In respect of Shropshire's Shirehall, please provide any assessment, audit, inspection, advice or enforcement legal notice that has been issued to Shropshire Council concerning the fire safety, risks or condition of the Shirehall and its use that your service has issued in the last 5 years. If any of the above requested items comprise a series then please provide only the latest report in each case.
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request in which you requested: “In respect of Shropshire's Shirehall, please provide any [a] assessment, [b] audit, [c] inspection, [d] advice or [e] enforcement legal notice that has been issued to Shropshire Council concerning the fire safety, risks or condition of the Shirehall and its use that your service has issued in the last 5 years. If any of the above requested items comprise a series then please provide only the latest report in each case”. I can confirm the following in response to your request:
a) Assessment – The Regulatory Reform (fire safety) Order 2005 (the current fire regulations) require that the person in charge of the premises, referred to as ‘The Responsible Person’ (RP) conduct a suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) of the premises. The FRA identifies the required General Fire Precautions (GFP) necessary within the premises to ensure those persons legally entitled to be on, or in the vicinity of, the premises are safe.
Fire and Rescue Services (FRS’) will not prescribe ‘how’ a premises is brought into compliance if the FRA identifies a need to upgrade GFP’s. For example, should a Fire Risk Assessment determine that a part of the building is unsuitable for use due to excessive travel distances, the Responsible Person may elect to either install additional exit doors to reduce the travel distance or, simply, not use that part of the premises, thereby eliminating the risk.
Fundamentally, the Responsible Person decides which course of action is correct for the premises based on their own preference taking the findings of the Fire Risk Assessment into consideration.
In essence, the Fire Risk Assessment informs the Responsible Person(s) of the risks within the building and the work necessary to address those risks. Therefore, Fire and Rescue Services do not conduct assessments on premises - the Regulatory Reform (fire safety) Order requires that the assessment is undertaken by the Responsible Person or another person on their behalf. This duty rests solely with the Responsible Person at the premises and is usually stored on site.
b) Audit and c) Inspection – Information we hold for audit/inspection is confidential and under Section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) this information is exempt from disclosure. The FOIA states:
‘Section 41 (1)-( 1) Information is exempt information if —
(a) it was obtained by the public authority from any other person (including another public authority), and,
(b) the disclosure of the information to the public (otherwise than under this Act) by the public authority holding it would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that or any other person.’
This is an absolute exemption and so there is no public interest test to be carried out under FOIA.
d) Advice – as per the response to b) and c) above, this information is considered confidential and under Section 41 of the FOIA is exempt from disclosure. This exemption is absolute and no public interest test is required. Please also refer to the explanation provided in a) above.
e) Enforcement/Legal Notices – Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has not issued any Enforcement or Legal Notices on Shropshire Council or Shire Hall, we therefore do not hold this information.
If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been handled, you can complain or request an internal review of the decision. This must be done within 40 working days of receiving this response. You can do this by writing to the Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, St. Michael’s Street, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 2HJ or email: email@example.com
If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Telephone: 0303 123 1113