To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the judicial reviews brought by Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Authority against their proposed merger, what steps she is taking to ensure that legal processes do not prevent the delivery of future efficient and safe mergers.
In March 2020, the Court of Appeal refused permission for the FRAs in West Mercia to appeal the High Court’s judgment on the transfer of fire governance to the PCC for West Mercia, bringing to end the judicial review. Further JR proceedings have now become redundant in light of current developments.
It is disappointing that lengthy legal action by the FRAs in West Mercia has meant that we have not yet been able to implement a transfer of governance that we considered to be in the interest of the local community.
We remain strongly committed to supporting PCCs to take on fire governance where a case exists, and I look forward to reviewing any updated proposal the newly elected PCC may decide to bring forward after the elections. We will be working with the sector in the meantime to consider the lessons learned from this process.