Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service has been judged as good in two out of the three areas reviewed following an inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in July 2018.
The inspection focused on three main areas; how effective and how efficient the fire and rescue service is and how well the fire and rescue service looks after its people.
The report, which is published today, 20 December 2018, acknowledged that Warwickshire’s overall efficiency and effectiveness is good. This means that the service assess the full range of foreseeable fire and rescue risks its community faces, prevents fires well, and responds promptly to emergencies, with the right skills and equipment to deal with the incident effectively.
The report also noted that:
● The service takes its responsibility for staff wellbeing seriously, shows a willingness to learn and improve and has a good internal culture
● The role of the Arson Reduction Officer, and close working with the police is a particularly successful element of the county’s community safety strategy
● The service conducts regular and efficient checks on local businesses to make sure they meet fire regulations.
● The service works well with several other local authority agencies
The service’s incident recording system, FireCrest was cited as an example of best practice and was considered a good use of technology by the inspection team.
Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Services Chief Fire Officer, Andy Hickmott said: “I welcome the return of independent inspection of Fire and Rescue Services and accept this report accordingly. Keeping people safe and making Warwickshire a safer place to live and work is a key priority for the service. The report identified a number of ways that Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service performs well and in particular, how well the community is served by our staff. During the inspection itself I was regularly receiving feedback from the inspection team about how impressed they were with what they were seeing around the Service, and how positively our staff engaged with them.
“As the Chief Fire Officer for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, I am proud of the service and what our staff achieve. Whilst I am pleased we have received a rating of good in two out of the three areas inspected, I acknowledge and recognise the identified areas where we know we can do better; all of which are things that we already recognised and have been working on in the last few months to improve.
“I would like to reassure the residents of Warwickshire that we continue to be a high performing service and our commitment to keep the communities of Warwickshire safer remains at the heart of everything we do.”
Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Fire and Community Safety, Andy Crump, added: “From what our residents tell us, we already know that we have a good fire and rescue service, but to receive acknowledgement of that from a national inspection, is something the service can really celebrate. I would like to commend all those involved in the inspection process. I know it was hard work, but the outcomes overall are a real reflection of how hard the service works to keep Warwickshire communities safer.”
While the service received a ‘good’ score overall for efficiency and effectiveness, the report has identified three areas for improvement when they examined aspects of protecting the public through fire regulation; ensuring fairness and promoting diversity; and managing performance and developing leaders.
When reviewing how efficient the service is at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks, the report noted that officers make sure it makes the best use of resources and has suitable financial and asset management plans in place. In terms of managing people, the approach of the Service to operational training, positive industrial relations, and improvements in internal culture and communication, were all commented on favourably within the report.
A common theme from most of the reports published today on other Fire and Rescue Services is around improving the diversity of the workforce. This is a key area for the service and whilst recruitment for full time operational staff has been very limited for a number of years, steps are now being taken to ensure the recruitment of a more diverse workforce in the future.
This is the first time that the HMICFRS has inspected fire and rescue services across England since the abolition of the previous Fire Service Inspectorate in 2006. In total, all 45 English fire and rescue services will be inspected by summer 2019.
To see the full report, visit: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/fire-and-rescue-services/news/