Agenda and minutes

Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel
Monday, 29th October, 2018 2.00 pm

Venue: Oak Room, County Buildings, Stafford. View directions

Contact: Helen Phillips  Email:


No. Item


Appointment of Chairman

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RESOLVED – That Mr Stephen Sweeney be appointed Chairman of this Panel.


Declarations of interest

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There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.


Minutes of the meeting held on 3 July 2018

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RESOLVED – That the minutes of the Police and Crime Panel meeting held on 3 July 2018 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.


Decisions published by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC)

Police and Crime



Staffordshire Commissioner (Police) Decision nos.2018/19  01-08 published since the last Panel meeting


Fire and Rescue


Staffordshire Commissioner (Fire) Decision nos 2018/19 01 - 03 published since the governance responsibility transferrd to the Commissioner

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Details of decisions taken and published by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (‘The Commissioner’) had been circulated to members. 


In order to provide for more meaningful scrutiny, Panel members requested a review of the extent to which text in published decisions was redacted.


The published decision on the award of a contract for the provision of Domestic Abuse Support Services was discussed (see minute 20 below)


Questions to the PFCC from Members of the Public

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Members of the public submitted questions and received the replies detailed (see Appendix to minutes).


The Panel subsequently questioned the Commissioner on the award of the contract particularly on whether the current level of involvement by volunteers in the provision of support services would be maintained and, if not, what action the Commissioner would take in the longer term should any formal contractual arrangements cease.  Responding, the Commissioner was confident that volunteer commitment would continue, commenting that he was holding discussions with local Groups on their involvement in the delivery of new contract.


Addressing questions on the tender and evaluation processes for the contract, the Commissioner considered the process to have been fair, transparent and robust. He submitted that the exercise had secured a single cross county service of a constant standard for all.


The Commissioner clarified the position on provision of Refuges for victims of abuse, explaining that funding was allocated to local councils and that he was working with them to provide co-ordinated support for victims.




Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service

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Update on Governance and Commissioner Development in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent pdf icon PDF 231 KB

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The Commissioner reported that following the transfer to him of Governance responsibility for the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service from  1 August 2018, key actions to fulfil the statutory requirements in relation to the transfer of staff, assets, and resources had been completed and the Strategic Governance Board for that Service had met and decisions published..


RESOLVED – That the update be noted.


Collaboration between Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service - Update pdf icon PDF 562 KB

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The Commissioner reported on a number of functions for which joint working arrangements  between the Police and Fire and Rescue Services had been in operation for some time including Supplies and logistics, and emergency transport and engineering.  Referring to his own priorities he acknowledged the need to address the shortage of retained Firefighters in Staffordshire. He also reported that discussions were underway with the Chairman of the West Midlands Fire Control Governance Board on future arrangements.. Looking to future proposals the Commissioner reported the establishment of a Joint Governance Board to identify and make recommendations to him on opportunities for collaboration/service improvement.


RESOLVED – That the current level of collaboration be noted.




Fire and Rescue Service Corporate Safety Plan 2017 -20 (Incorporating Integrated Risk Management Plan)- Update pdf icon PDF 365 KB

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The Panel considered a report on the implementation of the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service Corporate Safety Plan 2017 – 20 which incorporated the Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP).


The report detailed the required contents of both the IRMP and the Corporate Safety Plan.  The documentation had been endorsed and adopted by the Commissioner when taking responsibility for governance of the Fire and Rescue Service and the three priorities of Education and Engagement, Community Safety and Wellbeing and Planning, Resilience and Response had been re-affirmed.


The Commissioner reported on the performance of the Service against a series of key indicators and detailed various projects being undertaken in partnership with other agencies. A summary was given of the involvement of the Staffordshire service in a number of regional and national initiatives including the National Operational Guidance Programme and the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP) aimed at improving liaison between the three main blue light services attending major incidents.


The Commissioner reported that he continued to familiarise himself with the work of the Fire and Rescue Service and anticipated drawing up proposals from Spring 2019 to build on the success of the service.


RESOLVED – That the report be noted.


Medium Term Financial Strategy - Fire & Rescue pdf icon PDF 612 KB


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The financial position at the time of transfer of governance of the Service to the Commissioner was a total budget for 2018/19 of £40.216million, 37% of which was central government funded , the remainder raised by the Precept.  The Service was committed to a four year efficiency plan to achieve £4million of savings up to 2019/20. (in return commitment to that 4 year plan had given the service security regarding its central government funding levels over the four years) Up to March 2018 £2.2m had been achieved. the remaining £1.8m of savings had reduced to £1.3million following a higher than assumed Council Tax Precept rate for the current year. Measure were in place to achieve the £1.3million.   


The Commissioner reported on Central Government’s recent announcement on the need to increase employer contributions to the Firefighters Pension Scheme with effect from 2019/20 following review by the Actuary.  National level discussions were currently taking place on the funding of any increase in contributions.  Other risks to the budget position were reported, including potential reductions on Government funding and the effect of any change in the way in which the Capital Programme was funded.  Savings anticipated as a result of changes to the Service governance arrangements were detailed however none had been incorporated into the current years budget.


A number of assumptions on central and local funding levels and  pension costs to the service up to 2021/22 were detailed which gave a predicted budget deficit in 2021/22 of £2.469million.


RESOLVED – That the budget position be noted



Staffordshire Police Service pdf icon PDF 327 KB

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Safer, Fairer, United Communities for Staffordshire 2017-2020 pdf icon PDF 591 KB

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The Commissioner reported on the progress of projects and initiatives under his Safer, Fairer, United Communities for Staffordshire, focussing on those pursued under the ‘Early Intervention’ theme.


