Letter from RT Hon Chris Philp MP to Cllr Nick Chard - 16 January 2024

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Rt Hon Chris Philp MP
Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF

Nick Chard
Local Government Association,
18 Smith Square,
London, SW1P 3HZ

Via Email Only

16th January 2024

Dear Nick,

Thank you for your letter of 20th December 2023 noting the publication of the Fire Reform White Paper and expressing some concern about the language used in some of the NJC related statements in the government’s response. I would like to start by commending you personally and the National Employers more widely for your willingness to undertake a review to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current pay negotiation mechanism. I am pleased that the National Employers are seeking to improve wider understanding of the purpose, approach, and accountability of the NJC. I am aware of conversations between our officials around the logistics of the self-review and will be getting back to you on this shortly.

Thank you for registering your concerns in relation to some of the wording used in the Government’s response to the White Paper. As I mentioned, our position is a factual reflection of the current position based on both consultation feedback and the findings from previous reports, such as the HMICFRS State of Fire (2020) report and the independent 2015 Thomas review. I hope that the upcoming NJC review will be able to address the concerns raised in these reports and that we will see meaningful change for the sector as a result. I am confident from your letter that you feel the same.

I appreciate that this review is being led by the employers’ side of the NJC, and I recognise that you have been actively engaging with the employees’ side to bring them into the process, and that they have declined. However, I encourage you to continue to solicit the views of the employees’ side during the review wherever possible as they are obviously a vital part of how the NJC operates.

I would like to express my gratitude for all the work you and your team have done on this to date, and will do in the future, and the open manner of your approach.

Yours Sincerely,
Rt Hon Chris Philp MP
Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire