West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Warwickshire County Council (WCC).
The MOU, which sets out a vision for closer working between the two fire services, was signed by the Leader of Warwickshire County Council, Councillor Izzi Seccombe, and Chair of the Fire Authority for West Midlands, Councillor John Edwards, as a firm commitment by the two organisations to pursue opportunities for greater collaboration.
Both Warwickshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service and West Midlands Fire Service will now explore the full scope of collaborative opportunities as a means of achieving reform and enhanced service delivery across the two services. This will include reviewing all aspects of operational service delivery and support functions.
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, 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, said “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.”
Public safety and protection will sit at the heart of the discussions which will now take place between the two services.
This is about collaboration, not merger, and the services will now move to share their strengths and best practice to ensure they deliver the most effective and efficient services to the communities of Warwickshire and the West Midlands.