Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority Item 12

13 December 2006

Error! Bookmark not defined.South East Fire and Rescue Services Regional Management Board - Update

Report by the Chief Officer

Contact: David Howells, Director of Corporate Services Tel: 02380 626833




This report outlines the key issues arising from the South East Fire and Rescue Services Regional Management Board (SERMB) meeting held on 18 October 2006.


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That the report be noted.


Firebuy Limited


Martin Kitchen, Richard Peasgood and Steve Taylor (all from Firebuy) gave a presentation to the Board about Firebuy's structure and current projects. Concern was raised by several members about the proposed contractual arrangements with fire and rescue authorities and future funding arrangements. Most members took the initial view that they would not be prepared to recommend that Firebuy should be supported by direct financial contributions from authorities. There was view that Firebuy needed to demonstrate its ability to deliver tangible cost savings over the next year in order to gain the confidence of authorities. [Post meeting note: A DCLG consultation paper has since been received setting out the possible funding options Firebuy from 1 April 2008 and this is being considered by the officers].


Regional Control Centre Project (FiReComtrol) - publication of draft full business case


The Board considered a letter received from Councillor Jerry Willmott giving further information about the publication of the FiReControl draft full business case. The full business case would be published in March 2007, with an executive summary going to members of RMBs. Members agreed that they would prefer to have a presentation at a seminar on the final full business case, rather than the draft. The Local Government Association (LGA) has been informed of the Board's view.


Regional Control Centre - local authority controlled company (LACC) - governance arrangements


CFO Burrell (the SERMB lead officer for the FiReControl project work stream) presented a report that informed members of the outcome of a policy development meeting held to discuss the SERMB's implementation of the Government's Regional Control Centre governance proposals. A number of options had been considered and were reflected in the report's recommendations. Members of the Board were asked to seek the agreement of their authorities to the agreed proposals at their respective meetings in December 2006 so as to enable the SERMB to formally approve the recommendations at its next meeting on 17 January 2007. [Note: see the separate item on the HFRA's agenda that is dealing with this.] The proposals can be summarised as follows:


Voting on LACC

(i) Each constituent authority to be represented by one political member;

(ii) To acknowledge the responsibilities of individual authorities, each elected member would be allocated a weighted number of votes, reflecting population size, based on a criteria of each half a million people or part thereof representing one vote;


Cost Apportionment of RCC Costs

A `hybrid' system to be developed based on, initially, population and call numbers. Further proposals to be researched and this to be ratified by SERMB.


Timetable for LACC Establishment

To meet the 1 January 2007 implementation date as indicated within the national framework document, but recognising that this may not be possible and ensuring it is implemented by spring of 2007. To achieve this, early agreement to the Memorandum and Articles of Association, together with Member agreement should be reached at the 17 January 2007 meeting.


Ownership Structure

West Sussex Fire Authority to undertake interim responsibility for the LACC, prior to a long term decision being made by the Company.


Training Strategy Project


CFO Cox (lead officer for the `training' work stream) gave a presentation outlining the key findings of the strategic review of learning and development activities within the Region which had been undertaken by the external consultants, Atmaana Limited. It was agreed that officers should now consider the findings of the report to form the basis of a strategic plan for future learning and development provision in the Region by the constituent authorities.


Progress against plan update


CFO Hendry (Kent) presented a report that set out the progress made against the regional business plan for the period July to September 2006 against each of the work-stream areas.


On the resilience work stream, Councillor Rowlands (Buckinghamshire) reported that his Authority had not received the level of capital funding hoped for to provide practical facilities to support urban search and rescue activities. In response to questions, Kent and Hampshire both reported that they had secured DCLG funding for vehicle accommodation and training facilities.


The update report, the continuing work to streamline business programmes, and the newsletters issued on the progress made by the South East Fire Improvement Partnership were all noted.

Background Information (Section 100D of Local Government Act 1972)

The following documents disclose the facts or matters on which this report, or an important part of it, is based and has been relied upon to a material extent in the preparation of the report:

· Agenda and reports of the South East Fire and Rescue Services Regional Management Board meeting held 18 October 2006


Note: The list excludes: (1) published works; and (2) documents that disclose exempt or confidential information defined in the Act.

Secretarial/WP/Corporate/HFRA HFRA 13 12 06 RMB Update 18 10 06 DCH/JMW 28 11 06