In emergencies call 999

Partnership between brigade and supermarket giant secures ongoing commitment to fire safety

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) will be providing fire safety advice to the retailer Asda thanks to a new partnership scheme.  

The scheme, also available to other organisations, will see brigade experts providing Asda with fire safety advice which the company can then adopt across the country, not just within West Yorkshire.

Consistency is at the heart of The Primary Authority Scheme (PAS), which allows the emergency service and the business world to come together in a partnership, enabling fire and rescue services across England and Wales to work consistently to improve safety.

Another advantage of the system is that it ensures that fire safety policy is consistent across the retailer’s outlets and streamlines compliance management.

WYFRS has been working together with Asda for a number of years on an informal basis. The creation of this new partnership builds on the existing relationship and has the backing of statutory governance from the Better Regulation Delivery Office.

This statutory governance only came into force in April this year.

As a result of the partnership, WYFRS has already formally issued their first piece of ‘assured advice’ to Asda – the first of its kind to be issued across the country!

Chris Kemp, Fire Protection Manager who has introduced the scheme for WYFRS, said: “I am delighted that we have now signed our first partnership which is a natural extension to the fantastic work we have been undertaking with Asda. We look forward to continuing to develop the benefits and opportunities Primary Authority brings.”

The partnership was officially signed on September 23, 2014, by Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton and Stuart Wiggans, Senior Director, Compliance – Retail Operations for Asda.

ACO Walton said: “Both Asda, and by definition West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, have strong roots in the local Yorkshire area. The signing of the Primary Authority Scheme agreement shows our commitment to work together locally to promote and develop fire safety in Asda stores and buildings across the UK.”

Mr Wiggans added: “In recognising the benefits of primary authority ASDA have proactively engaged and worked with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in the development of a Primary Authority Partnership for fire safety.

“ASDA are committed to compliance and to ensuring all premises are safe for customers, colleagues and visitors and the Primary Authority Partnership for fire safety supports this commitment.

“As a multi-site retailer the delivery of better regulation is important to ASDA, and we recognise Primary Authority Partnerships play a key role in delivering better regulation through the consistent interpretation of legislation underpinned by Primary Authority Advice.”

Background information

When PAS was first introduced, a statutory instrument meant that fire safety law was not included. However central Government agreed to revisit that decision at a later date. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 proposed the extension of the PAS to fire safety. A six month pilot began in January 2013 to determine whether PAS was suitable for fire safety with the outcome of the pilot being that PAS would be extended to fire safety law, subject to Parliamentary processes, which happened in April 2014.

Pictured: Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton and Asda’s Senior Director, Compliance – Retail Operations, Stuart Wiggans.