Update on the Review into Emergency Cover in North WalesPosted
North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority members met today to decide the way forward in relation to the future of emergency cover in North Wales following a public consultation which was carried out between 21 July 2023 and 30 September 2023.
The decision was taken not to progress with any of the options proposed and to continue with the current level of emergency cover, and on that basis the budget for 2024/25 can now be agreed.
A detailed report on the response to the consultation had been previously presented to Members of the Fire and Rescue Authority on 16 October when they took the decision that officers should continue to work on developing Option 1 taking into consideration the points raised in the responses to the consultation, and to cease working on Options 2 and 3 presented as part of the Emergency Cover Review. More information on this meeting on 16 October can be found here.
Dylan Rees, Chair of the Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “It was recognised as being important to take account of all viewpoints and all the information available so that Members could confidently make a fair and balanced final decision.”
At the meeting earlier today, Members considered the following:
- The Service’s enhanced variation of Option 1, referred to as Option 1a, which offers an increased level of cover in South Denbighshire, South Gwynedd and Anglesey.
- Independent legal advice concerning the risk of judicial review – involving the legitimacy of public consultation and not following public opinion and professional advice.
A copy of the paper presented can be viewed here.
Chief Fire Officer Dawn Docx explained other considerations: “We informed Members that we have had a successful public consultation and attained a certificate of Quality Assurance from the Consultation Institute, with whom we have been working throughout, which certifies that our public consultation met the required high standards expected. This comes following the completion of the Authority’s public sector duty under the Equality Act to conduct a detailed Equality Impact Analysis, which includes an equality impact assessment before and after the consultation process, which was also shared with Members.”
Chair Dylan Rees explained: “First and foremost, the primary aim of the Authority is to protect the people of North Wales and ensure we can provide the best level of emergency cover across the whole of the region.
“Members considered all the information and evidence before voting on the way forward. After careful deliberation of Option 1a, which offered was an enhanced version of the option favoured by the public during the consultation, the decision was taken not to progress with that option which sought to improve emergency cover in rural areas, and to continue providing the same level of emergency cover as currently provided to the public in North Wales.
“Members formally rejected Options 2 and 3 presented in the consultation.
“I would like to thank everyone who took part in this consultation and for providing valuable feedback to help Members make a final decision.”
Chief Fire Officer Dawn Docx said: “I would like to echo the Chair’s thanks to the public for taking part in the consultation and I would also to thank Fire Authority Members for taking the time to consider and weigh up all the options.
“I am pleased that now agreement has been reached in relation to the level of emergency cover we can agree our budget for 2024/25. On that basis we can move forward to plan for the future and ensure that we can provide the best possible service to our communities.
“I am also heartened by the fact that we will be able to achieve this without the loss of any firefighter jobs and without the loss of any of our fire stations.
“We now will turn our attention to working with our stakeholders to explore how we can work together within our budget to provide alternative improvements to emergency cover that meet the expectations of Authority Members.”
A recording of today’s meeting of the Fire and Rescue Authority will be available at www.northwalesfire.gov.wales.