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The institutional reform of the fire and rescue service gathered pace ...
The institutional reform of the fire and rescue service gathered pace

today with the appointment of Pamela Castle as chair of the Business

and Community Safety Forum (BCSF).

Announced in the recent Fire White Paper, the forum is a new body

that will ensure the fire and rescue service works closely alongside

a wider body of stakeholders - such as business, industry and

community representatives - who can express their views on strategic

issues facing the service.

Fire safety minister Phil Hope said:

'I am delighted that Pamela Castle has agreed to chair this new body.

Her leadership of the Fire Safety Advisory Board of the Central Fire

Brigades Advisory Council has been widely admired.

'She is highly respected in the fire community and is well placed to

oversee the establishment of this new stakeholder body, which will

represent a wider body of 'customers' of the service than the

previous advisory machinery.'

He added:

'We will announce the members of the forum as soon as possible. But

this appointment takes forward the government's commitment, set out

in the White Paper, to reform the institutions and create a fire and

rescue service for the 21st century.'


1. The White Paper Our Fire and Rescue Service was published on 30

June 2003. It announced the government's intention to establish new

advisory bodies to support the modernisation of the fire and rescue

service. It can be viewed on the ODPM website at

2. The White Paper also announced the abolition of the statutory

Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council (CFBAC), as soon as the

necessary legislation could be passed. The Business and Community

Safety Forum is intended to build on the success of the CFBAC's Fire

Safety Advisory Board, which is being wound up.

3. Pamela Castle has chaired the Fire Safety Advisory Board since

November 2000.

4. She is a solicitor with scientific qualifications a nd amongst

other things is the current chair of the Environmental Law

Foundation and co-chair of the London Sustainable Development Commission. She is

a former partner in the city law firm, CMS CameronMcKenna.

5. The draft terms of reference for the forum, to be put to its first

meeting are:

(i) To give strategic advice to ministers on those matters on which

ministers request advice and on any other matters relating to the

work of the fire and rescue service so as to ensure that ministers

take full account of the views of the service's customers and other

stakeholders when they make decisions on the development and

implementation of policy.

(ii) The forum can nominate people to work with ODPM, the

Practitioners' Forum, and others on particular topics.

(iii) The forum shall report directly to the minister if it considers

that it is the most effective and appropriate way of giving strategic

advice, but this will not prevent it from consulting with or

reporting to any other body established for the purpose of advising

the minister on matters concerning fire and the work of the fire and

rescue service when it considers that appropriate for the discharge

of its strategic advisory function.

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