Staffordshire 2018/19Read more about Staffordshire
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.
Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services
HM Inspector's summary
We are very pleased with the performance of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) in keeping people safe and secure, and, in particular, in how it looks after its people.
Staffordshire FRS 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 service is good in the efficiency of its services. We found it to be good at making the best use of resources and also at making its services affordable.
Staffordshire FRS is good at looking after its people. We judged the service to be outstanding at promoting the right values and culture. It is good at:
- getting the right people with the right skills;
- managing performance and developing leaders; and
- ensuring fairness and promoting diversity.
Overall, we commend Staffordshire FRS for its performance. We are confident it is well equipped for this to continue.
How effective is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?
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. Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s overall effectiveness is good.
The service is good at understanding the risk of fire and other emergencies. It has gathered information from many sources so that risks are known and assessed. A risk profile is in place to prevent and mitigate these risks. These plans are known and understood by operational staff.
Safe and well visits are at the heart of the service’s good strategy for preventing fires. These are planned and prioritised by a central team and offer advice on identifying and reducing fire risks. The service promotes community safety, running seasonal campaigns to highlight timely messages.
The service is good at protecting the public through fire regulation. Following a review, the service has identified a list of high-risk properties in its area. It has a two-year inspection programme for these properties and should make sure that it has the staff to carry out this work on schedule. The service has acted to cut the number of false alarm calls received.
The service is good at responding to emergencies. Its Firewatch system allows the service to plan to have the right fire engines and crews available to deal with incidents. However, more work is needed to make sure more on-call engines are available to help meet target times for responding to fires. The service is good at learning lessons from operational incidents.
The service is good at responding to national risks. It is well prepared for dealing with major incidents. The service is experienced in working with other agencies and neighbouring fire services in planning for dealing for national risks.
How efficient is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?
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. Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s overall efficiency is good.
The service makes good use of its resources. Drawing on a range of data sources, the service targets its resources on prevention, protection and responding to incidents. The allocation of staff between prevention, protection and response activity is good. The service recognises the difficulty of both recruiting and retaining on-call firefighters in rural areas.
The service is committed to working with partner organisations, both within and beyond the fire service, to make the best use of its resources. Following the change in governance in 2018, the service has started sharing support services with Staffordshire Police. It is important that all its collaborations are kept under review to ensure that they are benefiting the service.
Staffordshire FRS is good at providing an affordable service both now and in the future. The service has reduced its budget in recent years. It has more work to do to keep its budget balanced in the years ahead. Spending is well controlled.
The service has been innovative in finding ways to improve safety for the people it serves. It has established a community interest company (CIC) that works with partner organisations to develop ideas such as the Community Sprinkler Project.
How well does the fire and rescue service look after its people?
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, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is good at looking after its people.
The service is outstanding in promoting the right cultures and values. Staff know the values of the service and the standards that are expected of them. They see their leaders putting those high standards into practice. Leaders encourage staff to ask questions and to expect honest answers. They also take time and trouble to support members of staff.
The service is good at getting the right people with the right skills. Staff – whether wholetime or on-call – are trained to the same standards. Training is organised and executed to benefit both the service and staff. The service made changes to training schedules to better suit the needs of on-call staff. As a result, on-call recruitment has improved.
The service is good at ensuring fairness and promoting diversity and inclusion. Staff told us that they feel comfortable raising concerns with their leaders. The service is working to encourage applications from women and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. However, the workforce does not currently fully reflect the community that it serves.
The service is good at managing performance and developing leaders. The annual appraisal system works effectively. The promotion pathway is clear for operational staff, and the selection process is open, accessible and robust. However, the service does not have a programme that helps to spot, nurture and support future senior leaders.