Agenda and minutes

Venue: Virtual meeting accessible via MS Teams and YouTube (as a live webcast)

Contact: Diane Brooks, Principal Member Services Officer.  Tel: 01772 866720. Email:  dianebrooks@lancsfirerescue.org.uk

Link: View the Teams meeting here

Items
No. Item

25/19

Chairman's Announcement

Minutes:

The Chairman, County Councillor Parkinson welcomed Authority Members and members of the press and public to the virtual committee meeting of the Planning Committee.  He advised that in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic the Government had made regulations that enabled virtual meetings.  This meeting was accessible for Committee Members via Microsoft Teams and for members of the press and public via a live webcast on YouTube.

 

The Committee Members individually confirmed their attendance at the start of the meeting.

26/19

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from County Councillor Tony Martin.

27/19

Disclosure of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

Members are asked to consider any pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests they may have to disclose to the meeting in relation to matters under consideration on the agenda.

Minutes:

None received.

28/19

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 174 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED: - That the Minutes of the last meeting held on 10 February 2020 be confirmed as a correct record for signature by the Chairman.

29/19

Annual Service Report pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Area Manager Charters presented the report. 

 

The Annual Service Report (ASR) was a key part of the Service’s corporate planning process which enabled the documentation of deliverables in the previous 12 month performance period as set out in the Annual Service Plan.

 

In addition to highlighting the key projects that had been delivered against the 2019/20 Annual Service Plan, it also presented the opportunity to reflect on some of the unplanned major achievements and challenges the Service had delivered over the last 12 months.

 

Members considered the detailed a range of projects, action plans and priority items for completion during the year as set out in the report:-

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Preventing fires and other emergencies from happening and protecting people and property when they do

 

Deliver tailored prevention activity

 

·        CookSafe and TeenSafe campaigns

 

The Keep It Clean, Keep It Clear cooking safety campaign ran from July to October 2019 and was centred on keeping ovens and hobs clean and clear to reduce the risk of fire. High risk areas were targeted as part of the campaign, as well as people living alone and people over the pensionable age. There had been a decreasing trend in cooking related accidental dwelling fires since the CookSafe campaign started in 2017.

 

The 2019/2020 academic year saw the first full year of key stage 3 TeenSafe delivery, which provided targeted sessions on themes such a Bonfire Night, water safety, grass fire safety and anti-social behaviour. In addition prevention sessions were provided for year 2 and early years’ pupils, both at their settings and on stations. The Service also worked with voluntary youth groups such as guides and scouts, as well as further education and higher education establishments delivering student safety sessions.

 

·        Become an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) aware organisation

 

During 2019/20, ACE toolbox talks were undertaken at the Service’s headquarters and training centre and at a number of fire stations across Lancashire. Delivery of the talks would continue in 2020/21 until ACE was embedded as a core organisational offering.

 

Harness technology to improve protection activity

 

Work continued to develop technology to support quicker report production and wider digitisation of business safety and enforcement services, with more agile ways of working including mobile access to building files and plans. This was part of a wider project to ensure fire safety inspectors’ resources were targeted at the most appropriate premises through an increasingly refined risk based inspection programme which considered building use, management history and other factors such as cladding.

 

Responding to fires and other emergencies quickly and competently

 

Evaluate tools to strengthen response

 

·        Pre-alerting system

 

Following promising results at four fire stations, the trial had been extended to include the majority of fire engines in the north of the county to examine the impact of early mobilisation messages on performance levels on all shift systems including on-call.

 

·        Dynamic cover tool

 

The Service continued to explore the feasibility of a shared product with regional partners to improve the effectiveness of geographical resource allocation across Lancashire.

 

Strengthen operational assurance

 

Following  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29/19

30/19

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services Update pdf icon PDF 201 KB

Minutes:

Area Manager Charters presented the report.

 

The second inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) was due to be conducted in April/May 2020.  This was suspended due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the recall of HMICFRS seconded staff to their own fire and rescue services in order to support the planning and management of response during the pandemic.

