Fire and emergencies

Fire and rescue service

The Government aims to create the conditions in which the Fire and Rescue Service is able to provide an effective protection, prevention and response service to their local communities and deliver key elements of national resilience capability to respond to national emergencies.

Background

Fire and Rescue Services are delivered in England by 46 Fire and Rescue Authorities of differing size and structure. Central government provides a statutory framework, and allocates financial resources through Revenue Support Grant and other means. The Department also funds the Fire and Rescue Service to deliver a national resilience capability.

As part of the Government's drive for decentralisation and localism the Fire and Rescue Service, at the invitation of central Government, were given the opportunity to identify ideas for their future. This has resulted in four independent Fire Futures Reports published in December 2010. They looked into the role, efficiency and accountability of the Fire and Rescue Service in England.

The Government's response to the Fire Futures Reports was published in April 2011, and sets the vision and direction of travel for taking forward the public service reform agenda for the Fire and Rescue Service. The focus will be on:

  • restoring a focus on local communities instead of national targets and monitoring
  • ensuring local decision making on local services
  • letting the Service and the wider sector - not Whitehall - manage its cross-sector functions collaboratively
  • providing clarity on national and local roles in resilience and ensuring the right structure and funding is there to support it

The actions we will undertake to address these priority areas are set out below.

What we are doing

We are taking forward a portfolio of National Fire Policy work packages that aim to create the conditions in which the Fire and Rescue Service is able to provide an effective service to local communities. The work packages are:

  • Strategic Fire policy and advice and Fire and Rescue Service legislative framework including:
    • Fire and Rescue Service National Framework, decentralisation and localism
    • Sponsorship of the Fire Service College, fire safety prevention, protection and awareness and Fire and Rescue Service workforce issues
  • Strategy, policy and delivery of the Fire and Rescue Service contribution to local resilience including Integrated Risk Management and Planning, operational policy and governance, legislative issues and industrial relations
  • Strategy on finance for the Fire and Rescue Service including the ongoing Fire resource funding systems and efficiency in relation to assets, voluntary combinations and capital improvements
  • Strategy and policy for the delivery of the Fire and Rescue Service contribution to national resilience and devolution of associated functions to the Fire and Rescue Service
  • Future Control Rooms project (formally FiReControl)
  • Fire statistics - collection and analysis of Fire statistics to inform policy development and overarching national indicators on fire casualties
  • Fire research - research and analysis to underpin all work packages
  • Independent professional Fire and Rescue advice to Ministers and policy officials
  • Enforcement of fire safety in Crown premises sites and determinations
  • FRS Olympics planning and preparedness
  • Operational Guidance to the Fire and Rescue Service
  • Workforce and Development issues - whilst these are a matter for individual Fire and Rescue Authorities, the Department has a policy interest in these areas, relating in particular to:
    • training
    • development
    • equality
    • diversity
    • the Retained Duty System (On Call)
    • EU Legislation.

      The Fire and Rescue Service is responsible for progressing these issues locally. Nationally, support on a wide range of workforce issues is available through the sector skills council Skills for Justice.

Office of the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser

The Office of the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser is responsible for providing independent professional Fire and Rescue advice to Ministers and policy officials. A link to the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser page appears below.

Key publications

The publications below set out proposals from the Fire and Rescue Service on the future shape of the Service and the Government's response.

In this section

Related publications

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