Fire and emergencies

Fire Service College - the future

The Government is committed to the delivery of a resilient Fire and Rescue Service that protects the public by preventing and responding to emergencies.

Background

The Government sees strong value in a national college for the Fire and Rescue Service to deliver common, consistent standards of safety critical training and improved inter-operability across the Service in support of resilience and to enable it to meet public expectations. However, the current Fire Service College ownership and business arrangements do not provide the flexibility necessary for the College to operate with sufficient commercial success.

The Government has conducted a pre-market engagement to inform its view of market appetite and viable options for a new ownership, operational and governance model for the College which secures its future, supports national resilience and provides best value for the public purse.

Having reviewed the responses to the pre-market engagement and having considered a number of possible options, the Government has decided to sell the College as a going concern to a private sector company who would continue to operate the College as a training centre. With the College freed from the constraints of Government ownership, a private sector owner can bring innovation and investment to the College, benefiting taxpayers, local residents, the Fire and Rescue Service and, ultimately, strengthening national resilience.

We will be insisting on a number of conditions on the proposed sale, including commitments not only that the College will be preserved as a national training college for the Fire and Rescue Service, but also that it will continue to offer wider national resilience and emergency services training and exercises, that the wider emergency services will be involved in the overall setting of training governance and that Government permission will be required to sell the site on for other uses.

Next Steps

The formal sale process is expected to commence next month with the issuing of an Information Memorandum to the market. 

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