Rare chance available to help to support police and fire service

This story was published 14 June 2021

A rare opportunity is available to join a police and fire watchdog to help to guide the business of policing and the fire and rescue service in North Yorkshire and York.

Back of a police officer

Last month, Philip Allott was elected as North Yorkshire’s new Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. His role involves securing an effective, efficient police force and fire and rescue service, overseeing budgets and setting priorities.

The North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel provides a check and balance to his performance. It scrutinises the exercise of his statutory functions. This panel’s work includes reviewing the commissioner’s budget, the level of council tax to be set and key appointments.

The panel comprises ten councillors from the nine local authorities covering North Yorkshire and York. In addition, it includes two independent members, who are co-opted by the panel.

Applications are now open for those independent roles.

The panel is seeking people with the necessary analytical and scrutiny skills, enthusiasm and commitment to bring a fresh, external perspective to its work. It would welcome not only those with experience in related fields, such as community safety, victim support and criminal justice, but also in areas including health/mental health, commissioning, advocacy and other sectors. Applications are particularly welcome from under-represented groups.

Cllr Carl Les, Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, who chairs the panel, said: “Following last month’s election, this is an especially exciting time to join the panel as it supports the new commissioner as relationships are developed and contributions made to the future direction of these vital services.

“The role of panel members is important and demanding. The co-opted members are an essential component of the panel. They bring a fresh perspective and add valuable experience to the panel.”

Santokh Sidhu is an outgoing co-opted member who joined the panel when it was introduced in 2012 and has served two terms. In addition to his seat on the panel, he has undertaken a diverse range of roles, including being part of an advisory group to the local police force.

He said: “I would encourage anyone who is interested in the role and who thinks they may have the skills needed to apply. Don’t be put off by jargon, acronyms or fancy titles. It is so important to have independent members on the panel who do not have a political background, to complement and reflect back some of the wider views and experiences of those in our communities.”

The successful candidates will serve for four years. The panel meets roughly six times a year and panel work usually takes about one day a month. There is an allowance, currently £1,741 a year, plus travel expenses. Co-opted members are also entitled to Dependant Carers Allowance, which covers childcare costs or costs for care for elderly/disabled relatives, where arrangements have to be made to enable attendance at meetings.

Cllr Peter Wilkinson, panel vice chair and Deputy Leader of Hambleton District Council, added: “Being a panel member is a rewarding and fulfilling role which we undertake on behalf of all the communities of North Yorkshire.  I would encourage anyone interested to apply.”

Councillor Mike Chamber, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing and safer communities, said: “Policing and fire and rescue are crucial services and it imperative that collectively we ensure they are effective and efficient for residents across North Yorkshire and York. This is a rewarding role where you can see first-hand the outcome of the work you’ve been involved in. I urge anyone interested to apply before the closing date of 15 July.”

Cllr Tim Grogan, Executive member and Selby District Council’s representative, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for the right applicants to bring their views and experience to the table. Joining the panel offers a unique way to have a real impact on the future of these services in North Yorkshire.”

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council and Panel Vice Chair, said: “Police and Fire services are so important to residents and communities across York, many of whom value their relationship with local policing and fire service teams. There is now an exciting opportunity for someone with the interest and skills to scrutinise and challenge how these services are managed through participation on the Police, Fire and Crime Panel. By championing the views of communities and under-represented groups across the region, we can ensure that these services continue to serve the best interests of local people.”

See further information and an application form.

For further details, contact Diane Parsons, 01609 532750, or email nypcp@northyorks.gov.uk

The closing date for applications is 5pm on 15 July 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted in the week commencing 26 July and interviews will be held on 6 and 8 September.