Isle of Wight council considering moving Fire Control to Hampshire

The conclusions of the consultant’s report will be discussed at Isle of Wight council’s Executive meeting next week.

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A meeting of the Isle of Wight Council’s Executive will next week (Thursday 8 September) consider a report which recommends a move of the Island’s fire control function from Surrey Fire and Rescue Service to Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service from April 2017.

The proposal (see below) will also be considered by the council’s Scrutiny Committee next week (Tuesday 6 September) prior to the Executive meeting, and by the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority.

Call handling and moblisation
The fire control function relates to call handling and the mobilisation of fire resources for operational incidents on the Island via the 999 call centre.

The existing five year contract between the Island’s fire and rescue service and its Surrey counterpart expires on 31 March 2017.

Feasibility study
The Isle of Wight Council, as the Island’s fire authority, has a strategic partnership agreement with the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority, and a feasibility study was commissioned by the council to explore if a move of the Island’s control function to Hampshire was possible.

Consultants Mott Macdonald undertook the study and investigated two options – to continue with the current provider (Surrey) for five years, or to transfer to Hampshire for five years.

The report to the council’s Executive, which includes the Mott Macdonald study, considers the benefits and risks of both options.

Benefits and risks
The report states that the strategic partnership with Hampshire is currently working successfully and delivering benefits and savings for the council and public in terms of resilience and capacity.

With the Island and Hampshire services already aligned in terms of operational procedure and policy, it is felt a move of the fire control function would further assist with service delivery to the public and savings.

There would also be benefits from the existing collaboration between the fire and rescue services for Hampshire, Devon and Somerset, and Dorset and Wiltshire.

This report and the feasibility study have arisen out of our developing strategic partnership with the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority since 2015. The options in the report will be properly considered by the council’s Executive, fully taking into account potential benefits for the Island’s public – with safety, resilience and capacity considerations to the fore. I would like to state that we have benefited from an excellent service from Surrey Fire and Rescue Service these past four years and the continuation of this remains one of the options in the report, alongside the possibility of the move to Hampshire.Councillor Phil Jordan, Executive member for Fire and Rescue Services