 

Throughout the pandemic period LFRS’ Service Liaison Officer had maintained contact with the HMICFRS’ Service Liaison Lead, Jo Hayden by means of two-weekly telephone conversations.

 

Whilst the Service Liaison Officer would return to the HMICFRS with effect from 29 June 2020, there would be an ensuing period of time where the HMICFRS would need to undertake work to recruit to vacant roles within the inspection teams, meaning that a full inspection was not expected until much later into 2021.

 

However, early indications suggested that a Covid-19 Thematic review was likely to occur and whilst confirmation was awaited, the Service was making preparations in readiness for:

 

  1. The Data Return request (postponed from May) and likely to incorporate Covid-19 specific data sources.  A subsequent Data Return in October this year bringing LFRS back into the planned HMICFRS data rhythm;
  2. A Covid-19 Thematic inspection of all FRS between July and October 2020;
  3. A Thematic report being published in January 2021 on the findings of the Covid-19 inspection;
  4. A HMICFRS ‘return to work strategy’ that involved the use of Microsoft Teams to provide an engagement tool for use with fire and rescue services;
  5. A return to business as usual by July 2021.

 

The Covid-19 inspection was thought likely to be a sub-diagnostic within the wider inspection framework and framed around the pillars of efficiency, effectiveness and people.  It would be reasonable to expect that such an inspection would consider delivery of prevention, protection and response activities during the period, provisions made for employee welfare, and work conducted under the tri?partite agreement and in support of the Lancashire Resilience Forum partnership.

 

RESOLVED: - That the content of the report be noted.

31/19

Implementing Regulatory Change and Transforming Protection Services pdf icon PDF 436 KB

Minutes:

The Chief Fire Officer introduced the report.  He advised that the need for regulatory change had been discussed for a number of years now as it had been 3 years since the Grenfell tragedy.  Some significant changes had been made towards the legislation and much more was expected.  So far, the focus had been on high-rise buildings.   However, there was a move now to buildings below what would traditionally be seen as high-rise and the regulations for that would have a knock on effect on the entire built environment.  The scale therefore would probably be the most significant change seen by the sector since it carried out fire certifications 20 years ago.  When the Regulatory Fire Safety Order 2005 was put in place it changed the role of the Fire Service to be more like the Health and Safety Executive ie: using fewer resources to provide some support to businesses, investigating fires in commercial premises and prosecuting as required.  These responsibilities would remain but the changes to the role of the Service were more likely to include giving consent to changes to the use of buildings.  A transformation was required by the sector in the way it was structured and responded to the changes that had been made to the built environment during the last 20 years ie: where there had been a number of changes to the way inspections by local building control had been undertaken and the role of approved inspectors. 

 

Dame Judith Hackitt had described the current system as broken and in need of fundamental reform.  This was the early stages of that transformation which came with a commitment to provide surge funding which was expected would be built into baseline funding as part of the comprehensive funding review; the detail of which had yet to be seen due to the pandemic.

 

This was the start of a journey of significant change in the sector, one which should put the Service in a much stronger position to assure the building stock in Lancashire was fit for purpose in terms of protecting the people who resided and operated in them.

 

The Assistant Chief Fire Officer advised that the first part of the paper largely introduced the legislation and the drivers for change.  Page 30 set out the Fire Safety Bill, which was a response to the Grenfell Tower Fire and which would amend the Fire Safety Order to clarify that the responsible person or duty-holder for multi-occupied residential buildings must manage and reduce the risk of fire for: the structure and external walls of the building, including cladding, balconies and windows; and the entrance doors to individual flats that opened into common parts.

 

The paper then detailed the scope of the amended legislation and referred on pages 32-33 to the Building Safety Bill which was due to come into force in a couple of years’ time.   If the Fire Safety Bill was the regulatory device used to correct deficient existing building stock, then the Building Safety Bill would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31/19

32/19

Consultation Strategy pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Chief Fire Officer presented the report.  The Authority had a consultation strategy which provided a framework through which it could seek public opinion on major change issues.

 

Each year the Planning Committee reviewed the strategy as now considered by Members to assure continued compliance with guidance or legislation and to incorporate learning from any public consultation exercises undertaken.

