Hampshire 2018/19Read more about Hampshire 2018/19
This is HMICFRS’s first annual assessment of fire and rescue services. This assessment examines the service’s effectiveness, efficiency and how well it looks after its people. It is designed to give the public information about how their local fire and rescue service is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable with other services across England.
The extent to which the service is effective at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks is good.
The extent to which the service is efficient at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks is good.
The extent to which the service looks after its people requires improvement.
Matt Parr, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
We are satisfied with most aspects of the performance of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service in keeping people safe and secure. But it needs to improve how it looks after its people, to give a consistently good service.
The service is effective at keeping people safe. It is good at:
- understanding the risk of fire and other emergencies;
- preventing fires and other risks;
- responding to fires and other emergencies; and
- responding to national risks.
But the service should improve how it protects the public with fire regulation.
It provides an efficient service. We found it makes good use of its resources, and its service is affordable.
The service needs to improve the way it looks after its people. In particular, we are concerned about the way it ensures fairness and promotes diversity. It also needs to improve the way it promotes the right values and culture, and how it manages performance and develops leaders. It is, however, good at getting the right people with the right skills.
We are encouraged by the positive aspects we have identified. We look forward to seeing a more consistent performance over the coming year.
How effective is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s overall effectiveness is good.
The service understands risk well. It assesses risk based on a range of data. Its plan to manage risk guides its activities and how it intends to operate in the future. But information about risk is not always up to date. The service must tackle this so that firefighters are fully informed.
The service is focusing on the quality of its prevention work rather than quantity. We found examples of good partnership working. But it should assess the benefits of this approach. It needs to understand why, in the 12 months to 31 March 2018, the number of home safety checks per 1,000 population was low when compared to many other services.
According to data provided by the service, there has been a reduction in staffing for protection activity. The number of protection inspections have been consistently fallingsince the year ending 31 March 2011, workloads have increased and there are backlogs. We are concerned that, despite this, some staff are being made available for commercial activities. The service needs to have a clear plan for how to protect the public and make sure it can achieve this.
The service is good at managing its resources. It aims to provide better value for money by having smaller, more flexible teams to crew fire appliances. It trains its staff well and this includes the use of new technology. However, despite a small decrease in the 12 months to 31 March 2017, response times to primary fires have been increasing since 2008 and the service should address this.
The service communicates well with the public. It is good at working with its partner organisations and is well-prepared to respond to national risks. To help them to respond to calls and manage incidents more effectively, the service is in a partnership with two other fire and rescue services. It also works closely with the ambulance service.
The service is good at commanding incidents. It trains its staff well and provides specialist support at incidents when needed. It has good procedures to debrief incidents and identify learning – including from other services and partner organisations – but it needs to make sure that these procedures are used at all incidents.
How efficient is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks?
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s overall efficiency is good.
The service manages its budgets well. It has been able to make the necessary savings in recent years. It has made realistic plans based on sensible, if slightly cautious, financial predictions. Some of the savings that still need to be made rely on having a more flexible and cost-efficient workforce model. Use of the service’s reserves supports change projects. The service should review whether these funds are sufficient to support all the major projects it has planned.
The service should make better use of the data available which shows how efficient it is or not, compared with other fire services. There are several areas where the service could improve. In addition, there may be better ways to support the change programme and reduce the cost of its support functions.
The service is good at collaborating. It assesses whether these arrangements are working well and makes changes when necessary.
Hampshire FRS makes sure it can recover from unexpected events that might affect its services. It has plans in place and tests these regularly. However, it should extend these plans to cover a wider range of threats and risks, particularly at individual fire stations.
How well does the fire and rescue service look after its people?
Overall, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service requires improvement at looking after its people.
The service does not do enough to promote the right values and culture. Some staff we interviewed talked about a culture of bullying and domineering behaviour from managers. It was not clear how widespread or current these problems were. It would be beneficial to introduce a formal set of expected values and behaviour.
The diversity and inclusion team is doing some excellent work. It aims to make the service more representative of the community by recruiting and retaining minority members of staff. Its work needs to be supported more by the chief officer team so that it extends to the whole organisation. The service has an Inclusion and Diversity strategy and planned work streams and activity, but it has work to do to develop this area further to ensure that the recruitment, retention, development and progression of staff is open and fair to all. It should take immediate steps to improve its standards as this is a cause of concern.
The service has a good intranet site. However, its communication with its staff is limited. Many members of staff do not think that their views will be listened to. It is important that the service addresses concerns raised in the staff surveys. The service provides good wellbeing support but could improve how it manages sickness.
The service understands the skills of its workforce. It trains its staff well and plans to get the right people in the right places. It needs to develop its culture of learning and improvement. It should also make more use of the wider skills of its retained firefighters. There are concerns about the promotion process, which staff feel needs to be more open and fair. The service also needs to review how it uses temporary promotions as this is causing some problems.
We found that the service could do more to develop its future leaders. It does not assess staff performance properly. The service needs to make sure that processes to identify learning and development are consistent. It should also bring in a programme to identify and provide development opportunities for its gifted and talented staff.