Report of the Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Digital Officer
That a response be forwarded to Welsh Government by the Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Digital Officer, highlighting the concerns raised by Members at the meetings of both Cabinet Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet, as below:
Elected Members considered the comments made in the consultation document regarding the competency of existing fire and rescue authority members to be insulting and disgraceful. The Members who serve on fire and rescue authorities bring considerable experience and skill to the roles they carry out.
Elected Members felt the existing fire and rescue authority membership provided robust challenge to the Chief Fire Officer and his team. Furthermore, they believed the diverse membership of the existing fire and rescue authorities ensured the community impact of the work of the fire and rescue service was fully considered in decision making processes.
Elected Members strongly disagreed with the proposal that the existing membership be replaced by members of council executives. This was not considered to be practical or in the best interests of democracy.
Members felt there was a case for reviewing the way the Fire Service was funded to ensure the funding model reflected the work of the modern day fire and rescue service – in particular the growing role the service plays in supporting the NHS in Wales.
Elected Members did not consider models such as those in place to support Local Health Boards to be a suitable basis for democratic oversight of an important public service like the fire and rescue service. There was no case made out to replace elected councillors with appointees.
Reason for Decision:
To ensure a response from Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council was submitted to the Welsh Government on the proposed reforms to Fire and Rescue Authorities in Wales.
Implementation of Decision:
The decision is for immediate implementation, the Chairperson of the Scrutiny Committee had agreed to this course of action and there would therefore be no call-in of this decision.