Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
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Consultation on a centre of excellence for the Fire and Rescue Service in England

Consultation on a centre of excellence for the Fire and Rescue Service in England

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT News Release (197) issued by The Government News Network on 26 October 2007

Communities and Local Government have today published a consultation document which puts forward options for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for the Fire and Rescue Service in England.

In welcoming the publication, Parmjit Dhanda, Minister for the Fire & Rescue Service, said: "The establishment of a Centre of Excellence provides an opportunity for the Fire & Rescue Service to take much greater responsibility and ownership for managing the service and to take a central role in influencing the future direction of the service as a whole.

We have been working in partnership with the Local Government Association and the Chief Fire Officers Association in developing these proposals and hope that, through this consultation, the Service itself will show its support for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence."

The consultation document seeks views on:

* The need to establish a Centre of Excellence

* The functions which a Centre of Excellence has the potential to support both in the short term and long term including training delivery and resilience

* The governance arrangements which should underpin a Centre of Excellence

* The funding arrangements for a Centre of Excellence including the potential financial contributions from Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) to fund the functions which FRAs require the Centre of Excellence to carry out on their behalf

* The name of a Centre of Excellence

The closing date for the consultation is 31 January 2008.

Notes for Editors

The consultation work has been overseen by a Steering Group and a Project Board comprising Local Government Association (LGA), Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA), Communities and Local Government and Fire Service College (FSC) representatives.

Whilst the paper indicates support in principle for a Centre of Excellence it does not recommend any preferred course of action. A CoE will only be established if the consensus of the FRS is that a CoE is required and FRAs are willing to commit their ongoing support, including financial support, to the establishment and running of a CoE. The outcome of the consultation will help to determine whether there is such support and how these proposals are taken forward.

The consultation offers consultees a range of options to consider for the role, functions, status and governance of a CoE and associated costs and possible funding arrangements - there are no preferred options being put forward by Communities and Local Government. It will be for FRAs to decide whether they are willing to fund those functions which they wish a CoE to undertake

Communities and Local Government has pledged to transfer some functions it currently delivers to a CoE together with appropriate funding.

The earliest date on which it would be practicable to establish a CoE is April 2009

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