In a Written Ministerial Statement and in a letter to Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for The Cotswolds, the Government's Fire Minister, Bob Neill MP, has today Thursady 22nd March announced that the Fire Service College, located in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, is to be sold as a going concern to a private sector company to continue to operate the College as a training centre.
The future of the College had been under consideration ever since the Government's response to the Fire Futures reports, which was published in April 2011 and stated that the College can achieve its full potential only if there is greater involvement from other sectors, whether private, public or voluntary, in its ownership, operation and governance. The Government then undertook pre-market engagement exercise to gauge market appetite, taking into account a review commissioned by the Local Government Association, which recommended greater private sector involvement at the College.
Following this exercise the Government have now decided that a sale of the College as a going concern is the best option to preserve a national training college for the Fire and Rescue Service.
Commenting on this decision Mr Clifton-Brown said: "I very much welcome today's decision by the Government to sell the Fire Service College to a private sector organisation in order for it to continue its training functions."
"I have been concerned about the future of the College for some time and I have been in regular contact with the Minister on this issue. The College has been on a downward trajectory for some while and I believe that this could be the first step in a significant recovery."
"The College has huge potential to promote and facilitate inter-operability between the emergency services and Government agencies, which will hugely benefit our national and local resilience. I firmly believe that by freeing College from the constraints of Government ownership, a private sector owner can bring innovation and investment to the College, which will benefit the College's employees, local residents, taxpayers, the Fire and Rescue Service and our future resilience to adversity. "
Source: Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP Member of Parliament for The Cotswolds