Members’ discussion centred on the SPACE scheme to which the Commissioner had allocated funding during the 2018 summer period.  In practice the Commissioner allocates funding to organisations, including local councils, to set up and run youth engagement schemes during the summer school holiday periods, in order to reduce anti-social behaviour.


The Commissioner was questioned on the extent to which the funding provides for new diversionary activities over and above those already provided by organisations such as Youth Clubs. The Commissioner acknowledged that in some instances established activities were being incorporate into the SPACE scheme, suggesting that this reflected a wish to be associated with the strong reputation of SPACE and its achievements. His funding did provide for new, additional projects which otherwise would not exist.  The overall reduction on anti-social behaviour was his priority and he expressed appreciation of the work of many partner organisations and volunteers in delivering the SPACE scheme. The Commissioner was asked to consider in relation to SPACE were  the complexity of the funding application process and the wish to see the scheme extended to provide  all year round activities.


Members remained concerned about the future of Safer Neighbourhood Panels and sought assurances from the Commissioner on their future funding.  The Commissioner reiterated his wish to review the Panels due to a wide variation in their effectiveness and degree of public engagement.  He continued to look to SNPs as a means of providing local accountability for the Police Service.


RESOLVED – That the report be noted.



Medium Term Financial Strategy - Police Service pdf icon PDF 924 KB


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The updated Medium Term Financial Strategy for the period to 2021/22 showed an estimated funding gap of c£15million. This was a revision on the £13million reported to Panel in February 2018 and was mainly due to recent government announcements on an increase in employer contributions to the Police Pension Scheme with effect from 2019/20. The forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review was adding to uncertainty about future Policing budgets.


 The Commissioner reported on national discussions on the funding of the additional contributions to the Police Pension Scheme and gave assurances that at the present time he was pursuing the recruitment and appointment of additional warranted officers in line with his proposals when the 2018/19 ‘enhanced’ Precept was approved.


Referring to the national and local picture on Police funding and activity, the Commissioner reported that whilst Government funding remained stable, the percentage allocated to national priorities was increasing, reflecting the changing nature of crime. He briefly summarised national and local police performance levels commenting on the risks to local performance posed by budget reductions. The recently produced Force Management Statement served to co-ordinate the challenges and expectations on the Force with its financial expectations.


The Commissioner’s assumptions on costs and inflation up to 2021/22 were detailed together with the gap analysis for the MTFS for the same period. That gap analysis showed a shortfall of £4.494million in 2019/20 which was dependent on achieving reductions in the Capital Programme and securing other savings. Any savings resulting from collaboration with the Fire and Rescue Service had not yet been incorporated into forecasts. 


Referring to the Capital Programme and level of Reserves, the Commissioner proposed a gradual reduction in the Programme to limit the long term borrowing requirement, and to replenish Reserves, explaining his intention to use the latter as a revolving investment fund in line with his belief that maximum funding should be available for frontline services.


The Commissioner requested the opportunity to discuss budget options for 2019/20 with the Panel prior to submitting a proposed Precept to their January 2019 meeting. 


RESOLVED – That the Medium Term Financial Strategy update be noted and a consultation event be held on 26 November 2018


Questions to the PFCC by Panel Members

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Responding to a request for an update on action to address unauthorised travellers’ encampments in the County, The Commissioner reported that a Guidance Paper had been issued across policing areas and commented on the general over-expectation of the role and powers of the Police Service to address this issue.


Dates of Future Meetings and Work Programme pdf icon PDF 216 KB

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The Secretary submitted details of proposed meeting dates and work programme for the Panel up to April 2020. Members queried the ability of the proposed arrangements to accommodate the Panel’s additional responsibilities in relation to the Fire and Rescue Service.


RESOLVED – That the Chairman consider options for the future management of the Panel’s workload.


Appendix to the minutes of the Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel meeting 29th October 2018, Item No. 6.




1.From J Bould of Hednesford (questioner not present)


 I am President of Soroptimist International of Cannock and District, as a service organisation and charity we have been supporting our local Women's Aid and Pathway organisations outreach work and know the vital service they provide to victims of domestic violence. We understand that there has recently been a new domestic violence service commissioned from one countywide organisation. Could the PCC help us understand the impact this is going to have locally, and what community impact assessment was done in regard to the effect on those local charities and communities who have been serving our communities locally?


Matthew Ellis - “Community Impact assessment was done as part of a very comprehensive commissioning exercise. The impact is broadly going to be around getting rid of the ‘postcode lottery’ that’s been there for some time. I firmly believe that you should be in a place where you don’t have to rely on living in a particular place in order to get a necessary service. We envisioned spending more of the available money on frontline services and the commissioning process showed that more value, more money would go to frontline services. With the way we commissioned it, with one provider, rather than multiple providers. Refuges are mentioned quite a lot, Refuges are not affected, the only thing that is affected is the fact that I’ve subsidised, quite rightly, by the way, the reduction in budgets that the City Council and the County Council have made over recent years, with an extra 1.8 million pounds from my budgets. So, the principle was single service across Staffordshire, as it has turned out, additional investment, and, above all, making sure that there is consistency across the city, and across all of Staffordshire, as far as the service availability is concerned.”         


Stephen Sweeney – “The question is ‘could the PCC help us understand the impact this is going to have locally?’ do you think you’ve answered that?”

Matthew Ellis – “I think I’ve said I’m putting 1.8 million pounds more in. I think, no matter where you are in Staffordshire or Stoke-on-Trent, it’s not guesswork as to whether you’re going to get the service. So, things like the support services for people who’ve suffered domestic abuse and need to go to court, this sort of thing, in different parts of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, you would get a different level of service.”


2. From Dr J Lomas of Cannock (questioner not present)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.