PFCC response to HMICFRS Inspection of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service
HMICFRS has published its latest report on Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.
The assessment examines the service’s effectiveness, efficiency and how well it looks after its people. It is designed to give the public information about how their local fire and rescue service is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable with other services across England.
Although the report has rated that the Service requires improvement across the three areas of assessment, it has recognised that it is good at understanding fire and other risks.
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst said: “We want Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to deliver the best possible service to the public and I know this is an aspiration shared by the Chief Fire Officer, his senior team and the entire Service.
“We are fortunate in Essex to have a dedicated team of people working incredibly hard each and every day to keep Essex safe and I am confident that they can deliver the improvement we all want to see.
“In the Fire and Rescue Plan 2019-2024 we set out how the service needs to improve including having a greater focus on prevention and protection activity to drive down the number of incidents, by working closer with the communities it serves and by being a great place to work.
“The inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) confirms our own assessment as the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner of where the Service is doing well and where it needs to continue to progress. We welcome the detailed work by HMICFRS which highlights how we can continue this journey of improvement.
“The Service has achieved much and there are clear areas of progress since the 2019 inspection.
However, there remains areas where significant progress is still required, especially in areas such as prevention and protection, where we need to see a significant increase in the level of prevention work done by staff on stations to reduce risks to the public and critical investment in the training of fire protection staff.
“As HMICFRS highlight in their report, we must not underestimate the scale of the cultural challenges the service has faced in the past. It is positive, that, like us, HMICFRS has seen progress in this area, especially in promoting the right values and culture. Achieving cultural change is difficult, especially given the challenges faced during the COVID 19 pandemic, but one which is fundamental to improving performance across the service.
“While it is good that progress has been made, we agree with the HMICFRS report that much more needs to be done to embed the positive culture and values that the service has introduced so everybody understands what is required of them.
“HMICFRS rightly point out that we now have a much more detailed picture of our financial position and we are pleased that the budgeting process this year has allowed us to find the resources we need through savings and investments to keep the public of Essex safe.
“It is also useful that HMICFRS have highlighted the positive progress that has been made in understanding risk and understanding what the service needs to do both in terms of preventing harm and protecting the public through better building inspections and regulation.
“These are areas that we have been investing in and continue to see the need for significant further improvement. I am assured that the ongoing cause of concern around fire protection is on track to be resolved in the near future. My expectation is that the service will push hard to make the necessary progress in these areas and we will be holding the Chief Fire Officer and his team to account for delivering this.
“Although significant challenges remain, it is important to recognise the effort and commitment being made by the Service to improve and deliver the best possible service to the public.
You can read the full report here: Essex – HMICFRS (justiceinspectorates.gov.uk)