Staffordshire Fire Authority agrees to look into collaboration with other emergency services

Collaboration with other emergency services IS on the agenda, according to Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority.

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant had criticised fire chiefs for rejecting a proposal to merge back office functions.

His comments sparked a war of words, with the fire authority’s chairman, Cllr Len Bloomer, branding the Conservative MP “ill-informed”.

But now a meeting of the authority has agreed a recommendation that a group of senior officers should explore the benefits and risks of integration and collaboration.

Matthew Ellis

Matthew Ellis

The news has been welcomed by Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis, who originally came up with the merger proposal. He said: “This is forward thinking and a sensible approach by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority members.

“It is absolutely essential that we reduce duplication in support services and move more money to support frontline policing and the frontline fire and rescue service.

“This is about Staffordshire showing the way forward for better integrated, more cost effective and more joined up services for the public.”

An update is expected when the Staffordshire Fire Authority reconvenes in February.

Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader Ian Parry said: “This decision to understand in detail the benefits and challenges of integrating police and fire services is the right way forward.

“Spending every pound more efficiently is what we are about in Staffordshire and Stoke-On-Trent and this is a great example that could benefit substantially the people in our area.”

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