Responding to the Government's publication of the Fire and Rescue National Framework, Cllr Brian Coleman, Chairman of the LGA's Fire Services Management Committee, said:
"Dramatically cutting national guidance almost in half – from 48 pages to 26 pages – is good news for the sector and will allow fire chiefs and local politicians more freedom to concentrate their efforts on protecting communities and responding to incidents. Too much central prescription adds to complexity and costs and hinders local decision making.
"The new, more strategic, relationship between central government and the fire sector is long overdue and shows that the Government has taken on board some of our concerns. We are pleased that the fire minister recognises it is to communities, not central government, that fire authorities are accountable. But there is further to go.
"We ask the Government to look again at the new requirement for every fire authority to produce an annual assurance statement. This extra burden will mean authorities have to waste valuable time duplicating reports they already produce on financial, governance and operational matters, without any perceivable benefit.
"Fire authorities put risk management and business continuity at the heart of their planning. This means working together, and with other emergency services when needed, as demonstrated by the excellent work currently being done by fire crews across the country protecting communities from floods.
"Fire authorities can be relied upon to do everything in their power to deliver national resilience. The newly-established Fire and Rescue Strategic Resilience Board is a good start and can provide a route for using that local expertise and knowledge at national level."
Author: LGA Media Office
Contact: Simon Ward, Local Government Association Media Office, Telephone: 020 7664 3333
Notes to editors
Fire Minister Bob Neill this week published the new Fire and Rescue National Framework for England Fire and Rescue
Dept for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
Fire and Rescue National Framework for England
25 July 2012