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Shropshire 2021/22


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

Last updated 27/07/2022

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service’s overall effectiveness is good.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service was good in its 2018/19 assessment.

The service has identified and assessed a range of fire and rescue-related risks to its communities. It has used a range of information, and consulted widely, to produce a comprehensive community risk management plan (CRMP). The information in the plan has helped the service to review its response standards to better serve its communities.

The service continues to be good at preventing fires and other risks. It has improved its use of social media to help promote campaigns and communicate safety messages.

We are pleased that the service has provided more qualified protection staff to target risk more effectively. But the service should assure itself that its use of enforcement powers prioritises the highest risks and includes proportionate activity to reduce risk.

The service has improved its operational response since our inspection in 2018. It still has good plans in place to deal with major incidents and work with neighbouring fire and rescue services.

Questions for Effectiveness


How effective is the FRS at understanding the risk of fire and other emergencies?


Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is good at understanding risk.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service was good in its 2018/19 assessment.

Each fire and rescue service should identify and assess all foreseeable fire and rescue-related risks that could affect its communities. Arrangements should be put in place through the service’s prevention, protection and response capabilities to prevent or mitigate these risks for the public.

Areas for improvement

The service should make sure its firefighters and fire control staff have good access to relevant and up-to-date risk information.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

Engagement with the community to build a comprehensive risk profile is good

The service rigorously assessed an appropriate range of risks and threats to complete its CRMP. When assessing risk, it considers relevant information collected from a broad range of internal and external sources and data sets, including incident and societal data. For example, it exchanges data with healthcare partners to better understand risk and improve risk profiles.

The service has made suitable progress in engaging with the local community to build up a comprehensive profile of risk, which was an area for improvement at our 2018 inspection. In developing its CRMP, published 1 April 2021, the service has consulted its communities constructively. It held focus groups across Shropshire and engaged with a range of community groups, voluntary sector organisations and multi-faith forums.

The service has an effective CRMP

After assessing relevant risks, the service has recorded its findings in an easily understood CRMP. This plan describes how prevention, protection and response activity is to be effectively resourced to mitigate or reduce the risks and threats the community faces, both now and in the future. For example, it sets out how it will increase resources in the protection team and implement a new emergency response standard based on incident data analysis. The CRMP informs departmental strategies and plans, and there is an annual action plan that includes performance indicators to measure progress. The methodology for developing the CRMP has been externally validated and there is an annual review to make sure it stays up to date.

The service could improve the way it manages risk information

The service collects some information about the people, places and threats it has identified as being at greatest risk, but some of the information we reviewed was limited, inaccurate or not up to date. For example, there were inconsistencies in how premises risk levels were categorised, and some risk revisits were overdue. But we were encouraged that the service had a plan to complete this backlog.

There are robust systems in place to make staff aware of any significant changes to risk information. The service uses electronic safety bulletins that must be read and understood by staff. This means that staff get urgent risk information related to their role.

But the service uses a manual system to collect and update temporary risk information (such as information about occupiers in premises or sporting events and festivals). This system needs better control and scrutiny. Some risk information is missing, outdated or very limited, which won’t help fire crews responding to an incident at these locations.

Good operational feedback is used to inform understanding of risk

The service records and communicates risk information effectively. It also routinely updates risk assessments and uses feedback from local and national operational activity to inform its planning assumptions.

The service has responded positively to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has responded positively and proactively to learning from this tragedy. The service has assessed the risk of each high-rise building in its service area. It has carried out a fire safety audit and collected and passed relevant risk information to its prevention and response teams about buildings identified as high risk.


How effective is the FRS at preventing fires and other risks?


Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is good at preventing fires and other risks.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service was good in its 2018/19 assessment.

Fire and rescue services must promote fire safety, including giving fire safety advice. To identify people at greatest risk from fire, services should work closely with other organisations in the public and voluntary sector, and with the police and ambulance services. They should provide intelligence and risk information with these other organisations when they identify vulnerability or exploitation.

Areas for improvement

  • The service should evaluate its prevention activity, so it understands what works.
  • The service should make sure it quality assures its prevention activity, so staff carry out safe and well visits to an appropriate standard.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

The service has a prevention strategy that targets its highest risks

The service’s prevention strategy 2021–23 is clearly linked to the risks identified in its CRMP. The strategy focuses on these risks:

  • areas in the county at greatest risk from fire;
  • people at risk;
  • travel distances in remote rural areas;
  • changes in age demographics;
  • the economy;
  • housing and people living in poverty; and
  • migration of new communities.

