High Court fails to overturn PCC’s case for governance of fire and rescue service
Today Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority (HWFA) learned that it has not succeeded in persuading the High Court to overturn the Home Office’s decision to approve the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), John Campion’s, business case to take over the governance of the Fire and Rescue Services in Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Worcestershire.
The decision followed a judicial review after both HWFA and Shropshire & Wrekin Fire Authority challenged the Home Secretary’s decision to change the governance of both Services, from two Authorities comprising councillors of the four local authority areas, to the PCC.
HWFA Chairman, Councillor Roger Phillips, said: “We are disappointed with the decision of the High Court as we provided a strong argument to show that the PCC’s business case would not improve the economy, effectiveness, or efficiency of the Services, any more than under the governance of the Fire Authority.
"The Judge decided not to grant our application for judicial review even though he agreed with our argument that the Home Secretary had applied the wrong test when considering the PCC's business case. In light of this and having considered legal advice, we believe there are grounds to challenge the Court's decision and will therefore be applying for leave to appeal.
"In the meantime we will continue to work collaboratively with the PCC’s office and with our colleagues in West Mercia Police to deliver the best Fire and Rescue Service for communities in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
“HWFRS will also continue to explore the Alliance with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service to secure resilient and sustainable emergency response and rescue services for all our communities now and in the future.”