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Greater Manchester 2021/22

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 15/12/2021
Requires improvement

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s overall effectiveness requires improvement.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service required improvement in its 2018/19 assessment.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service requires improvement in terms of its effectiveness. It is good at understanding fires and other risks, and at responding to fires and other emergencies. But it needs to improve its prevention and protection work, and its response to major and multi-agency incidents.

The service is good at identifying risk in its communities. It has launched its new Fire Plan, which is based on a comprehensive risk assessment. The service drew on a wide range of information for the plan, but it could have conducted wider consultations.

The service is good at communicating risk information to its response staff. And since our last inspection it has improved how it communicates with them, including through the use of an app.

The service is aware that it needs to improve its collection of risk assessments at incidents, and its recording of risk information.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has responded to the recommendations and learning from phase one of the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry. It has also adapted its approach to public prevention work from the early stages of the pandemic and it is using what it has learned to shape its new strategy. It should target its prevention work at those who are most at risk of fire.

The service has new teams that are focusing on the built environment and high-rise properties. The service has more to do in terms of protecting the public through fire regulation. Moreover, its risk-based inspection programme needs to be achievable.

The service has assured itself that staff are competent in safety-critical areas. It needs to make sure that formal debriefs are carried out in line with its own policy, and it needs to address concerns about the sustainability of its marauding terrorist attack (MTA) capability.

The service works well with other organisations, including to regulate fire safety. Its use of national learning is excellent.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

How well does the FRS understand the risk of fire and other emergencies?

Good

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is good at understanding risk.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service was good in its 2018/19 assessment.

Each fire and rescue service should identify and assess all foreseeable fire and rescue‑related risks that could affect its communities. Arrangements should be put in place through the service’s prevention, protection and response capabilities to prevent or mitigate these risks for the public.

Areas for improvement

The service should ensure it records relevant and up-to-date risk information to help protect firefighters, the public and property during an emergency.

Innovative practice

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has developed an app to display operational flashcards on both mobile data terminals and officers’ mobile phones. This allows instant access to standard operating procedures.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

The service is good at identifying risk in the communities it serves

The service has assessed an appropriate range of risks and threats after a thorough integrated risk management planning (IRMP) process. The IRMP is referred to as the service’s Fire Plan. When assessing risk, it has considered relevant information collected from a broad range of internal and external sources and data sets including incident and societal data. For example, it has considered environmental data such as flooding and areas of moorland which are at risk of wildfires. The service has worked with housing associations and other organisations to understand the risk of high-rise residential buildings in Greater Manchester.

The service could have consulted more widely

The service has undertaken only limited consultation on its plan and had only limited meaningful dialogue with communities and others, such as Community Safety Partnerships, to both understand the risk and explain how it intends to mitigate it.

The service has an effective integrated risk management plan

After assessing relevant risks, the service has recorded its findings in an easily understood Fire Plan. This plan describes how prevention, protection and response activity is to be effectively resourced to mitigate or reduce the risks and threats the community faces, both now and in the future. For example, the service is working with partner organisations on prevention. It is continuing to focus on the built environment. And it plans to recruit a further 350 apprentice firefighters.

The service supports its Fire Plan with an annual delivery plan. Fire stations within Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service use this to prioritise their local community activities.

The service produces a quarterly report to show performance and progress against key indicators. The service has aligned these to the priorities in its Fire Plan.

The service gathers and communicates risk information well with response staff

The service routinely collects and updates risk information about people, places and threats it has identified as being the highest risk. It has established processes and systems to gather and make site-specific risk information readily available to response staff. This enables them to identify, reduce and mitigate risk effectively.

Since our last inspection, the service has improved how information is communicated to response staff. It does this via a range of media, including mobile data terminals on fire engines (which are updated daily), as well as information broadcasts and emails. Recently, the service has invested in new technology to display risk information via an app. This is available to firefighters and officers.

The service doesn’t routinely collect risk assessments at incidents

In our previous inspection, we raised an area for improvement reviewing and recording risk assessments and decisions made at incidents in line with national guidance. This information is used to brief other commanders and firefighters arriving at incidents. We are disappointed to see little progress has been made on this area for improvement. During our latest inspection, we were told this information isn’t routinely collected.

The service could improve its recording and sharing of this information

The service recognises that it could improve its process for recording risk information. We sampled a range of risk information. Most of the samples had incorrect dates. When we sampled visit records, we found that four out of five high-rise records had the incorrect review date. This means that, potentially, revisits could be missed. It also means that firefighters may not have the most up-to-date information in the case of an emergency.

Where appropriate, the service exchanges risk information with other organisations (such as the police, health partners and local authorities). However, the service could improve the way it shares information with its prevention, protection and response functions.

