Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has been rated as “good” in all 3 inspection areas; for effectiveness, efficiency and the way it treats its staff. This assessment has come from a recent inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) who said the Service had “managed to maintain strong operational performance while achieving savings; reducing its spend by £3 million since 2012” and they “look forward to seeing the Service build on this already impressive performance.”
HMICFRS further pointed out that, as a predominantly rural service, with more than half its firefighters being on-call, it is crucial that the Service deploys its workforce efficiently.”
Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton said “I am really pleased the Inspectors have been able to give such an accurate evaluation of our Service. Shropshire is one of the smallest Fire and Rescue Services in the country, with one of the largest geographical areas to cover; and that is always a challenge. We would not have been able to achieve such a high level of performance without fantastic engagement from all our staff and a determination to really understand our local risks. I am really pleased this report has shown that we have been consistently able to deliver the service our communities need and deserve. We work hard to understand the risks in our communities, knowing that our firefighters and stations lie in the heart of them. We are committed to ensuring all our staff are involved in decision making; their views are really listened to and they feel valued and supported. I really do feel very lucky to have such a committed team.”
The report identified that Shropshire FRS was performing to a “good “standard across the 3 main pillars of assessment, but it also identified areas where the Service could improve. It pointed out that the Service currently doesn’t have enough Fire Safety Inspectors to complete its programme of inspections in high risk buildings.
CFO Hammerton said “Austerity has seen us move resources away from our Fire Safety department and, although local indicators do not currently show an increase in the occurrence of fires in commercial buildings, we will definitely look to reinforce this part of our service to ensure that risks are managed as well as they can be.”
The report also pointed out that “the Service should put in place a system for identifying and developing high potential staff.”
CFO Hammerton said “It is true that we don’t have a formal mechanism for doing this. As a smaller Fire Service we have always relied on knowing our staff and managing development very personally. But I can see a real advantage in doing this in a more structured and transparent way in the future, to make sure all our staff have the opportunity to be the best they can be.”
He concluded by saying “These are changes which are already in our plans and will improve our delivery of service and do not detract from the excellent report we have received, which places us in the top 10 Fire and Rescue Services assessed to date.”