To supplement the prevention strategy 2021–23, the service has implemented four community safety tactical plans:

  • safe and well;
  • arson and fire;
  • children and young people; and
  • road and water safety.

The service works well with other organisations on prevention and it passes on relevant information when needed. Information is used to adjust planning assumptions and direct activity between the service’s prevention, protection, and response functions. For example, it uses incident data to review its prevention strategy. It works with a wide range of organisations to identify vulnerable people, for example oxygen users, hoarders and troubled families. It relays relevant information about vulnerable people internally and externally to the organisations it works with. We also saw good examples of the service communicating effectively after safe and well checks.

The service responded proactively to the pandemic

We considered how the service had adapted its prevention work during our COVID‑19-specific inspection in October 2020. It had adapted its public prevention work appropriately. Since then, we are encouraged that the service continues to work with other organisations, and that operational staff have restarted prevention activity and are contributing to service targets.

The service is effective at targeting its prevention activity

Prevention activity is clearly prioritised using a risk-based approach towards people most at risk from fire and other emergencies. The service has identified a range of vulnerabilities, such as long-term illness, addictions or lifestyle choices.

The service takes account of a broad range of information and data to target its prevention activity at vulnerable individuals and groups. This includes health and social data, and referrals from the organisations it works with. It has produced community risk profiles for station staff to better target activity. We look forward to seeing how they are used to enhance prevention activity in the future.

It provides a range of interventions that it adapts to the level of risk in its communities. The service provides safe and well visits face to face, online and by phone questionnaire. The safe and well programme is provided by dedicated prevention team specialists, wholetime operational firefighters and prevention advocates based at on-call stations.

Staff get the right training to competently carry out safe and well checks

Staff told us they had the right skills and confidence to make safe and well visits. These checks cover an appropriate range of hazards that can put vulnerable people at greater risk from fire and other emergencies.

Dedicated prevention specialists complete the highest-risk visits. They receive enhanced training on topics such as hoarding, mental health and dementia. The prevention team trains wholetime operational staff in making safe and well visits. Training covers why the service makes safe and well visits, and how to record them and carry them out.

But there is limited quality assurance of prevention activity, so the service doesn’t know whether staff consistently work in line with service standards.

Staff understand how to identify vulnerability and take action to safeguard vulnerable people

Staff we interviewed told us about occasions when they had identified safeguarding problems, such as hoarding and people who seemed to be vulnerable. They told us they felt confident and trained to act appropriately and promptly. The service trains staff in adult and child safeguarding protocols. The records we reviewed showed that the service had effective measures in place to make sure staff were appropriately trained in safeguarding.

The service has good partnership arrangements

The service works with a wide range of other organisations such as West Mercia Police, Wrekin Housing Trust and the Shrewsbury partnership to prevent fires and other emergencies.

We found good evidence that it routinely referred people at greatest risk to other organisations that may be better able to meet their needs. These organisations include adult social care. Arrangements are in place to receive referrals from others, including West Mercia Police and housing associations. The service acts appropriately on the referrals it receives.

The service routinely exchanges information with other public and private sector organisations about people and groups at greatest risk. It uses the information to challenge planning assumptions and target prevention activity. For example, through the service working effectively with other organisations, people not on adult social care registers are now identified through effective data sharing. Different organisations now use the same grading methodology for hoarding so there is a more consistent approach.

The service has effective processes to tackle fire-setting behaviour

The service has a range of suitable and effective interventions to target and educate people of different ages who show signs of fire-setting behaviour. This includes an extensive educational programme with schools and community groups and a team of specially trained staff to deal with young firesetters.

The service routinely shares information with other organisations. Its fire investigation officers support the police in the prosecution of arsonists. This work has contributed to declining numbers of deliberate fires for around a decade and the service had its lowest level in 2020/21 of 315, which is well below the English average.

The service doesn’t do enough evaluation of its prevention activities

The service had made some progress with the area for improvement identified in the inspection in 2018 (to evaluate its prevention work so it understands the benefits better). The service now uses a good evaluation tool to measure the effectiveness of the communication methods it uses for fire safety campaigns.

