While the final few election results are being announced, CFOA’s message remain the same: “government needs to support fire and rescue services to protect, respond and continue to focus on prevention.”
Earlier this year CFOA, in conjunction with the LGA, produced The Fire and Rescue Service: ‘Making our Nation Safer’ report, which set out a number of policy demands to the new government. The document lays out a number of challenges to a new government – including detailed policy proposals which should be implemented within the first 100 days of the new parliament, along with the financial benefits.
CFOA played a leading role in the new legislation requiring private landlords to fit smoke alarms in their properties, and we are working in partnership with other organisations to ensure we are playing a key part in the health agenda, raising the importance of data sharing to drive the protection agenda forward.
We are looking forward to meeting with the new fire minister in the coming weeks to set out our stall and reinforce this message.
It is also important that we don’t forget the importance of the local elections which are being counted across the country today (Friday), which could have a big impact on fire and rescue services. Polls indicate many local authorities – whether county, district, unitary or metropolitan councils – could be hung administrations, having a huge effect on public services and how they are run, as coalitions are formed and changes made to their corporate plans and strategic objectives.
CFOA will continue to challenge the new government for legislation including installation of sprinklers, lowering the drink drive limit and improved data sharing between public services, which in addition to being a key role in our prevention work, could result in savings in the region of £500 million to the public purse.
As well as resulting in substantial savings, these changes will make people safer, improve how fire and rescue services prevent, protect and respond more effectively and play an important role in delivering public service efficiency and improvement.
All the asks are evidenced, thought out proposals which will help to save lives, protect businesses and save the economy millions of pounds. We want the new government to take these seriously, accept we are the best placed people to transform the fire and rescue service – and take action within the first 100 days of its administration.
The policy proposals include:
- Lower the drink drive limit and introduce a graduated driver licensing scheme
- Data sharing bill
- Flexibility in Council Tax regimes and changes to referendum rules
- Flexibility in setting fees, charges and capital receipts
- An independent body for the distribution of funding to FRAs
- National resilience assets centrally funded
- A reduction in stamp duty for properties with sprinklers
- A bigger focus on prevention and a contribution to health and well-being