Safe-haven in the south: Kent slashes fire deaths; the last few years have seen a dramatic reduction in accidental fire-related deaths and injuries in the home in Kent--thanks to renewed focus brought about by Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority's first public service agreement.(Community Safety)

The Kent public service agreement, the result of a contract between Kent County Council and the government to deliver innovation and improvement in local services, was one of the first in the country to incorporate a fire-related target.

Involvement in early discussions about tar get setting meant officers from Kent Fire and Rescue Service were able to suggest a five-year objective for reducing fire-related deaths and injuries.

At the start, only 20 public service agreement pilot schemes were negotiated nationally. Since then they have been rolled out to include all local authorities. Authorities were invited to put together a package of 12 'stretch' targets to meet the government's aim to include central and locally based objectives. In return, it promised additional funding and "new flexibilities and freedoms".

Stretch means that the targets were tougher than those already set out in best value or specific service plans. …

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