The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is seeking views on the future running of the region’s fire service.
Residents, businesses and organisations are invited to take part in a consultation running until 8th March. The consultation follows an independent review into the way the West Midlands Fire Service is set up.
This concluded that changes could improve public services, scrutiny, transparency, accountability and value for money.
It identified the WMCA as the most suitable of a range of different models to help the fire service meet its overarching vision of making the West Midlands ‘safer, stronger and healthier’.
The consultation is looking at a scheme outlining the proposed structure of the fire service and how it would operate within the combined authority.
Benefits could include a more joined up way of working with local authorities, health providers and the police while maintaining a shared vision for the region.
By working more closely together public services would be delivered at a reduced cost in a more co-ordinated, integrated and collaborative way.
The move would not change the type of incidents and emergencies firefighters attend.
If the changes are agreed, the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street would become the single point of accountability for the fire service, rather than the Fire Authority.
There would also be a Fire Advisory Committee made up of councillors, the Police and Crime Commissioner and health and ambulance trusts, to advise and support the Mayor, while reviewing and scrutinising decisions.
The Mayor would approve the community safety plan, have responsibility for budgeting and for setting the fire council tax precept.
He would also appoint the chief fire officer who would continue to lead and manage the service and deliver its long term strategic aims.