But we found limited evidence that the service evaluated how effective its activity was or made sure all its communities got equal access to prevention activity that met their needs.

The service makes good use of external communication to promote prevention campaigns and activities

We were pleased to see the service had addressed the area for improvement identified in our previous inspection, that the service wasn’t using external communication mechanisms and social media to full advantage. The prevention department has established an effective relationship with the corporate communications team and there have been several significant improvements. These include better information on the website and an effective service presence on major social media platforms.


How effective is the FRS at protecting the public through fire regulation?


Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is good at protecting the public through fire regulation.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service required improvement in its 2018/19 assessment.

All fire and rescue services should assess fire risks in certain buildings and, when necessary, require building owners to comply with fire safety legislation. Each service decides how many assessments it does each year. But it must have a locally determined, risk-based inspection programme for enforcing the legislation.

Areas for improvement

  • The service should assure itself that its use of enforcement powers prioritises the highest risks and includes proportionate activity to reduce risk.
  • The service should make sure it effectively addresses the burden of false alarms.
  • The service should make sure it has an effective quality assurance process, so staff carry out audits to an appropriate standard.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

There are good links between the protection strategy and the CRMP

The service’s protection strategy is clearly linked to the risk it has identified in its CRMP. The service has identified premises where people sleep and deliberate fires as some of its main risks.

Staff throughout the service are involved in this activity, with information effectively exchanged as needed. The service is increasing specialist knowledge by training some operational staff to the level 3 standard for fire safety. Information is in turn used to adjust planning assumptions and direct activity between the service’s protection, prevention and response functions. This means resources are properly aligned to risk.

The service has effectively resourced its protection function

The service has enough qualified protection staff to meet the requirements of the service’s risk-based inspection programme. Most are working towards or have achieved their level 4 diploma in fire safety and the service is supporting a member of staff to obtain a fire engineering degree qualification. Since we identified the area for improvement in 2018, the service has increased competent staff members in protection from 7 in 2017/18 to 11 in 2020/21. The service should ensure that it maintains sufficient resources to provide the range of audit and enforcement activity needed, both now and in the future.

The service has amended its risk-based inspection programme to improve its targeting of high-risk premises

The amount of unsatisfactory fire safety audits completed by the service (24 percent in 2019/20, and 16 percent in 2020/21) suggests it hasn’t been targeting high-risk premises effectively. The England average for unsatisfactory audits was 34 percent in 2019/20 and 25 percent in 2020/21. Unsatisfactory audits are those requiring some form of intervention to improve fire safety compliance in premises.

We are encouraged to see that the service has recognised this. To improve the effectiveness of its targeting, the service is using more societal data sources and has updated its risk-based inspection programme. It is too early to tell whether these changes have improved targeting and reduced risk. We look forward to reviewing this in the future.

Audits of high-rise buildings have been completed

Audits have been carried out at the five high-rise residential buildings the service has in its service area. Information gathered during these audits is made available to response teams and control operators, enabling them to respond more effectively in an emergency.

The service has made joint familiarisation visits to the premises with protection staff and operational firefighters.

Fire safety audits are completed to a good standard

We reviewed a range of audits of different premises across the service. This included audits as part of the service’s risk-based inspection programme, after fires at premises where fire safety legislation applies, where enforcement action had been taken, and at high-rise, high-risk buildings.

The audits we reviewed were completed to a high standard in a consistent, systematic way, and in line with the service’s policies. Relevant information from the audits is made available to operational teams and control room operators.

Many of the audits we reviewed were completed on time according to the service’s own timeframe for audits. But the service doesn’t always complete audits after a fire. This means its misses opportunities to fully review the fire safety arrangements of premises that may have underlying deficiencies leading to outbreaks of fire.

Limited quality assurance takes place

The service doesn’t do enough quality assurance of its protection activity. Managers don’t routinely quality assure audits and may only review work when enforcement action is proposed or if inspectors are in development. There is little quality assurance to ensure inspecting officers are carrying out consistent inspections.

The service doesn’t have good evaluation tools in place to measure its effectiveness or to make sure all sections of its communities get equal access to protection services that meet their needs.

