Chapter 8 – Central supervision and support
Section 40 – Framework document
62.This section requires the Scottish Ministers to prepare and consult on a Fire and Rescue Service National Framework (“the Framework”), keep the Framework under review and consult on any significant revisions made to it. The Framework (and any significant revision) will come into effect by order.
Section 41 – Adherence
63.This section requires relevant authorities to have regard to the Framework when carrying out their functions. The Scottish Ministers have the power to intervene if they consider an authority is failing to act in accordance with the Framework by requiring an authority, by order, to act in accordance with the Framework. They may also cause an inquiry to be held into the matter. Before making such an order, the Scottish Ministers must consult the authority.
Section 42 – Reporting
64.This section requires the Scottish Ministers to report to the Parliament on the extent to which relevant authorities are acting in accordance with the Framework and any action Scottish Ministers have taken to ensure the authorities do so.
Sections 43 and 44 – Inspectors of Fire and Rescue Authorities and functions of Inspectors of Fire and Rescue Authorities
65.Section 43 sets out the arrangements for appointing inspectors of relevant authorities.
66.Section 44 allows the Scottish Ministers to call for reports from inspectors on the general performance of relevant authorities and on how they are carrying out their functions under the Act. The Scottish Ministers are required to lay a copy of any report submitted on the state and efficiency of relevant authorities generally before Parliament.
Section 45 – Directions for public safety purposes
67.This section provides the Scottish Ministers with the power to give general or specific directions (a “property and facilities order”) to relevant authorities as to the use and disposal of property or facilities for the purposes of public safety. Such a direction may cover all kinds of property and facilities. An example of when this power might be used is during a period of industrial action when official relevant authority cover to deal with emergencies is insufficient to deal with local risks and, in order to ensure public safety, their equipment needs to be used by others providing emergency fire cover.
Section 46 – Requirements concerning equipment and services
68.This section confers on the Scottish Ministers the power (by order) to oblige relevant authorities to use and maintain equipment and services as specified. An example would be the new Firelink radio system where in order to ensure inter-operability between the emergency services, and to enable relevant authorities to work across their own boundaries in the event of an emergency, it is essential that all authorities use the same radio system.
Section 47 – Provision of equipment etc.
69.This section allows the Scottish Ministers to provide, contribute to and maintain equipment, facilities, organisations and services which may be used by relevant authorities. This power must be exercised in the interests of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. For example, this section will give the Scottish Ministers the specific authority to provide equipment to deal with civil resilience incidents and standardised systems for radio communications. This will help to ensure consistency of approach in the case of major emergencies such as a terrorist incident.
Section 48 – Central institution and other centres for education and training
70.This section allows the Scottish Ministers to set up and maintain a central training institution for the purposes set out in subsection (2). Some training which is best suited to local delivery may be undertaken by relevant authorities under powers in section 15 and the Scottish Ministers may make arrangements with relevant authorities for central training (for the purposes set out in subsection (2)) to be delivered at local centres.