ACFO Norman presented the report. In 2017 Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) remit for inspecting all Police Forces in England, was extended by the Home Secretary to also include independently inspecting all 45 Fire and Rescue Services in England. They would become Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and the 45 English Fire Services would all be inspected over a two year period.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) was inspected in July 2018, in the first tranche of inspections and subsequently our HMICFRS report was publicised in December 2018.
The report highlighted our areas of best practice and we didn’t receive any formal areas for improvement. The report did however guide us to consider the following three areas:
· Theserviceshouldensure thatit hasallocatedsufficientresourcestoa prioritised andrisk-basedinspection programme.
· Theserviceshould assure itselfthatit ismakingthemostofcollaboration opportunitiesandthattheyprovidevalueformoney.
· Theserviceshouldputin place anopenandfairprocess to identify, developandsupport high potential staff and aspiringleaders.
LFRS continued to evaluate these areas and was working towards the initial action plan for delivering and measuring our improvements against them. To ensure the delivery of these improvements, they reported to Corporate Programme Board for monitoring and scrutiny.
In response to a question raised by County Councillor Hennessy, the Assistant Chief Fire Officer confirmed that each of the areas in the action plan were time bound. Some actions had concluded, some were ongoing and more were added as required ie: from lessons learned. He advised that other Fire Services were adopting Lancashire’s Risk Based Inspection Programme and that he would provide a short presentation to the next meeting.
LFRS was currently required to undertake quarterly data set returns for the HMICFRS. This involved providing the HMICFRS data teams with an array of information, ranging from overtime costings to fire engine availability. This would be an on-going requirement to assist the HMICFRS in determining the efficiency and effectiveness of the service. It also provided a platform for making national comparisons.
In response to a question raised by County Councillor Hennessy regarding access to the detail in the data set returns, the Assistant Chief Fire Officer confirmed that the data read well and it was used by the HMICFRS to justify the inspection outcomes. It was noted that not all Members wanted a detailed report. It was therefore agreed that a summary overview with sufficient detail to reassure Members of the accuracy of the data be provided to a future meeting of the Committee under part 2 of the agenda.
The inspectorate has taken the opportunity to seek feedback from the sector following the first series of inspections. Whilst the related briefing sessions strongly indicated that the core areas of effectiveness, efficiency and people would remain steadfast there was opportunity to support the next phase of inspections. LFRS was taking the opportunity to shape the detail of future data returns and inspection areas of focus through the consultation process that would conclude at the end of November 2019.
Members noted that tranche two inspections concluded with reports being published in June 2019. Tranche three inspections had all been completed and reports for this final group of fire and Rescue Services were expected in December 2019.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue remained the only Service in both tranches 1 and 2 graded as at least ‘good’ against every sub-diagnostic and an ‘outstanding’ grade in one.
Once the results from tranche three had been publicised it was anticipated a ‘State of Fire and Rescue’ report would also be issued by Sir Thomas Winsor, who would summarise the national findings from within the sector. This report was now anticipated to be published in early 2020.
County Councillor Shedwick commented that the report showed that the HMICFRS guided the Service to ensure it had sufficient resources; it was making the most of collaboration opportunities that were value for money and that it could develop aspiring leaders together with the request of data to HMICFRS. This highlighted the added responsibility placed on the Service Management Team which was appreciated.
RESOLVED: that the Planning Committee noted and endorsed the report.