Decision 47/2022 – Fire Governance Review

Author and Job Role: Johanna Burne, Senior Strategic Project Manager  

Protective Marking:  OFFICIAL

Executive Summary:

Since 2017, PCCs have been able to become the governing body for the Fire and Rescue in their area, pending agreement of a business case by the Home Office.  The previous PCC decided that there were benefits of such a change but not a significant enough business case.  A new White Paper consultation was issued in 2022 and PCC Townsend would like to review this decision.  An experienced consultant has been identified to carry out that review and this decision record seeks agreement to fund the review and appoint the consultant to carry out the work.


In April 2017, the Government passed legislation that allowed PCCs to take on the Governance of Fire and Rescue Services in their area, if a local business case could be made. The Surrey OPCC undertook a project to look at Fire and Rescue Governance options for Surrey. KPMG were commissioned to carry an options analysis of the options available.

On 1 November 2017, following the options analysis report, the PCC decided not to pursue a change in governance of FRS in Surrey at that time.

Lisa Townsend was elected as PCC for Surrey in 2021.

In 2022, the Government issued consultation on a proposal for a White Paper for Fire and Rescue Service reform. This included Governance of F&R services. The proposals included a strong preference for a single elected individual to take on as the Governing Body for F&R services in England and Wales with PCCs one of the proposed models. Currently any change in Governance requires a business case to be produced and agreed by the Home Office.

The PCC would like to revisit the model for governance of the F&R service in Surrey. The options analysis carried out by KPMG is now 5 years old and there may have been changes and developments that affect the potential preferred option.

Terms of Reference for the review are:

  • Review the full options analysis carried out in 2017 by KPMG
  • Provide a report highlighting areas where the analysis is still current and correct or where there has been change since 2017
  • Consider and report on whether change has been significant enough to warrant a revision to the options analysis and a re-consideration of the PCC governance model
  • Consider F&R governance options for Surrey in the light of the White Paper consultation
  • If re-consideration of Governance for F&R is recommended, to look at how to engage partners in discussion on the best future model

A suitable consultant has been identified to carry out this review – Steve Owen-Hughes who is the former Chief Fire Officer for Surrey.  He has been invited to quote for carrying out the review and has provided a costed proposal of £9,000 for 20 days of consulting work, with an estimated completion time of April 2023.


  • The PCC approves a consultant experienced in Fire and Rescue Governance to review the previous options analysis and the PCC’s current position for Fire Governance in Surrey. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Approval

I approve the recommendation(s):

Signature: Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner (wet signed copy held in OPCC)

Date: 15 December 2022

All decisions must be added to the decision register.

Areas of consideration:


Consultation with the PCC, Deputy PCC, Chief Executive, Chief Finance Officer, Officer Manager and project officer in the OPCC.  Surrey County Council and Surrey Police leadership have also been informed.

Financial implications

£9,000 from the existing OPCC consultant budget.




That the appropriate governance for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service is not properly considered.

Equality and diversity

No implications.

Risks to human rights

No risk.