Kevin Pearson, CFO, Avon Fire and Rescue Service

UK fire brigade under scrutiny

Published:  03 February, 2017

The UK government has commissioned a full statutory inspection of Avon Fire and Rescue Authority - the first of its kind.

The inspection is expected to take at least three months and will look at the governance of the authority including its duties of accountability and assurance under the Fire and Rescue National Framework.

It was ordered on 2 February by the Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Brandon Lewis, in response to serious, wide-ranging allegations over the authority’s governance in relation to spending, contracts, complaints, discipline and culture. It follows the authority’s repeated refusal to commission its own independent investigation into the claims.

In June 2016, the Chairman of Avon Fire and Rescue Authority approached the Home Office requesting assistance with launching an inquiry into concerns raised by members of the authority. That request was subsequently withdrawn by the Chairman.

In August 2016 and again last October, the Home Office asked the authority to commission a full investigation, independent of the authority, into all the allegations; this was declined by the chair and vice chairs of the authority.

Areas that will be reviewed by the independent consultant will include the authority’s decisions in relation to employees’ salaries and expenses; hospitality; as well as processes and practices for entering into contracts.

Brandon Lewis, Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, said: “It is disappointing that Avon Fire and Rescue Authority chose to not commission a full independent investigation, to reassure the communities it serves that these allegations have been taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.

“The extent, seriousness and persistence of the allegations cannot be ignored, and it will now be for the lead inspector, Dr Craig Baker, and his team to determine whether or not they are true.”

Baker has advised public sector organisations for over 30 years in the UK and overseas and, in the private sector, has worked with the Boston Consulting Group and Ernst and Young. He previously worked at the Audit Commission and worked on the production of its 2005 report, In the line of fire, which considered value for money in the fire service.

A final report will be delivered to the Home Secretary setting out the inspector’s findings and any recommendations.

  • Operation Florian

Sign up: eMagazine & eNewsletter

The latest issues in your inbox.

Company Profiles

Waterax - We move water

Trusted by wildland firefighters around the world, WATERAX sets the industry standard by developing innovative, portable fire pumps and water-handling equipment designed to withstand demanding applications and rugged environments.

Big Water Flow for Industrial and Municipal Firefighting Applications

Protecting the lives of the public and firefighters while limiting the structural damage caused in large scale fires is our primary mission

We are committed to improving lives and doing business in the right way

We have a unique mix of capability and culture that we refer to as 3M Science and we strive to develop products that improve people’s daily lives in a multitude of ways.

HazSim - Bringing situational HazMat training to life

HazSim, LLC provides innovative simulation training to ensure your team works safely and effectively. HazSim Pro simulation equipment is in use by hundreds of fire departments, training schools, industrial fire teams, and private trainers across the US, Canada and further afield as well as the US Army.

The ultimate in innovation, quality and service

For 60 years Lehavot has been delivering the world’s most advanced fire detection and suppression automatic systems

Advancing rescue technology

The specialist supplier of quality PPE and Rescue Equipment to Emergency Services.

Revolutionizing fire fighting foam technology

The one-stop resource for fire fighting foam concentrates and custom-designed foam suppression systems hardware.

Trust the best, let us be your foam solution

AUXQUIMIA is a Spanish company whose main activity is the design, manufacture and commercialization of firefighting foam concentrates.

Williams Fire & Hazard Control offers a full line of specialized fire response equipment for oil and gas platforms

From storage tanks and pipeline emergencies to offshore platforms and vessels at sea, Williams' response personnel and specialized equipment quickly address adverse fire emergencies.

The leader in truck-mounted hydraulic platforms

Our mission is to provide the best and the safest solution to professionals that work at height.

If you want quality, you want Zico

Since its inception Ziamatic Corp has provided the men and women of the fire service with products designed to make their jobs safer and easier.

The independent alternative

Dafo Fomtec AB is a privately owned company with head office in Stockholm Sweden and manufacturing in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden.