Ministers have launched a public consultation on Mayor Boris Johnson’s proposals to reform London’s fire authority – the London Fire and Emergency Planing Authority – and allow him to appoint more of its 17 members.
Although the Mayor sets LFEPA’s budget, the body is considered a standalone authority from City Hall and is not under the Mayor’s direct control.
He does however have the power to overrule it in exceptional circumstances.
That power was used for the first time last summer when Mr Johnson directed authority members to consult Londoners over proposals to close fire stations and axe fire engines in the wake of cuts in both City Hall and UK Government grants.
The House of Commons Communities and Local Government select committee last year recommended reforming LFEPA along the lines of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, a move which would give the Mayor full control over fire services.
Scrutiny of the new body would then become the responsibility of the London Assembly.
However such a move would require primary legislation which is unlikely to be brought forward before next year’s General Election.
In the interim, Mr Johnson has asked Ministers to make interim changes which allow him to make more appointments.
The Government’s consultation on the proposals will run for six weeks until 29th of July 2014 and can be accessed here.