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Constitution of fire and rescue authorities

The three fire and rescue authorities in Wales were established by three Orders (the North Wales Fire Services (Combination Scheme) Order 1995, the Mid and West Wales Fire Services (Combination Scheme) Order 1995 and the South Wales Fire Services (Combination Scheme) Order 1995 together referred to as the combination orders).

The combination orders make provision relating to the constitution of each authority and the appointment of its members. Members are appointed by the constituent county or county borough councils from among their own elected members. Under the combination orders each authority has no more than 25 members but that is subject to a requirement that each constituent council must appoint members by reference to their relative population. The number of members representing each constituent council is therefore proportionate to the number of local government electors in its area and this means that there may be more than 25 members. The combined authority must elect a chairperson, and may elect a vice-chairperson, from among its members.

The conduct of members of fire and rescue authorities is governed by the principles set out in the Conduct of Members (Principles) (Wales) Order 2001, made under the Local Government Act 2000. Under that Act, fire and rescue authorities are also required to establish a standards committee.

Most provisions of Part 1 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 relating to local authority members and staff also apply to the combined fire and rescue authorities in Wales, as they are included within the definition of a 'local authority' for those purposes. Part 5A of the Local Government Act 1972, which relates to public access to meetings and documents, applies to the combined fire and rescue authorities in Wales as if they were principal councils. Each combined authority is required to have a chief financial officer and a monitoring officer.

The combined authorities are subject to more general local government legislation as well as the provisions of the relevant combination order.

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