The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 received Royal Assent on 1 April 2005. It will come into force on a date to be specified by the Scottish Ministers, although certain sections have come into force already, but only for the purposed of enabling orders or regulations to be made, or to allow pre-commencement consultation. The main purpose of the Act is the reform of fire safety legislation in Scotland involving the modernisation of fire and rescue services, and follows on extensive consultation and reports including the consultation paper The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service: Proposals for Legislation, which was published in October 2003, the policy paper The Scottish Fire Service of the Future, published in April 2002 and the report of the Independent Review of the Fire Service - The Future of the Fire Service: reducing risk, saving lives which was published in December 2002. It also provides for the implementation of the provisions of a number of EU Directives on health and safety at work.

Various aspects of the fire and rescue services are covered in the Act including provision that local authorities are to be the fire and rescue authorities for their area, and schemes for the creation, variation and withdrawal of joint fire and rescue boards. The main functions of relevant authorities are set out, together with responsibilities for the supply of water for use by them. There are arrangements for inspection, supervision and support and a variety of employment issues are covered.

Provision is made for the preparation of a Fire and Rescue Framework for Scotland, with Scottish Ministers to prepare a document, which will set out the priorities and objectives for the relevant authorities and include guidance on the carrying out of their functions, and generally will be designed to promote public safety and efficiency and effectiveness of the fire and rescue authorities.

A lot of the existing fire safety legislation on duties of employers to their staff and in respect of premises is consolidated and streamlined and provision is made about fire safety measures, risk assessments and enforcement.

The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 is available from the HMSO website at: http://www.scotland-legislation.hmso.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/acts2005/20050005.htm Explanatory
Notes for the Act are not yet available on the HMSO website.

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