Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Third Report

1  Introduction

1. This report examines the Government's proposals set out in its White Paper, 'Our Fire and Rescue Service', published in June 2003.[1] There have been many reviews of the Fire Service, as outlined in Table One. This report does not therefore seek to re-examine issues which have already been well documented. It focuses on examining the merits of the proposals outlined in the White Paper, and how they can be achieved.

2. The Committee announced its inquiry on 17 July 2003, calling for submissions of evidence on the following issues in particular:

  • A move towards preventative working;
  • The introduction of a new approach to risk assessment;
  • Institutional reform;
  • Changes to management; and
  • Promoting diversity within the Fire Service.

Over 60 written submissions were made to the inquiry.[2] In 5 evidence sessions the Committee took oral evidence from 22 sets of witnesses including; Chief Fire Officers, Members of Fire Authorities, the Retained Firefighters' Union (RFU), the Association of Principal Fire Officers (APFO), the Fire Officers' Association (FOA), the Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers' Association (CACFOA), the Fire Brigades' Union (FBU), the Local Government Association (LGA), the Fire Service College, HM Fire Service Inspectorate, the Audit Commission, Sir George Bain, and the Minister responsible for the Fire Service, Nick Raynsford. At the start of the inquiry the Committee appointed two specialist advisors, Jeremy Beech and Tony Taig; we thank them for all their advice and assistance.

1   Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions, Our Fire and Rescue Service, Cm 5808, June 2003 Back

2   Written evidence received by the publication date was published on 20 October 2003 as HC 1168-II: Subsequent evidence is published with the transcripts of oral evidence in HC47-II Back

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Prepared 23 January 2004