 

The review concluded that the strategy continued to be legally compliant and in line with good practice. 

 

In response to a comment from County Councillor O’Toole, the Assistant Chief Fire Officer provided assurance that the style and reporting of consultations including the number of consultation events, number of respondents involved and the collation of comments made would remain a part of the work undertaken.  This would be the case next year when there would be a consultation on the Service’s Integrated Risk Management Plan.  This had not been a feature of today’s meeting as there had not been requirement for a consultation item during the last year.

 

County Councillor O’Toole expressed concern regarding the relevance of collecting personal data during a consultation (as categorised in section 9 on page 51 of the agenda pack).  He felt this would be intrusive and unnecessary and that gathering such information caused division in society and locally.

 

The Assistant Chief Fire Officer advised that the intention was to show that the Authority complied with the General Data Protection Regulations in its processing of personal data and was more an indication of the type of data that needed to be protected.  The Chief Fire Officer added that this data was not generally collected apart from where it was required to collect some, such as during recruitment.

 

Councillor Jane Hugo commented that she disagreed with County Councillor O’Toole in that there were occasions where it was important to collect such data to ensure that the Fire Authority was not inadvertently excluding people.  For example, reaching equal number of men and women and not excluding any groups.

 

RESOLVED: - That the Committee noted and endorsed the consultation strategy.

33/19

Business Continuity Testing pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Minutes:

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) was required to test Business Continuity Plans (BCP) annually. The Service test was usually scheduled towards the end of the year once all plans had been updated and reviewed.

 

The 2019/20 test (Exercise Raven) had been planned in detail and was programmed to be held in March 2020.  It involved a simulated pandemic influenza event combined with a fuel shortage.  Planning and preparation for the impending arrival of Covid-19 within Service replaced delivery of the ‘test’ exercise with actual instigation of business continuity plans.

 

Meanwhile a significant flooding event also occurred on Sunday 9 February 2020 which triggered the LFRS BCP and led to non-essential headquarters-based staff being prevented from entering the building for the subsequent 2 days.

 

Members considered the scale of both events was significant enough to qualify as live tests of the business continuity plans.

 

The Chairman asked how the Service was preparing itself for any potential second wave of the pandemic in the winter months particularly the level of physical and mental wellbeing support provided to operational and non-operational staff.

 

In response, the Assistant Chief Fire Officer advised that Chief Fire Officer was the national lead for fitness standards and that the Service had a comprehensive fitness and wellbeing programme with a commitment to Oscar Kilo (which was a wellbeing programme that the National Fire Chiefs Council had signed up to that shared learning and best practice across blue light emergency services).  He advised that there had been an increase in the staff use of the support mechanisms which included the Service Employee Assistance Scheme and efforts had intensified to signpost staff for wider support as required.

 

In terms of a potential spike, the Service was linked into the Local Resilience Forum which prompted the consideration for the potential of a localised spike, pan-county or larger footprint.  The current classification was Phase 2 where the emergency phase was ongoing but resources were being dedicated also to the recovery phase.  Currently the Service was planning to be in the emergency phase for quite some time which might intensify during the winter months where some of the earlier intelligence was that the threat from Covid-19 might increase.  The Service was also planning to resume prevention and protection services which had been adapted or ceased during the pandemic but was cognisant of the need for a quick and effective response as required.

 

The Chief Fire Officer added that the Service had recently surveyed staff to ensure all the learning was captured and that the Service took any advantages that had arisen during the pandemic ie: enabling more flexible working in general was something being considered now.  The Service was aware of the potential mental health effects.  One of the observations from discussions with staff was that operational personnel were used to going into an emergency phase which could last a few days at most (with Winter Hill the exception) however, this was the biggest business continuity change event.  Therefore, people were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33/19

34/19

Date of Next Meeting

The next scheduled meeting of the Committee has been agreed for 10:00 hours on 16 November 2020 – venue to be confirmed.

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Committee would be held on Monday, 16 November 2020 at 1000 hours venue to be confirmed.