Lords scrutinise Service 'centralisation'.(Parliamentary Roundup)

Last month saw the second reading of the Fire and Rescue Services Bill in the House of Lords, picking up on the Commons' debate on powers of the Secretary of State, central control, parliamentary scrutiny of the national framework and funding.

Baroness Hamwee spoke for the benches in generally welcoming the Bill, but criticised the Secretary of State's interventionsist powers and the prescriptive nature of the Bill. She also challenged the ODPM's Service improvement team, saying that nothing can be good unless the ODPM is right there at the heart of it. "However, I am a little confused. As I understand the white paper', it would be independent of central government. If there is a need for a team within the ODPM, then the ODPM should own it, and it should not be independent. …

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