No complaints for fire watchdogs

A "watchdog" committee set up under Government regulations to hear public complaints about members of the Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority has not received a single complaint since the introduction of a new system for dealing locally with complaints, it has been revealed.

Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority's Standards Committee, which meets three times a year and is made up of four independent members of the community and four members of the Fire Authority, plans to push ahead with a simple, easy-to-access guide, which will assist members of the public who want to make a complaint.

Committee members are also undergoing training to ensure that they are ready in case of any future complaint, said the independent chair Mr Michael Tebbutt, a former Royal Naval submariner and administrator at Weston Park.

"People on our Standards Committee are keen to do this job and want training to enable them to do it. We want to be as well equipped as we can if we do get a complaint that we have to judge," he said at their latest meeting.

Councillor Chris Mellings praised the fact that no complaints had been received under the new system.

"Long may it continue. Our Committee has a part to play to ensure everyone stays on the right side of the line."

A total of 2,030 complaints about members were made to local authority Standards Committees across England last year.

During the meeting, the committee heard that independent member David Turner had resigned following his election to Much Wenlock Town Council. The committee thanked Mr Turner for his contribution and wished him success in his new role.

An independent interested in filling the vacant position should contact Sharon Lloyd at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service on 01743 260210.

If you wish to make a complaint about the conduct of a Fire Authority Member, please visit the complaints section on the authority's website giving information about what you need to do, including the form to fill in, and how your complaint will be dealt with.

24th March, 2009