The service isn’t using the full range of its enforcement powers

The service doesn’t consistently use its full range of enforcement powers. The service does less enforcement work than other similar fire and rescue services, and it hasn’t prosecuted anyone since 1 April 2017.

From 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, the service issued no alteration notices, 13 informal notifications, 1 enforcement notice and 2 prohibition notices, and undertook no prosecutions.

The service has improved the resilience of its 24/7 fire safety cover

In our previous inspection, one area for improvement was the service’s arrangements for providing specialist protection advice out of hours, which needed to improve.

We are encouraged to see the service now has robust arrangements in place to provide technical support at all times of day (24/7). Five specialist protection watch managers provide this support.

The service works well with others to take joint action

The service works closely with other enforcement agencies to regulate fire safety and routinely exchanges risk information with them. For instance, the service:

  • is an active and valued member of the Shropshire safety advisory group, working together to make sure members of the public are safe at sporting and community events;
  • carries out joint fire safety inspection and enforcement activity with local authority housing and building control officers; and
  • works as a main partner with a wide range of enforcement agencies such as the Care Quality Commission and the Environment Agency, as well as on multi-agency action against modern-day slavery with West Mercia Police.

The service responds to building and licensing consultations on time

The service responds to all building and licensing consultations on time, so consistently meets its statutory responsibility to comment on fire safety arrangements at new and altered buildings. In 2020/21 the service responded to 100 percent of building consultations on time, which is to be commended.

The service works well with businesses to support them to comply with fire safety regulation

The service proactively engages with local businesses and other organisations to promote compliance with fire safety legislation. The service provides fire safety seminars for business owners and responsible persons. During the pandemic, the service provided online virtual sessions. There is also clear information on the service’s website to assist businesses to comply with fire safety.

The service hasn’t done enough to reduce unwanted fire signals

The service has made only limited progress in reducing the number of fire false alarms (unwanted fire signals), which we identified as an area for improvement in 2018. There have been some improvements, but they were due mainly to changes in response procedures since the pandemic.

The number of unwanted fire signals (automatic fire false alarms, due to apparatus) has remained consistently high for more than five years. In 2020/21, 1,145 such incidents were responded to. This is 30 percent of all incidents attended. This means that fire engines may be responding to false alarms instead of genuine calls. And more fire engines on the roads means a greater risk to the public.


How effective is the FRS at responding to fires and other emergencies?


Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is good at responding to fires and other emergencies.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service was good in its 2018/19 assessment.

Fire and rescue services must be able to respond to a range of incidents such as fires, road traffic collisions and other emergencies within their areas.

Areas for improvement

The service should make sure it has an effective system for learning from operational incidents.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

The service aligns resources to the risks identified in its CRMP

The service’s response strategy is linked to the risks identified in its CRMP. Its fire engines and response staff, as well as its working patterns, are designed and located to help the service to respond flexibly to fires and other emergencies with the appropriate resources.

For example, the service has 28 fire engines and a range of specialist vehicles strategically situated around Shropshire. The service has effective measures in place to maintain cover. The service uses a cohort of watch managers and firefighters (known as the Group Support Team) to fill gaps at stations where there are shortages of staff.

The service consistently meets its response standards to fires

There are no national response standards of performance for the public. But the service has set out its own response standards in its CRMP. In the latest CRMP, published 1 April 2021, the service revised its response standard. This amended the standard from a 15-minute approach across the entire county to one that takes account of the population spread across Shropshire. There are now response standards for the first fire engine to arrive for urban (10 minutes), town and fringe (15 minutes) and rural (20 minutes). The service has set itself a target to achieve this standard 85 percent of the time.

The service consistently meets its standards. It met its response standard on 89 percent of occasions in 2020/21. Home Office data shows that in the year to 31 March 2021, the service’s response time to primary fires was 10 minutes and 9 seconds. This is faster than the average response time (10 minutes and 28 seconds) for predominantly rural services like Shropshire.

On-call and wholetime availability is excellent

To support its response strategy, the service aims to have all its fire engines available 100 percent of the time. This is an extremely challenging target to achieve, particularly as 20 of the service’s 23 fire stations are exclusively on-call stations, which are often more difficult to staff.

The service consistently provides outstanding levels of availability. In 2020/21 the overall fire engine availability was 97.5 percent, with actual availability for on-call and wholetime being 97.2 percent and 98.8 percent, respectively.

