Good Practice alert: Essex Police and Fire consultation met Institute standards
When the Government announced that Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in England and Wales would be encouraged to take charge of Fire & Rescue Authorities, there were many objections. The one safeguard, was that there would need to be a full public consultation (Police & Crime Act 2017).
Essex was first to use this power and sought views on the three options which Parliament had laid down. They are:
- The ‘representation option’ whereby a PCC joins the local Fire & Rescue Authority (FRA)
- The ‘governance option’, whereby the PCC takes on the role of the FRA
- The ‘single employer’ option whereby the two services are merged under a single Chief Officer
The Consultation Institute was engaged to provide advice and guidance, and to subject the consultation to an independent Quality Assurance. It is pleased to announce that the Essex consultation met the QA criteria and sets an excellent example to the other PCCs that may be considering similar changes. In particular,
- It consulted on all the available options, but with a preferred option
- It undertook significant pre-consultation, establishing the opinions of key stakeholders including trades unions.
- It used an animated Video to explain the proposal; you can view it here
- Targeted, cost-effective publicity resulted in a good response (1,708 questionnaires plus 31 stakeholder responses)
- A successful initiative to boost responses from young people e.g. by holding an event at a University and sending packs to schools
- A comprehensive programme of events and meetings
- A well-presented feedback report that is a model others may wish to follow; you can view it here
After approval from the Home Office on 25th July, Roger Hirst is set to become the UK’s first combined Police and Fire Commissioner from October 2017. Mike Bartram and Brian Parry who acted on behalf of the Institute, felt that Essex PPC client responded well to the challenges of being first and have demonstrated to the rest of the country who wish to follow the same path, that with a robust public consultation, which follows the correct processes, a satisfactory outcome is achievable.
For further information on the Quality Assurance services tCI provides, please click here