Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service completes independent review into culture

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has commissioned and concluded an independent review into the culture of the organisation. 

In November 2023, the Service implemented the review, after the HMICFRS Spotlight Report into behaviour, values and culture within the Fire Service was released on the 31st March 2023.  

To address the serious concerns raised in this national report and to assess how these findings related to Shropshire, the Fire Authority commissioned an independent review of the Service. 

Following a thorough process the Authority appointed Ann-Marie Barlow, the founder of Energise Development, specialising in leadership development, culture consistence, executive coaching, and organisational change, to carry out the review. 

Chief Fire Officer Simon Hardiman said:

“I am pleased to say that the report is hugely encouraging with staff overwhelmingly in support of the current strategic leadership style and the direction the Service is travelling in.  

It did not find a toxic culture and there was no evidence of current discriminatory practices and/or behaviours. However, there are some areas that we need to improve on and develop.  

“Our intention is not to shy away from opportunities to better ourselves, but to embrace the learning that has come out of the report in order to further create a positive and inclusive place to work. 

“We will be taking the key themes highlighted within the report and use this to form an action plan that will promote positive change.  

“I am grateful to all the staff who worked with Ann-Marie during the review process and am confident their openness and honesty has created an accurate and informative reflection for us to work from. 

“This better understanding of our organisation will allow us to not only create a better place to work for our staff, but by extension improve the service we provide to our communities.” 

Chairman of the Authority, David Minnery said:

“It was extremely important that we carried out this independent review to get a true and honest reflection of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service so we could tackle any significant issues that sat within the Service.  

This report was written by staff for staff and having seen the outcome I am confident that the Service remains in a good place, although there is always room to grow and develop as an organisation. 

We will continue to hold our senior leaders to account and ensure all members of the Service are upholding our core values and ethics.” 

You can see the full Independent Culture Report here. 

11th March, 2024