The next steps for a strategic fire alliance in Warwickshire have been approved

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WARWICKSHIRE Fire and Rescue has been given the go ahead to investigate the possibility of strategic alliance with a neighbouring service.

Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC) cabinet approved the move yesterday (Thursday) which would see a business model formed with Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Now the proposal has been approved, both authorities will develop a comprehensive business case which will allow the Services to look at increasing efficiency through shared support functions and management posts, and improve operational resilience.

Key areas identified for initial consideration for closer working include examining the potential to share a joint fire control, now that the Regional Fire Control Project is no longer going aheda, sharing training facilities, fire safety enforcement, technical equipment and transport and community safety.

Chief Fire Officer for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, Graeme Smith said: “Warwickshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service is committed to providing the best possible Fire and Rescue Service for its communities. It also committed to delivering value for money to the tax payers.

“With the support of the Cabinet we will be able to deliver on that and move forward with developing a strategic alliance business model with Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service. However, I think we need to be clear that this is not a merger, we will still be Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service and we will continue to the serve and protect the communities of Warwickshire.“

Portfolio Holder for Community Protection, Councillor Richard Hobbs said: “As an organisation we are going through some very challenging times. As part of the budget resolution we expressed a need to examine how we would work more closely with our partners in order to achieve efficiencies and the discussions I have been having with my counterpart in Northamptonshire have helped to see how this could be achieved.

“Working in closer collaboration will not only help us to increase our capacity and resilience, by sharing key services such as fire control, training and fire safety enforcement, but it will also ensure that we are able to continue with our improvements and performance to maintain the high level of service the residents of Warwickshire receive.”

The proposals for a strategic alliance will now be taken to Northamptonshire County Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday.