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Derbyshire 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 requires improvement.

Roy Wilsher

Roy Wilsher, HM Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services

HM Inspector's summary

It was a pleasure to revisit Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and I am grateful for the positive and constructive way that the service engaged with our inspection.

I am pleased with the performance of the service in keeping people safe and secure from fires and other risks. The service has made progress in some areas since our 2019 inspection.

  • Risk information has improved and is more reliably available to firefighters.
  • New premises are identified for the inspection programme.
  • Staff know how to safeguard vulnerable people.

These are the findings I consider most important from our assessment of the service over the past year.

  • The service has well-resourced prevention and protection teams. It analyses a wide range of information, and this is used by teams to target risk. Staff work in partnership with other organisations, and this is effective at helping keep people and premises safe and in responding to operational incidents.
  • The service has a learning culture and learns from incidents to make improvements. However, it could improve its assurance and evaluation arrangements to help identify further opportunities to become more effective at prevention, protection and incident command.
  • The service has longstanding values that are well embedded, and staff feel valued and included at work. Leaders are visible and engage well with staff. However, the service should assure itself that all staff feel able to provide feedback and report any concerns.
  • The service has had some success with increasing the diversity of the workforce by recruiting more female firefighters. This approach should be extended to recruiting more people from ethnically diverse backgrounds. The process and benefits of achieving a more diverse workforce should be explained to staff so that everyone understands.
  • We identified in 2019 that non-risk-critical training should be more effectively monitored; that promotions processes should be more transparent; and that staff with high potential should be supported to become future leaders. Further work is still required to make improvements in these areas.

Overall, I am satisfied with Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service’s performance and the improvements it has made since our last inspection. I encourage it to continue with efforts to make improvement in the areas we have highlighted.

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 20/01/2023
Good

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service’s overall effectiveness is good.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service was good in its 2018/19 assessment

In our last inspection in 2019, we highlighted some areas for improvement. The service has addressed several of these. The service now has good and up-to-date risk information that it makes available to staff. Incident commanders are recording decisions and are trained to command service assets appropriately. The service has a process to include new buildings in the inspection programme, and it makes sure staff know how to safeguard vulnerable people.

The service is meeting its response standard to life-risk incidents, and the availability of fire engines is good. However, the service should review plans for maintaining the availability of on-call fire engines to ensure it can continue to provide an effective response to incidents.

The service analyses a wide range of data and uses this information to prepare departmental plans. Staff know their responsibilities.

It has an effective process in place to learn from operational incidents and make improvements. The service works well with to respond to people and premises at high risk of fire and other emergencies.

The service should make sure it uses the right amounts of resource when testing plans to respond to major incidents. It would also benefit from quality assurance and evaluation in some areas to identify opportunities to make further improvements.

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

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service’s overall efficiency is good.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service was good in its 2018/19 assessment

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service understands its future financial risk. It has identified that it needs to make savings to avoid a future budget deficit. It is developing a savings plan alongside the production of its next IRMP.

It has a record of making savings and continues to invest in new equipment, fleet and fire stations. Strategies for the use of fleet, ICT and estate support the IRMP.

The service works in collaboration with Derbyshire Constabulary, sharing locations and staff, and would benefit from evaluating this collaborative work to ensure it is achieving the intended benefits and outcomes.

The service would benefit from reviewing current capacity and whether it has the necessary capability to implement future change.

View the two questions for efficiency

People

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

Last updated 20/01/2023
Requires improvement

Overall, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service requires improvement at looking after its people.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service was good in its 2018/19 assessment

The service continues to have a positive working culture and staff feel valued and included. The behaviours the service expects, and the values it promotes, are understood and displayed by nearly all staff.

There is good provision of health and well-being support, and absence is well managed. Mental health training is available, but the service should consider providing this to all staff. There is a policy for monitoring working hours and rest periods for those on dual contracts, however the service should ensure this is applied consistently.

The service has a positive learning culture, and training opportunities are available to support staff. However, some training provision could be increased, and workforce planning should be more effective.

The service has had some success increasing diversity of its workforce with recruitment campaigns. However, it needs to explain more clearly to staff the process and benefits of a more diverse workforce.

In our last inspection in 2019, we identified that the service needs a transparent promotion process and should identify and support staff with potential to become leaders. More improvement is still required in these areas.

View the four questions for people

Key facts – 2020/2021

Service Area

1,015 square miles

Population

1.06m people
up3% local 5 yr change

Workforce

61% wholetime firefighters
39% on-call firefighters
0.55 per 1000 population local
0.56 national level
up6% local 5 yr change
down5% national 5 yr change

Assets

31 stations
41 fire engines

Incidents

2.2 fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
1.2 non-fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
2.1 fire false alarms per 1000 population local
3.8 national

Cost

£22.04 firefighter cost per person per year
£25.22 firefighter cost per person per year (national)

Judgment criteria

English Cymraeg