Peter McCall officially became Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) on Saturday 1 April 2023, taking on the governance responsibility for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS). The transfer follows the Government announcement that Cumbria would be divided in to two unitary authorities from April 2023, which has now replaced the six district councils and the overarching County Council. This meant that the governance responsibility of CFRS had to change, as it sat with Cumbria County Council which ceased to exist on 1 April 2023.
Cumbria is the fifth county to introduce a PFCC, following Essex, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire and North Yorkshire. The PFCC will be responsible for CFRS’s governance. This includes responsibility for the service’s legal elements, the employees, budget, estates, and ethics and integrity.
The PFCC’s role with Fire will mirror the role within the Constabulary. Peter McCall is responsible for the governance of the service which ensures that the correct procedures and protocols are in place for CFRS staff to do their jobs in a safe and legal manner. The PFCC sets the priorities for the service, identified by the public via consultation, which is then condensed into a Fire Plan and delegated to the Chief Fire Officer who decides how these priorities are achieved operationally. The PFCC is the voice of the public and ensures that residents are aware of what CFRS delivers and that any issues raised by the public are heard by the service. As the representative of the public, the PFCC holds the Chief Fire Officer to account. The annual budget for the service is also a responsibility of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, including council tax.
The operational decisions for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service remain with the Chief Fire Officer.
Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “Cumbria’s Fire and Rescue Service is an integral service that keeps residents and visitors to the county safe.
“I have been Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner since 2016, performing these duties on behalf of the public holding Cumbria Constabulary to account. I hope that now the uncertainties around governance issues are resolved we can re-establish CFRS as a standalone service delivering outstanding service to the residents of Cumbria.
“Whilst there are still challenges ahead and resources are always at a premium, I am convinced that our most important resource – our people – are focused on doing the best for the organisation and the public, together we can share the ambition to make CFRS Outstanding.
“Every member of staff is critical to the success of our mission “to protect and serve our residents”. I look forward to us all working together to develop our service and staff to keep Cumbria safe.”
Find out more about Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service on their website.