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Cleveland 2021/22

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This is HMICFRS’s third 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 is good.

Roy Wilsher

Roy Wilsher, His Majesty’s Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services

HM Inspector's summary

It was a pleasure to revisit Cleveland Fire Brigade, and I am grateful for the positive and constructive way that the brigade engaged with our inspection.

I am pleased with the performance of Cleveland Fire Brigade in keeping people safe and secure from fires and other risks. For example, the brigade continues to respond quickly to fires and other emergencies, continuously meeting its stated target of arriving on scene within seven minutes for all property fires. The brigade also provides a good range of prevention activities for the local community, and an active fire protection service to help ensure local businesses are safe and legally compliant.

We were pleased to see that the brigade has made progress since our 2018 inspection. The brigade has made improvements against all the areas we identified. It has resolved 12 areas for improvement, and made progress on 4 others. Areas where we have seen the greatest improvement are in fire protection and operational response. We have also seen good improvements in efficiency and in how the brigade looks after its people.

My principal findings from our assessments of the brigade over the past year are as follows:

  • The brigade has made clear changes to its culture, with staff telling us both directly and through our staff survey that this has improved since our last inspection.
    The brigade also has a strong set of values, which are now underpinned by the national Core Code of Ethics.
  • The brigade has improved at recruiting women into operational roles.
  • The brigade has made improvements to its prevention, protection, and
    operational response.
  • The brigade has improved staff productivity to drive efficiencies.

This is a good example of the improvements that can be made when a service focuses on the main findings of our inspections.

Overall, this is a good performance from Cleveland Fire Brigade, both for the communities it serves and for the people who work for the brigade.

The brigade should continue to make progress with the remaining areas for improvement. We look forward to seeing how it has built on this success at our next inspection.

Effectiveness

How effective is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure?

Last updated 20/01/2023
Good

Cleveland Fire Brigade’s overall effectiveness is good.

Cleveland Fire Brigade was good in its 2018/19 assessment

Cleveland Fire Brigade is good at providing an effective fire and rescue service.

It has improved its understanding of risk, its fire prevention, its fire protection, how it responds to fires and its planning for major incidents, so we grade it as good. But improvements to the quality assurance of prevention activities need to continue developing and to become established.

The brigade has introduced a new community risk management plan (CRMP) (which is what it calls its integrated risk management plan) for 2022–26, with 9 clear priorities. We look forward to seeing how the brigade meets these commitments, and how it evaluates the effect of its activities.

There are still problems with staff recruitment and retention in fire protection, although we saw how new operational staff are being trained in this area to support succession planning.

The brigade is still good at operational response and at how it plans to deal with major incidents. It is actively involved with the local resilience forum (LRF).

View the five questions for effectiveness

Efficiency

How efficient is the fire and rescue service at keeping people safe and secure?

Last updated 20/01/2023
Good

Cleveland Fire Brigade’s overall efficiency is good.

Cleveland Fire Brigade was good in its 2018/19 assessment

Cleveland Fire Brigade continues to be good at managing resources now and for the future.

The brigade has made good improvements to its plans for business continuity testing, and towards prioritising updating and introducing new technology for the future. But plans to improve how it evaluates collaboration need to be implemented, so that it can understand the benefits and results.

The brigade’s financial plans are modest but realistic. They reflect the national challenges and uncertainty about fire service budgets and spending plans.

The brigade’s community interest company (CIC), CFB Risk Management, had a drop in turnover during the pandemic, but a modest, long-term recovery is underway, providing additional support for community safety schemes.

View the two questions for efficiency

People

How well does the fire and rescue service look after its people?

Last updated 20/01/2023
Good

Cleveland Fire Brigade is good at looking after its people.

Cleveland Fire Brigade was good in its 2018/19 assessment

Overall, the brigade has made good improvements to how it looks after its people, and we are positive about its future efforts.

The brigade has continued to establish its already recognised values and to improve the culture of the organisation. This has been partly achieved through changes to the way it identifies and develops high-potential staff, including recruiting people from outside Cleveland Fire Brigade.

We also recognise and are encouraged by the effort the brigade has made in the areas for improvement from out last inspection, including tackling barriers to equality to make its workforce more representative of the communities it serves. But we also note that work to attract members of ethnic minority groups has yet to show real results.

The brigade has also made improvements to how it records its staff’s skills and training. But in this area, too, more work is needed to give staff and managers full confidence in the tools used for recording and reporting on training and competence. We look forward to seeing this achieved in our next inspection.

View the four questions for people

Key facts – 2020/2021

Service Area

231 square miles

Population

0.57m people
up1% local 5 yr change

Workforce

80% wholetime firefighters
20% on-call firefighters
0.69 per 1000 population local
0.56 national level
down5% local 5 yr change
down5% national 5 yr change

Assets

14 stations
21 fire engines

Incidents

6.6 fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
2.1 non-fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
4.9 fire false alarms per 1000 population local
3.8 national

Cost

£30.24 firefighter cost per person per year
£25.22 firefighter cost per person per year (national)

Judgment criteria

English Cymraeg