A controversial bid by North Yorkshire’s crime commissioner to take over the county’s fire service has been agreed despite being rejected by numerous authorities.
The move to replace the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority (NYFRA), Julia Mulligan had proposed, could save £6.6m over 10 years and would improve collaboration.
It was rejected last year by authorities including York Council and North Yorkshire Council, the latter of which said it felt the business case was “flawed”.
As Home Secretary Sajid Javid today announces that governance can now transfer to Mrs Mulligan, her office has said preparation work can now begin in earnest for the formal transfer, planned for this autumn.
“I’m pleased that the Home Secretary has recognised the benefits that joint oversight of police and fire services will bring to the people of North Yorkshire,” Mrs Mulligan said.
“By bringing both organisations under the same governance, we can increase the speed and depth at which we collaborate, improve transparency and efficiency of both organisations, saving at least £6.6m, to be reinvested into frontline policing and fire services.”
The move would see Mrs Mulligan take over from the fire authority in its role setting the budget for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and overseeing its work.
Mrs Mulligan has long argued it has the support of the public, citing survey results. But authorities including those in North Yorkshire and York last year called instead for a representation model, in which Mrs Mulligan would instead become a voting member of the authority.
The proposals had been submitted to the Home Office for an independent assessment to be carried out.
“This process has not been without controversy, and I would like to thank and acknowledge all the councillors and MPs that have contributed to, and scrutinised, my business case and consultation to make sure that this was a robust process,” said Mrs Mulligan.
“I’d also like thank the public for their clear support - we received over 2,500 responses to our consultation, of which 71 per cent preferred PCC-led oversight.”
It follows announcements in March that PCCs in West Mercia, Staffordshire and Cambridgeshire are to take over the running of their respective fire services.