The Fire Authority’s governance arrangements were criticised in a Statutory Inspection Report in July 2017, which concluded that, in the opinion of the lead Inspector, the Authority is failing in its duty under section 3 of the 1999 Local Government Act.
Paragraph 127 of the Report states:
The suggested changes to the composition of the Authority that are being considered by the Leaders of the constituent councils are to be welcomed. Under these plans, individuals will not be able to serve more than two terms (i.e. eight years); this should ensure a steady flow of new ideas. There is also a proposal to share the roles of chairing the sub-committees between the political groupings to achieve a broad balance. Finally, the previous Chair was looking at reducing the number of members from 25, and again I believe this is directionally correct – a group approximately half this size will be more focused, better-informed, more nimble and more decisive, as long as its Members take their responsibilities seriously.
In response the Fire Authority has approved a 62 point improvement action plan at its extraordinary meeting held on 27 July 2017 and has put in place an improvement structure including an Independent Improvement Board.
The work around improvement to the Fire Authority’s governance arrangements includes a review of the composition of the Fire Authority. However, a reduction in the size of the membership will have little impact unless accompanied by an appropriate governance structure, appropriate behaviours exhibited by Members, clarity of the role of Members and the willingness by Members to commit sufficient time to the role.
The deadline for a response to this consultation is Monday 26 March 2018