Oral Update on the Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [8]

Session date: 
September 17, 2014
Question By: 
Len Duvall OBE
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Mr Mayor, you say they are minor changes.  I do not understand what the rush is, then, in the way you have introduced these proposals.  Why can there not be consultation?  I am neither for nor against what you are trying to do, but there are other options.  It seems to me that this is a good time to reflect about this important piece of work in terms of both preparation and, response to various civil contingencies and emergencies we may face. 

I do not understand why you are not talking to London boroughs about it.  I do not understand why you do not have opportunities between the Fire Service or the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) or even the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) in some of that co-ordinating role, because of some of the changes being proposed long-term.  I do not understand.  What is the rush?  Why is it done this way in your name?  That is what leads to a suspicion that it is not just a minor change and there are some other issues.  It is about the central focus of this work.  This is work that has been raised by this Assembly in the past about maintaining that and making sure there is some political control over that.

Answer

Answer for Oral Update on the Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [8]

Answer for Oral Update on the Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [8]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Obviously, as you know, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) remains under the political control and oversight of the GLA.  I do not think there is any loss of accountability. 

I hesitate to say this, but I think you might be slightly startling at shadows here, Len.  There is no intention to do anything except to try to make a small change for the purpose of efficiency.  It seems odd to have two groups of people, one at the GLA and one under the Fire Brigade.  The idea is to bring them together.  We do not foresee any immediate need for staffing changes, but long-term efficiency gains for LFEPA.  It is what we try to do.  It is about shared services and trying to run the city more efficiently.  It is one of the reasons we have been able to cut council tax year after year after year, unlike our predecessors.

Len Duvall AM:  Mr Mayor, this is not going to save money.  This is about, as you said, some of the issues.  It is not clear if it is saving money because you are not being very transparent about it in terms of making the case there.  That is the first time that argument has been made in terms of these issues.  There are any number of bodies that have teams dealing with this issue.  We are not suggesting merging those and bringing those in.  There is no reason the relationship is not working. 

Mr Mayor, you have taken a decision to leave us.  You have said you are going to spend your time on some of these issues, but the legacy of some of your decisions needs to be thought through.  In this period that we are in now of no-man’s-land, whether you are here or not here, I am not saying you are not going to do the work, but you need to be mindful and make sure that there is some consultation and transparency in these arrangements.  That is the legacy you are leaving behind and there may well be some further changes. 

You talked about putting volcanic energy into this.  Actually, volcanic energy is a bit about hot air and also noxious gases!  We need you to do some proper consultation on this.  Your timescales allow this to happen.  Use this to re-energise this important piece of work for Londoners.  That is all that is being asked.  Actually, be big enough to recognise that you have made a critical decision about your personal future - that is fine - and on decisions like this and others in the future, you are going to talk to people a bit more and get a bit more feedback and look at the options.  I do not know what options you have examined because you are not transparent about it. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  With great respect, Len, to your line of questioning, you began by saying that you did not know what you thought about this and that you were willing to be persuaded either way.  Honestly, I will therefore undertake to do that.  The changes seem to me to make sense and seem to me to be relatively uncontroversial and do not seem to me to entail a massive revolution in the way we handle resilience in London.  It is a simple question of efficiency and getting people to understand what everybody else is doing and where everybody else is at.  If there is more information I can give you to reassure you about the sense of these proposals, obviously, I will be very happy to do so.