Fire Risk Assessment

Fire Minister Foresees More Mergers

Fire minister Bob Neill has said that he believes there will be more mergers between services in the months and years to come.

During a session in parliament, he was asked whether he thought there were too many fire authorities and whether they should come together to share back office functions.

"I think there will be a great deal more collaborative working," he replied. "It is surprising in all but the very largest authorities to be expecting stand-alone back-office functions."

He said he would not dictate how this is done, and insisted that mergers are not something the government is seeking to "drive from above" as is the case with local government reorganisation. However, he claimed he would not stand in the way of any joint ventures between authorities.

"If people come to us with a case, there is no obstacle from the department, and we are happy to discuss ways forward to help people to achieve whatever operational efficiencies are best for them," Mr Neill remarked. Source: FIA

Our Response

The practicality of putting this in place politically (at Local Government level) has already been demonstrated to be impossible in some cases, and I think you will find the “smaller” and more remote brigades will be the ones with the biggest resistance to losing their identity. I am in favour of sensible mergers.

Brian Gregory, Managing Director, Safety Management (UK)

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