Staff have a good understanding of how to command incidents safely

The service has appropriately trained its incident commanders and assesses them every two years. The incident commanders must meet appropriate standards in these assessments.

In 2020/21, 100 percent of incident commanders were accredited on time. In the same year, every incident was attended by an incident commander who had the right accreditation. This helps the service to safely, confidently and effectively manage the whole range of incidents it could face, from small and routine ones to complex multi-agency incidents.

Control staff aren’t always involved in debriefing and operational learning

We are pleased that control staff are sometimes involved in the service’s command, training, exercise, debrief and assurance activity. Fire control staff gave examples of being involved in a debrief after a significant waste site fire and a multi-agency exercise incorporating a marauding terrorist attack.

But control staff aren’t always involved in debriefs. This means they don’t always have opportunities to learn from others or contribute to shared learning. It was also evident that lessons learned from incidents and exercises weren’t always effectively communicated to control staff not involved at the time.

The service should test its ability to provide fire survival guidance to many callers simultaneously

The service uses the same mobilising system as Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, and Cleveland Fire and Rescue Service. Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service can take emergency calls for the other two services and mobilise resources. But the facility is only in place for Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service to take overflow calls from Shropshire, which limits the service’s resilience arrangements for taking simultaneous calls through the tri-service partnership.

The service has provided training to control staff on fire survival guidance. But it hasn’t tested its ability to provide fire survival guidance to many callers simultaneously, as we would have expected it to. This was identified as learning for fire services after the Grenfell Tower fire.

Control has some good systems in place, for example airwave radio to exchange real-time risk information with incident commanders, other responding partners and other supporting fire and rescue services. Maintaining good situational awareness helps the service to communicate effectively with the public, providing them with accurate and tailored advice. The service has invested in some new technology to improve the speed and accuracy of the flow of information from control to the incident commander. Training was underway at the time of our inspection and we look forward to reviewing its effectiveness in the future.

Risk information is easily accessible to staff

We sampled a range of risk information at wholetime and on-call stations across Shropshire, including what was in place for firefighters responding to incidents at high‑risk, high-rise buildings and what information was held by fire control.

The information we reviewed was up to date and detailed. It could be easily accessed and understood by staff. Encouragingly, it had been completed with input from the service’s prevention, protection and response functions when appropriate. But fire control can’t directly access risk information such as plan layouts for high-rise premises. The service should make sure that control staff can access this information quickly.

The service can access risk information from neighbouring fire and rescue service areas, which it might reasonably be asked to respond to in an emergency.

Evaluating operational performance is inconsistent

As part of the inspection, we reviewed a range of emergency incidents and training events. These included significant domestic and commercial fires, and road traffic collisions.

Of these incidents, we were disappointed that debriefs weren’t routinely held. This shows that the service doesn’t have a consistent approach for recording and passing on lessons learned from operational activity.

The service doesn’t always act on learning it has, or should have, identified from incidents. This means it isn’t routinely improving its service to the public. Staff we spoke to were very familiar with carrying out hot debriefs soon after an incident. But very few could recall participating in a formal debrief or learning from a debrief report that had been circulated in the service. Formal learning from the significant fire at a waste recycling site has yet to be passed on in the organisation.

We are encouraged, however, to see the service is contributing towards, and acting on, learning from other fire and rescue services or operational learning gathered from other emergency service partners. This includes national learning about fires in timber-framed buildings. The service has raised awareness of this risk and has purchased equipment to help in dealing with this potential threat.

The service is better at adopting national operational guidance

The following area for improvement was identified at the last inspection in 2018: “The service should ensure it understands what it needs to do to adopt national operational guidance, including joint and national learning. It should then put in place a clear plan to do so.”

We are pleased that the service has appropriately resourced this work and has made good progress in this area. National operational guidance products and information have been released, and there is a plan in place for full implementation. But some staff are confused about this new way of working. The service should make sure it effectively communicates news about the national operational guidance roll out throughout the organisation.

There are good arrangements for keeping the public informed about incidents

The service has good systems in place to inform the public about continuing incidents and help keep them safe during and after incidents. The service makes good use of its website and social media platforms to provide updates and safety advice for the community.

The communications team works well with the local resilience forum (LRF) to provide consistent messages to warn and inform the public. The service provides media training for its incident commanders, which it plans to incorporate into future command exercises.


