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Fire services to work together, but merger ruled out





Cllr Izzi Seccomb, leader of Warwickshire County Council, with chair of the Fire Authority for West Midlands, Cllr John Edwards.
Cllr Izzi Seccomb, leader of Warwickshire County Council, with chair of the Fire Authority for West Midlands, Cllr John Edwards.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by WarwickshireCountyCouncil and West Midlands Fire & Rescue Authority that sets out plans for a closer working relationship between the two fire services.

Fire chiefs say it is not a merger, just a commitment to ensure they collaborate to provide 'effective and efficient services'.

Discussions will now take place between the two, which will include reviewing all aspects of operational service delivery and support functions.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, which is run by the county council, is already a member of the Warwickshire Blue Light Collaboration Joint Advisory Board, which met for the first time before Christmas to come up with ways of working more closely with Warwickshire Police. It is hoped that West Midlands Ambulance Service will also join the board.

Andy Hickmott, chief fire officer for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It is vital that we collaborate to ensure that we maintain and improve the way that we deliver our services.

"We share a physical border of 130km and already have a close working relationship with West Midlands Fire Service and so it makes perfect sense for us to look at further ways of working together.

"I am confident that this agreement will provide us with a great opportunity to achieve reform and enhance the service we provide to our communities and we must strive to ensure that our standards of service are achieved as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

Phil Loach, chief fire officer for West Midlands Fire Service, added: “I am very optimistic that this agreement signals the intention to broaden and deepen the relationship between our respective services and reflects our belief in collaboration.

"Closer working between Fire Services remains as a strong option to maintain and enhance public safety, support healthier communities and contribute to inclusive economic growth, this partnership will do that in an efficient and effective way.”

Warwickshire and West Mercia Police have been in a strategic alliance since 2012 and have some shared services, which has saved both forces around £60million.



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