POTENTIAL changes to the governance of fire services in Lancashire have been laid out.

The county's police and crime commissioner, Clive Grunshaw this week approved plans to develop a business case for two possible models for the future governance of the fire service.

The first would see Mr Grunshaw become Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire and have responsibility for governance of the service, with the fire authority members stepping down.

The second would involve the appointment of a single employer model where a chief officer would be appointed as head of fire and police in Lancashire.

Under this model, there would continue to be seperate funding streams for police and fire.

Responsibility for scrutiny would fall to the PFCC, though driving collaboration between the services would be the remit of the chief officer.

Following discussions, the Police Federation was found to be supportive of change and is particulary in favour of the PFCC model.

Nationally, the Fire Brigade Union is opposed to new governance arrangements.

Lancashire Police were positive about the opportunities offered for greater collaboration between the force and the fire service.

And the fire service were positive collaboration could be delivered under any of the mooted governance models.

Business plans will be developed over June and July, with a public consultation into proposals due to be launched in August.

The decision would then rest with the Home Office before approval by parliament.

If there are to be changes, it is expected they would be implemented by July next year.

Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, Cllr Mohammed Khan, said he was against the idea of governance of fire services in Lancashire falling under the remit of Mr Grunshaw.

Cllr Khan expressed his view as part of an independent review looking at the options for the future of police and fire governance in Lancashire.

His counterparts on Blackpool Council and Lancashire County Council also expressed doubt about the possibility of change.

Cllr Khan said the fire authority, which currently oversees the fire service, was performing well and had no issues collaborating with police.

He said the fire authority was a more democratic model than the police and crime commissioner route and added it provided better political balance.

Cllr Khan voiced concern the proposal was akin to a takeover of the fire service by police and questioned whether the service's budget would be protected.

But he accepted the fire and rescue service must make cuts to its budget in the same way local authorities have done.

Essex was the first service to come under control of the PCC and six further authorities are under consideration.

PCC moves towards fire in Staffordshire, West Mercia and Cambridgeshire have been resisted by fire authorities but business cases were approved by government.

North Yorkshire and Herefordshire are still being considered and an announcement agreeing the PCC taking control in Northamptonshire was made earlier this month.