How effective is the FRS at responding to major and multi-agency incidents?


Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is good at responding to major and multi‑agency incidents.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service was good in its 2018/19 assessment.

All fire and rescue services must be able to respond effectively to multi-agency and cross-border incidents. This means working with other fire and rescue services (known as intraoperability) and emergency services (known as interoperability).

Areas for improvement

The service should make sure it is well-prepared to form part of a multi-agency response to a terrorist incident, and its procedures for responding are understood by all staff and are well tested.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

The service is well prepared for major and multi-agency incidents

The service has effectively anticipated and considered the reasonably foreseeable risks and threats it may face. These risks are listed in both local and national risk registers as part of its community risk management planning. The service has developed plans with other organisations to deal with specific risks, such as military sites. It has also created generic plans for incidents such as floods, pipelines and animal health emergencies. Plans are stored on a safe and secure system called Resilience Direct that can be accessed by all multi-agency responders.

It is also familiar with the significant risks in neighbouring fire and rescue services that it might reasonably be asked to respond to in an emergency. These include wide area flooding or high-rise residential buildings. Firefighters have access to risk information from neighbouring services. Operational staff now have access to risk information up to 10 kilometres into neighbouring service areas. This was found to be inconsistent in our inspection in 2018 and has now been improved.

The service needs to improve understanding of marauding terrorist attacks

We reviewed the arrangements the service had in place to respond to different major incidents, including flooding and terrorist incidents.

There are some good arrangements in place, which are well understood by staff. For example, fire control staff know what to do when a major incident is declared and how to request national resilience assets. The incident commanders we spoke to were confident in their ability to manage multi-agency incidents and work with partner organisations. Significant long-lasting incidents the service has dealt with in the past year, such as the Greenway waste fire and the COVID-19 response, have given staff good experience in dealing with multi-agency incidents.

But it was also evident that many firefighters and incident commanders haven’t been trained in marauding terrorist attacks (MTA) procedures and know little about them.

The service works well with other fire and rescue services

The service supports other fire and rescue services responding to emergency incidents. For example, it regularly attends incidents in bordering services. It is intraoperable with these services and can form part of a multi-agency response.

The service has successfully deployed to other services and has used national assets such as the boat to assist in flooding incidents and searching for missing people.

Effective cross-border exercising takes place

In our last inspection, we identified an area for improvement that the service should arrange a programme of over-the-border exercises, sharing the learning from these exercises. The service has since developed and effectively implemented a service exercise strategy that includes cross-border exercises. It sets out a range of organised opportunities for staff in different roles to support and maintain their operational readiness.

The schedule of exercises for 2020/21 was cancelled because of the pandemic. We are pleased that exercising plans have restarted. The service should make sure that lessons from these exercises are used to inform risk information and service plans.

Staff understand and apply Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles

The incident commanders we interviewed had been trained in, and were familiar with, the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP).

The service could provide us with strong evidence that it consistently followed these principles. This includes online training packages and a JESIP app for mobile phones.

But when we reviewed the communication at several operational incidents, we found that nationally recognised messaging (messages that all emergency services and related agencies understand) wasn’t frequently used.

The service works well with its partner organisations

The service has good arrangements in place to respond to emergencies with other organisations that make up the West Mercia LRF. These arrangements include working with the service’s partner organisations to prepare multi-agency response plans for high-risk sites.

The service is a valued partner and, during the joint LRF response to the 2020 floods, it chaired strategic meetings and played an important part. After the floods, the LRF moved to dealing with the pandemic. The service takes part in regular training events with other members of the LRF and uses the learning to develop planning assumptions about responding to major and multi-agency incidents. In 2021, the service took part in a large-scale exercise at RAF Cosford involving many partner agencies and over 500 participants.

The service monitors and responds to national learning

The service keeps itself up to date with national operational learning updates from other fire services and joint organisational learning from other blue light partners, such as the police service and ambulance trusts. This learning is used to inform planning assumptions that have been made with other partners.

The service uses the learning obtained from national incidents to carry out a gap analysis of its policies and procedures. The operational performance group uses recommendations from the analysis to decide on appropriate further action. The service has changed how it uses its flood rescue boat and has a continuing Grenfell Tower action plan.