Fire service trading company guidance published
THE GUIDANCE, jointly commissioned by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the Fire Industry Association (FIA), assists in creating and running fire service trading companies (FTCs).
In a release, the NFCC stated that the new document ‘gives guidance on setting up and running’ FTCs, and was put together by Grant Thornton after being jointly commissioned by the NFCC and FIA. Additionally, the report saw leads from FTCs nationwide contribute to its development, and the NFCC states that it aims to ‘provide good practice guidance based on research’ into FTCs, in order to ‘understand how they operate and explore the reasons for their success or otherwise’.
This guidance also provides help for FTCs currently operating, and for fire and rescue authorities that are ‘considering setting one up’. Among its features are that it ‘covers the full life cycle’ of an FTC, from ‘initial drives for change and thought processes around set-up’ through to ‘options appraisal, business case development and running a successful trading company’.
It also ‘takes into account’ results of research into FTCs ‘currently operating’ in both England and Wales, and ‘sets out a summary’ of legal powers and frameworks for FTCs as well as for the fire and rescue authorities. Another element is that it ‘sets out good practice and the key considerations’ when operating an FTC, such as the use of uniformed officers, alongside providing a ‘high-level narrative on the factors to take into account relating to staff’, like pay and pensions.
Finally, the guidance provides ‘high-level’ assistance on governance structures for both the authority and the FTC, with the NFCC stating that the research to create the report ‘was carried out through a range of stakeholder meetings, knowledge of the fire sector and wider public sector in relation to alternative delivery models’. It also stressed that the guidance does ‘not seek to revise or replace’ state aid guidance issued in 2015 relating to use of authorities’ names and logos.