National overview for more accountable fire services

The Home Office has published the first-ever national overview of what each fire and rescue authority in England pays for 25 common items of uniform and equipment.

The data is part of wider reforms and part of a new transparency agenda to make the fire service more accountable to the public. It will enable authorities, and the public, to compare how much they spend on these essential items to ensure they are getting the best value for money.

The data, provided by all 45 authorities in England, shows authorities are paying similar prices for some standard items, and that some are collaborating to strike better deals with suppliers.

However, Brandon Lewis, Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, has argued that authorities can do more collaboratively to drive down the amount they pay on some of the essential goods they need to keep the public safe.

He said: “It makes no sense for fire and rescue authorities to buy separately when there are both financial and operational benefits to buying together. While some fire and rescue authorities are already collaborating on procurement and reaping the benefits, there is still a lot more to be done.

“This is why I have published key fire procurement data on the prices that authorities currently pay for the most common items of uniforms and equipment for the first time. By doing so, I hope to increase transparency and encourage the sector to take on the challenge of reforming its own commercial landscape.”