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Stating the obvious

Stating the obvious The purpose of this paper is to examine the form, content and reporting arrangements of “statements of assurance” required from Fire and Rescue Authorities in England since their introduction in 2012 and identify potential improvements for future implementation.Design/methodology/approachA multi-method approach was adopted which commenced with an analysis of the current official guidance, an exploration of the accessibility and structure of the current statements produced; followed by a review of those statements through a desk based analysis complemented by a series of elite interviews.FindingsThe current guidance was found to be too broad and open to interpretation to be fit for purpose. This has led to some significant variations in reporting, limiting the statements’ usefulness to key users and stakeholders. Most authorities provided some form of report on their website but inconsistencies in respect of length, structure, name and content, limit their value. The research found that 30 per cent of authorities did not have an up to date statement available online. These findings were supported by the series of interviews. The result has led to confusion amongst authorities as to the statement’s role and the risk of it being perceived as a “box ticking” exercise rather than a real contribution to public assurance.Practical implicationsThis paper provides potential lessons which could be adopted to inform future guidance in respect of the preparation and publication of the statement of assurance and its role within the wider public assurance regime for fire and rescue authorities. If adopted, these would improve the accountability, transparency and public assurance of Fire and Rescue Authorities which is a key objective of their governance arrangements.Originality/valueThe statement of assurance has only been a requirement of authorities since the current National Framework for Fire and Rescue was published in July 2012 and has not been subject to independent research since its inception. The government have recently issued a consultation on a new national framework, but this proposes changes to the statements of assurance. The findings will therefore be of value to the government, the fire and rescue sector and the recently appointed regulators for the service Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Emergency Services Emerald Publishing

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2047-0894
DOI
10.1108/ijes-10-2017-0053
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the form, content and reporting arrangements of “statements of assurance” required from Fire and Rescue Authorities in England since their introduction in 2012 and identify potential improvements for future implementation.Design/methodology/approachA multi-method approach was adopted which commenced with an analysis of the current official guidance, an exploration of the accessibility and structure of the current statements produced; followed by a review of those statements through a desk based analysis complemented by a series of elite interviews.FindingsThe current guidance was found to be too broad and open to interpretation to be fit for purpose. This has led to some significant variations in reporting, limiting the statements’ usefulness to key users and stakeholders. Most authorities provided some form of report on their website but inconsistencies in respect of length, structure, name and content, limit their value. The research found that 30 per cent of authorities did not have an up to date statement available online. These findings were supported by the series of interviews. The result has led to confusion amongst authorities as to the statement’s role and the risk of it being perceived as a “box ticking” exercise rather than a real contribution to public assurance.Practical implicationsThis paper provides potential lessons which could be adopted to inform future guidance in respect of the preparation and publication of the statement of assurance and its role within the wider public assurance regime for fire and rescue authorities. If adopted, these would improve the accountability, transparency and public assurance of Fire and Rescue Authorities which is a key objective of their governance arrangements.Originality/valueThe statement of assurance has only been a requirement of authorities since the current National Framework for Fire and Rescue was published in July 2012 and has not been subject to independent research since its inception. The government have recently issued a consultation on a new national framework, but this proposes changes to the statements of assurance. The findings will therefore be of value to the government, the fire and rescue sector and the recently appointed regulators for the service Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.

Journal

International Journal of Emergency ServicesEmerald Publishing

Published: Apr 24, 2019

Keywords: Accountability; Transparency; Fire and rescue authorities; Public assurance

References