Fire and Rescue Service a better place in which to work are key
priorities set out in the draft National Framework for the Fire and
Rescue Service, published today by the Government.
The Framework, part of the package of reforms detailed in the White
Paper, Our Fire and Rescue Service, pulls together - in one place for
the first time - the role of the Fire and Rescue Service. It sets the
objectives the government expects the service to achieve; what
actions Fire and Rescue Authorities should take; and what support
central government will provide.
Fire and rescue service minister Nick Raynsford said: 'The publication
of this draft National Framework represents another major step forward
in the modernisation of the Fire and Rescue Service. For the first
time we will have one document giving the Service clear direction and
providing shared ownership.
'Fire and Rescue Authorities and the government are committed to
delivering a better service to our communities. At the heart of the
Framework is a partnership approach to protecting the community -
preventing fires from happening in the first place, while ensuring
that the Fire and Rescue Service provides an effective response to
fire and other emergencies, including responding to new challenges
such as terrorism. But it also sets out our expectations to ensure
that the Fire and Rescue Service is a better place in which to work.
'The need for effective partnership is a key theme of the Framework
which in effect will be a 'contract' between the government and the
Fire and Rescue Authorities. That is why this is a draft Framework
and why we will now consult widely before publishing the final
version in the Spring.'
The draft Framework - now out for consultation until March - will
become a statutory document once the Fire and Rescue Services Bill
becomes law. In due course it will help to shape the comprehensive
performance assessment for the Fire and Rescue Service which will be
undertaken by the Audit Commission.
The Framework also reaffirms the key role the Fire and Rescue Service
plays in responding to major incidents such as terrorism, including
the move to regional control rooms as part of the that resilience
Mr Raynsford also announced that the government was today publishing
Mott MacDonald's most recent study into fire and rescue control
rooms, and the Fire Service Inspectorate's review of the subject. The
study concluded that regional control rooms would significantly
enhance national resilience.
He said: 'Control rooms and control room operators already play a
vital role in delivering the service, and will in future be an
essential part of our resilience agenda. This regional approach is not
about undermining local responsiveness or adding a layer of
bureaucracy. It is about improving the effectiveness of the Service.
'We find the conclusions of the study persuasive, but we recognise
the important implicationsthat the proposed new approach would have
for the Service, including for control room staff.
'We are keen to work with all our partners in the Fire and Rescue
Service to establish the new national network of linked regional
control rooms which is now needed. We have today written to the
Practitioners' Forum and Fire and Rescue Authorities asking for their
views on our proposed approach.'
1. Nick Raynsford announced the publication of the draft national
framework in the following Parliamentary written statement:
In June the Government published the White Paper, 'Our Fire and
Rescue Service'. It set out a package of reforms designed to improve
the service and to save more lives. Today the Office of the Deputy
Prime Minister is publishing a draft Fire and Rescue National
Framework that will outline how to implement the White Paper's
propos als. It sets out the Government's objectives for the Fire and
Rescue Service and what Fire and Rescue Authorities should do to
machieve these outcomes. It also sets out what the Government will do
to improve the service and what support it will provide to Fire and
Rescue Authorities. In due course, the expectations in the Framework
will also help to shape the Audit Commission's fire and rescue
Comprehensive Performance Assessment.
The Framework is based on a partnership approach. The Government is
committed to giving Fire and Rescue Authorities adequate support and
flexibility to help them meet the specific needs of their local
communities. For this reason we are initially issuing it in draft
form and welcome comments and suggestions by 12 March 2004 on both
the proposals in the draft Framework and how to make the future
versions as helpful and relevant as possible. We aim to publish the
first National Framework in Spring 2004.
The legislation announced in the Queen's speech will place the
Framework on a statutory footing. It will require the Government to
report to Parliament on the extent to which Fire and Rescue
Authorities are acting in accordance with the National Framework and
any steps the Government has taken to ensure that they do.
We are also today publishing Mott MacDonald's most recent study into
fire and rescue control rooms, and HM Fire Service Inspectorate's
review of the subject. The study reinforced the report's conclusions
that regional control rooms would significantly enhance national
resilience. The Government is persuaded by the conclusions of study
and proposes to establish regional control rooms in England,
including the one already established in London, working closely
with Fire and Rescue Authorities through their Regional Management
Boards. We have written to the Practitioners Forum asking for their
views on our proposed approach.
The Fire and Rescue Service is, rightly, widely admired for its
professionalism and the dedication of its staff. The White Paper made
clear, however, that it was also in need of urgent reform.
Publication of the draft National Framework sets out the Government's
expectations of the Service, what Fire and Rescue Authorities should
do and the support the Government will provide. It demonstrates the
Government's continued commitment, in partnership with Fire and
Rescue Authorities, to driving down the number of fire deaths and
injuries, improving fire and rescue services and saving more lives.
Copies of the Draft Fire and Rescue National Framework 2004/05, the
full Mott MacDonald report, the summary of the Mott MacDonald report,
and the HM Fire Service Inspectorate review are available in the
libraries of both Houses.
2. The draft framework is available here.Copies of the Mott Macdonald and best value
reports are available on the website: www.odpm.gov.uk/fire
3. The framework does not cover Scotland and Northern Ireland, where
responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service is fully devolved to
the Scottish Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly
respectively. The government is committed to devolving
responsibilities for fire fighting and fire safety issues in Wales to
the National Assembly for Wales. The government is working with the
Assembly on how and when this will be achieved, and how to ensure
that devolution is consistent with broader emergency and civil
contingency arrangements. The NAW will be consulting on its own
4. The Fire White Paper, Our Fire and Rescue Service, is available here.