioner would have a place on the Fire Authority to help ensure the two services work more closely together.

What I am not happy about is the prospect of a wholesale takeover by the PCC.

Both the 'Governance Model and the 'Single Employer Model' would take the power out of local authorities completely and could mean further cuts to both police and Fire Services, which are already under immense pressure.

"The worry is that these, 'reforms' could lead to further stealth cuts after the removal of the experienced and accountable Fire Authorities."

Local residents can find out more and complete a survey online at www.telljulia.com . There will also be eight consultation events taking place across North Yorkshire from 26 July - 15 August. North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan will be in York at 10am on 15 August, to consult with the general public on the potential changes to the Fire Service.