London Fire Brigade

Fire and Rescue Services and the Primary Authority Scheme

If you own, manage or operate a business, charity or other organisation, you need to comply with fire safety laws.  The main law is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which applies across England and Wales.

From 6 April 2014 fire and rescue services in England and Wales will be able to enter into partnerships with businesses, charities or other organisations which operate across more than one local authority fire enforcement area -  becoming their single point of contact for fire safety regulation advice.

The aim of the Primary Authority Partnership scheme is for fire and rescue services to develop effective partnerships with businesses that achieve a national consistency in delivering fire safety enforcement advice.

The scheme will also allow fire authorities to recover costs from its partner organisations.

Key elements of Primary Authority schemes:

  • Providing reliable and consistent regulatory advice that the business requires in relation to fire safety.
  • If a fire and rescue service has concerns about how a business, which has a Primary Authority partnership with a different fire and rescue service, is complying with fire safety regulations it will discuss the issue with the Primary Authority at an early stage
  • If a fire and rescue service believes that there is a statutory requirement for taking enforcement action it will notify the Primary Authority of the action it proposes to take. However, in some cases there will be a need for enforcement action to proceed immediately, for example where action is needed urgently to ensure the safety of employees or members of the public.
  • Where actions of a business are potentially subject to enforcement action by a fire and rescue service, the  business’s Primary Authority will advise the fire and rescue service on whether it has given the relevant fire safety advice to the business and whether the enforcement action being proposed is consistent with that advice
  • If there is disagreement over whether proposed enforcement action is consistent with the advice given by the Primary Authority the Better Regulation Delivery Office is empowered to determine what, if any, action should be taken.

Who can enter into a Primary Authority Scheme?

The Primary Authority scheme is open to any business, charity or other organisation that is regulated by two or more fire and rescue services under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, 2005.

A Primary Authority scheme is most likely  to benefit businesses with premises in a number of local authority areas.

You can choose which fire and rescue service that you would like to enter into a Primary Authority Scheme with; it doesn’t have to be the one nearest to your head office or in the county where you have the greatest number of outlets.

Remember, a Primary Authority Scheme is a partnership arrangement so you should take time to ensure that the fire and rescue service that you choose to partner with is right for your business and can offer what you are hoping to get out of the scheme.

For more information on entering a Primary Authority partnership with London Fire Brigade please contact the Business Support Group at FSRpartnerships@london-fire.gov.uk