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Cleveland 2018/19

Read more about Cleveland

This is HMICFRS’s first annual assessment of fire and rescue services. This 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.

The extent to which the service is effective at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks is good.

The extent to which the service is efficient at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks is good.

The extent to which the service looks after its people is good.

Phil Gormley, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services


HM Inspector's summary

We are pleased with the performance of Cleveland Fire Brigade in keeping people safe and secure. But it needs to improve in some areas to give a consistently good service.

Cleveland is good at providing an effective service to the public. It is good at:

  • understanding the risk of fire and other emergencies;
  • preventing fires and other risks;
  • protecting the public through fire regulation;
  • responding to fires and other emergencies; and
  • responding to national risks.

The brigade is good in the efficiency of its services. We found it to be good at making the best use of resources. And it is good at making its services affordable now and in future.

Cleveland Fire Brigade is good at looking after its people. It is good at:

  • promoting the right values and culture;
  • getting the right people with the right skills; and
  • managing performance and developing leaders.

But it requires improvement at ensuring fairness and promoting diversity.

Overall, we commend Cleveland Fire Brigade for its performance. This provides a good foundation for improvement in the year ahead.


How effective is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?

Last updated 17/12/2019

An effective fire and rescue service will identify and assess the full range of foreseeable fire and rescue risks its community faces. It will target its fire prevention and protection activities to those who are at greatest risk from fire. It will make sure businesses comply with fire safety legislation. When the public calls for help, the fire and rescue service should respond promptly with the right skills and equipment to deal with the incident effectively. Cleveland Fire Brigade’s overall effectiveness is good.

Cleveland Fire Brigade has a good understanding of the risks to its local area. Its approach is outlined in its four-year plan, which uses a wide range of data to inform its prevention, protection and response activities.

The brigade’s prevention strategy covers seven main areas with a high focus on its staff completing safe and well checks. For the year to 31 March 2018, the brigade had a high rate of these checks per 1,000 population, over three times the average rate of fire and rescue services in England. It has carried out analysis to help it understand the main risk factors in its communities. But it doesn’t always target its prevention work at the people who are most at risk from fire in the home.

Its approach to enforcement is a supportive one, helping businesses to comply with fire safety regulations. For the year to 31 March 2018, the brigade had a high rate of fire safety audits per 100 known premises. Fire crews and specialist staff completed audits. However, it needs to make premises with the greatest risks a priority in its approach.

The brigade thoroughly assesses risk to the community before developing its response requirements. It has introduced smaller response vehicles and changed staffing arrangements, so its resources are proportionately allocated to risk. Its average response time to primary fires is faster than other fire and rescue services. 

The brigade can show it is ready to respond to both local and national events when needed. But it should improve its training with neighbouring fire and rescue services. It should also make sure its staff are well prepared to respond to high-risk premises in its area.

View the five questions for effectiveness


How efficient is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?

Last updated 17/12/2019

An efficient fire and rescue service will manage its budget and spend money properly and appropriately. It will align its resources to its risk. It should try to keep costs down without compromising public safety. Future budgets should be based on robust and realistic assumptions. Cleveland Fire Brigade’s overall efficiency is good.

Cleveland Fire Brigade is good at financial planning. It has a five-year medium-term financial plan in place that is updated annually. The plan is linked to action in its community integrated risk management plan CIRMP. It has made large savings over the past eight years, according to data provided by the brigade.

The brigade has changed its staff working patterns to improve productivity. It has good systems in place to manage this. Better use of technology would make it more productive and efficient.

It has a positive approach to collaboration, meeting its statutory duty. But it should do more to monitor, review and evaluate its collaboration activities. The brigade has business continuity plans in place. It needs to improve its oversight of these plans to make sure all of them are being tested.

The brigade has made good use of external funding including successfully bidding for government funding and generating income from partners for its commissioned services team. It has also set up a successful community interest company, which provides community safety services to the community.

View the two questions for efficiency


How well does the fire and rescue service look after its people?

Last updated 17/12/2019

A fire and rescue service that looks after its people should be able to provide an effective service to its community. It should offer a range of services to make its communities safer. This will include developing and maintaining a workforce that is professional, resilient, skilled, flexible and diverse. The service’s leaders should be positive role models, and this should be reflected in the behaviour of the workforce. Overall, Cleveland Fire Brigade is good at looking after its people.

Cleveland Fire Brigade offers good wellbeing support for its staff, including after traumatic incidents. Health and safety is taken seriously. All staff have the training they need, and all accidents are investigated. The brigade has a clear set of values and behaviours, which staff at all levels of the organisation understood and could talk about.

The brigade has a clear approach to workforce planning to make sure there are enough staff to cover important roles. Staff told us they were well trained, although the brigade doesn’t always make sure staff are up to date with their risk-critical training.

The brigade requires improvement in ensuring fairness and promoting diversity. It has developed an action plan to make its workforce more diverse, but this work is at an early stage. It also has an inconsistent approach to engaging with and obtaining feedback from staff.

It has good arrangements in place to assess and develop individual staff performance and linking this to the organisational values. There is no process to identify and develop staff with high potential to be senior leaders of the future.

View the four questions for people

Key facts – 2020/2021

Service Area

231 square miles


0.57m people
up1% local 5 yr change


80% wholetime firefighters
20% on-call firefighters
0.69 per 1000 population local
0.56 national level
down5% local 5 yr change
down5% national 5 yr change


14 stations
21 fire engines


6.6 fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
2.1 non-fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
4.9 fire false alarms per 1000 population local
3.8 national


£30.24 firefighter cost per person per year
£25.22 firefighter cost per person per year (national)

Judgment criteria