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On 1st April 2023, the Police & Crime Commissioner legally became Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC), as responsibility for the governance of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) transferred to them. The transfer followed the Government’s announcement that Cumbria would be divided in to two unitary authorities from April 2023, replacing the six district councils and the overarching Cumbria County Council.  The governance responsibility of CFRS had to change as it sat with Cumbria County Council which ceased to exist on 1 April 2023.

Cumbria is the fifth county to introduce a PFCC-led model, following Essex, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire and North Yorkshire. The PFCC is responsible for CFRS’s governance. This includes responsibility for the service’s legal elements, budget, property, assets, ethics and integrity.  The PFCC is also the employer of all fire and rescue staff.

The PFCC’s role somewhat mirrors that within the Constabulary. They are responsible for the governance of the service which ensures that the correct procedures and protocols are in place for CFRS staff to do their jobs in a safe and legal manner. The PFCC sets the priorities for the service, in consultation with the Chief Fire Officer and identified by the public, which is then summarised into a Fire & Rescue Plan.  The Chief Fire Officer is then responsible for delivering against the priorities.

The PFCC is the voice of the public and ensures that residents are aware of what CFRS delivers and that any issues raised by the public are heard by the Service. As the representative of the public, the PFCC holds the Chief Fire Officer to account. The annual budget for the service is also a responsibility of the PFCC, including setting of the council tax.

The operational decisions for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service remain with the Chief Fire Officer.

Find out more about Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service on their website.