Policing and Fire Minister orders Fire and Rescue Authorities to curb practice of “boomerang bosses”

Nick Hurd, Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, has unveiled new rules designed to crack down on the employment of ‘boomerang bosses’ in England’s Fire and Rescue Services. The practice has seen senior fire officers retire from their post only to be re-appointed almost immediately and take advantage of favourable pay and pension terms potentially worth more than £20,000 per annum.

Hurd said: “This Government is reforming the Fire and Rescue Services to ensure that they’re more accountable and effective in performing their vital duties. The practice of ‘boomerang bosses’ is not acceptable, which is why we’ve taken action to rule it out. It undermines confidence in the Fire and Rescue Services, whose employees do such a brilliant job keeping us safe, and gives the impression that there’s one rule for rank and file firefighters and another for those at the top.”

Following a consultation last year, the Home Office is issuing new rules preventing Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) from re-appointing senior fire officers post-retirement other than in what it describes as “exceptional” circumstances. Any re-appointments will have to be agreed by a vote of the members of the FRAs and should only be considered where it’s necessary to protect public safety.

A long-serving chief fire officer on a typical salary of around £140,000 can potentially access a lump sum from their pension pot of over £400,000 and then avoid employee pension contributions of more than £20,000 per annum after being re-employed in the same role.

Nick Hurd MP

Nick Hurd MP

The new rules are included in a revised Fire and Rescue National Framework for England. Last issued back in 2012, the National Framework sets priorities and objectives for FRAs in England and has been revised to reflect the Government’s fire reform programme.

The Home Office will further review and update the National Framework in due course to ensure that recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the final report of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of the Building Regulations and Fire Safety are appropriately reflected.

The revised National Framework will outline the role of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services and the National Fire Chiefs Council in England, embed the transformation of local governance arrangements where Mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners take on responsibility for Fire and Rescue Services and support the ambitious programme for workforce reform (including the enhancement of professional standards, management, leadership, training, equality and diversity).

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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