Plans for a combined fire authority (CFA) have moved a step closer today.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority and Isle of Wight Council have unanimously voted in favour of forming a new authority covering Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Southampton and Portsmouth.
The proposal aims to build upon the already close relationship between HFRA and the Island. The authorities will now submit an application for consideration by Government.
HFRA Chairman Chris Carter said:
“The new CFA would offer operational benefits and greater resilience while giving the taxpayer even better value for money.
“It would strengthen the relationship and bring us even closer together.”
Isle of Wight Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection Tig Outlaw said:
“This is all about achieving what is best for our Island community and our close neighbours on the mainland, ensuring the future resilience of the service and the safety of our residents.
“A new CFA would build upon the successful partnership that has already proved beneficial to both services.”
HFRA gave the green light to proceed with a 12-week consultation on the new CFA on June 13 last year with the Island's Cabinet agreeing to the plans the following day.
The decision to make an application to government, made today (January 24), comes after the process where the public, staff and partners had the chance to have their say and raise any concerns.
The proposal aims to deliver simpler governance arrangements with a clearer route to decision-making and benefits through a pooling of resources.
It also offers improvements in financial efficiency, operational effectiveness and public safety with the bringing together of skills and knowledge.
The new CFA would make it easier for the services to contribute and react in the event of national scale incidents.
It would also build on the close working relationship between HFRS and IWFRS set out in April 2015 in the Delivering Differently in Partnership agreement.
Under this partnership the two services share Chief Fire Officer Neil Odin and other members of the senior team.
They also share health and safety teams, policy support, vehicle maintenance and training and development.
HFRS control room also already deals with 999 calls for the Island as well as across the county.
The new CFA, if agreed by Government, will not affect frontline 999 response and is not expected to have any impact on staff numbers.
The final decision will rest with the Home Secretary.