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Home Office consults on rules to prevent ‘boomerang bosses’ in fire services

The Government is to consult on new rules which it says will 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 a year, the Home Office claimed.

The rules will prevent fire and rescue authorities from re-appointing senior fire officers post-retirement other than in 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 is necessary to protect public safety, the Home Office said.

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The new rules are included in a revised Fire and Rescue National Framework for England. The Home Office said the new framework would also:

  • outline the role of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service 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 a programme for workforce reform including enhancing professional standards, management, leadership, training, equality and diversity.

The Home Office said it would 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 Building Regulations and Fire Safety are appropriately reflected.

Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd said: “This Government is reforming fire and rescue services to ensure they are more accountable and effective in performing their vital duties.

“The practice of boomerang bosses is not acceptable, which is why we have taken action to rule it out. It undermines confidence in the fire and rescue services, who do such a brilliant job keeping us safe and gives the impression there is one rule for rank and file firefighters and another for those at the top.”

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