A KEY decision to decide who will run Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service will has been delayed until next year.
Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Martin Surl, is at odds with Gloucestershire County Council over who should govern GFRS.
The council is in charge of the fire service at the moment and rejects Mr Surl’s idea that his office should take control of its governance instead.
Mr Surl has previously said changes he would implement if the service came under his authority would lead to “greater public safety”, but the county council insists the proposals would cost taxpayers as much as £15.7million.
Writing to Mr Surl, Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd said the call to change the future of the fire service won’t be made until after the PCC elections in 2020, due to “significant parliamentary and policy pressures”.
In 2017 the Government asked Mr Surl to investigate whether to merge the governance of GFRS and the police.
The county council has strongly stated its opposition to Mr Surl’s proposal, and both have submitted their cases to Home Secretary Sajid Javid who will have the final say.
Gloucestershire’s PCC said: “Obviously, I am disappointed but not surprised given the situation in which the Government currently finds itself and the other demands on its time.
“It will also be frustrating, I’m sure, for the majority of those who work in the police and fire services, as well as the general public, who took part in the consultation and expressed their support for change.
“Yet this delay also provides an opportunity. Many of the ideas the county council proposed in its opposition to change were already contained in the business case I submitted to the Home Secretary.”
Gloucestershire County Council has been approached for comment.
In the letter, Mr Hurd wrote: “I recognise the work that you have put into developing, engaging and consulting on this business case. However, it is now not possible for the Department to assess fire governance proposals ahead of the May 2020 elections.
“I appreciate all the hard work that has gone into this and the steps you have taken to engage with the community and local stakeholders on your business case.
“We remain fully committed to emergency services collaboration and to the policy of enabling PCCs to take on fire governance. We look forward to considering the proposal and any updates to it after the May 2020 PCC elections”.