London Fire Brigade still has much to do
The London Fire Brigade still needs to improve in several important areas, and has not made enough progress since its last inspection, according to a new report.
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Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) judged that London Fire Brigade:
- ‘requires improvement’ at effectively keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks;
- ‘requires improvement’ at efficiently keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks; and
- ‘requires improvement’ at looking after its people.
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services Matt Parr said:
“Compared to our initial inspection in December 2019, there is a different atmosphere in the London Fire Brigade, and a leadership which recognises the scale of its challenges and is determined to improve. However, this has not yet been matched by wide scale improvements and a conspicuously better service to the public of London. The Brigade has responded well to the demands of the recent heatwave, but beneath the surface deeper-seated problems remain.
“Firefighters are still not all trained to respond to terrorist incidents, and the Brigade isn’t doing enough to prioritise its home fire safety visits. Staff are not using a proper systematic process to identify and prioritise individuals most at risk, instead relying on their judgment, which leads to inconsistent results. The Brigade does not routinely evaluate its fire prevention activity.
“The Brigade’s values and behaviour are not displayed by all staff and some staff told us they do not feel confident to report concerns or challenge colleagues’ behaviour, often for fear of detrimental treatment by others. While the Brigade is committed to developing a more diverse workforce, some staff said they had seen discriminatory treatment. In addition, there has been slow progress on providing facilities for women within fire stations.
“In some areas, there has been good progress. For example, in 2018 we were very worried about training for staff in risk-critical skills, such as incident command and emergency fire engine driving. The LFB has turned this round, and it is no longer a cause of concern.
“The Brigade has identified and carried out audits at all 8,517 high-rise addresses in London, which is significantly more than any other fire and rescue service in England. In February 2021, we published our report into the progress the Brigade had made against 29 recommendations from Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. At that time the LFB had completed action on only 4 of the 29 recommendations. This has now progressed, and 26 out of 29 actions are complete.
“I am assured that the Brigade is committed to improving and will continue to monitor its progress closely.”
Get the report
- In its last inspection, London Fire Brigade was rated as requiring improvement across all three areas of assessment.
- For further information, please email the HMICFRS Press Office at HMICPressOffice@hmicfrs.gov.uk or call us on 07836 217 729.