The service could improve the way it gathers information and learns from operational incidents

The service gathers and communicates risk information effectively. It also routinely updates risk assessments and uses feedback from local and national operational activity to challenge its planning assumptions. The service’s use of national learning is excellent. It could do more to learn from local incidents.

The service has used learning from the Grenfell Tower inquiry to reduce risk

During this round of inspections, we sampled how each fire and rescue service has responded to the recommendations and learning from phase one of the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has responded to learning from this tragedy. The service has produced an action plan which details how it intends to implement the recommendations from the inquiry. It has identified 626 high-rise buildings, and is on track to have assessed the risk of each high-rise building in its service area by the end of 2021. The team has also organised ten exercises at high-rise premises. However, we were disappointed to find evidence of the team working independently and not involving its prevention function.

2

How effective is the FRS at preventing fires and other risks?

Requires improvement

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service requires improvement at preventing fires and other risks.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service required improvement in its 2018/19 assessment.

Fire and rescue services must promote fire safety, including giving fire safety advice. To identify people at greatest risk from fire, services should work closely with other organisations in the public and voluntary sector, as well as with the police and ambulance services. They should provide intelligence and risk information with these other organisations when they identify vulnerability or exploitation.

Areas for improvement

  • The service should ensure it targets its prevention work at people most at risk, including those from hard-to-reach groups.
  • The service should evaluate its prevention activity so it understands what works.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

The service is developing a new prevention strategy

The service has made limited progress since our last inspection. The current prevention strategy isn’t aligned with the risks in its Fire Plan.

Prevention work generally happens in isolation, and we found little evidence of relevant information being provided to the protection and response functions. For example, staff told us that a home fire safety check takes place following a fire. But from the records we sampled, we didn’t find any evidence of these checks. We also found that the service had carried out limited prevention activities at high-rise premises.

As a result, vulnerable people and others may not be getting the support they need.

However, we found evidence that the service is developing a new prevention strategy. The strategy and priorities will be aligned. This work is based on the National Fire Chiefs Council’s person-centred approach to prevention. However, it was too early for us to see the benefits of this work.

COVID-19 has had a positive impact on the future of prevention

In November 2020, during our COVID-19 specific inspection, we considered how the service had adapted its prevention work. At that time, we found that it had adapted its public prevention work. Since then, we are encouraged to find that the service has used the learning from this to shape its new strategy.

During the first stage of the pandemic, the service contacted people on the vulnerable persons register to carry out safe and well visits over the telephone. The service is benefiting from the relationships it developed with other organisations as a result of the work it carried out during the first stage of the pandemic.

The service needs to target its most vulnerable people for home fire safety visits

In our previous inspection, we identified an area for improvement where the service should target its prevention work at the most at risk. We are disappointed to find that the service still doesn’t have a clear, risk-based approach that enables it to direct prevention activity towards the people most at risk from fire and other emergencies. The service is reviewing the staff it has and how best to use them to give home fire safety advice to all. It is also looking to prioritise physical home fire safety assessments for those who are most at risk.

The service uses only limited information and data to target its prevention activity. Most safe and well visits are from partner referrals. The service needs to do more work with other organisations to improve the quality of referrals it receives, to make sure the referrals are focused on those who are most at risk.

Staff aren’t confident in carrying out safe and well visits

Staff told us that they carry out safe and well visits and home fire risk checks. These checks cover a range of hazards that can put vulnerable people at greater risk from fire and other emergencies. However, some staff expressed concern over the quality and quantity of the prevention activities. We also found that firefighters hadn’t completed much prevention activity. Staff told us that they aren’t very confident about answering health-related questions during safe and well visits, but are more confident with the home fire safety checks.

The service is effective at responding to safeguarding concerns

In our previous inspection, we identified an area for improvement around safeguarding. The service has since made significant progress. It has trained staff and they gave us good evidence of occasions when they had taken action to safeguard vulnerable people. They told us they feel confident and trained to act appropriately and promptly. The service has created a dedicated safeguarding role. This is part of the ongoing national work around safeguarding.

The service needs to improve the quality of partner referrals

The service has more than 100 partnerships in place to prevent fires and other emergencies. For example, it has partnerships with Trafford Housing Trust, Jigsaw Homes Stockport and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust. Referral rates from the partnerships to the service are high. However, following a pilot programme in which partner organisations entered 300 referrals into the new online referral form, the service acknowledges that it needs to focus on quality rather than quantity. It is working with partner organisations to communicate the new prevention arrangements, and to train them so that they can make suitable referrals.

During the first stage of the pandemic, the service contacted partner organisations asking them to refer only those people who were most at risk. However, the service didn’t give a way of scoring people to make its staff aware of what exactly made a person high risk. During the first stage of the pandemic, the service did try to contact everyone on its vulnerable persons register to deliver safe and well visits by telephone.

The service acts to tackle fire-setting behaviour

The service has a range of suitable and effective interventions to target and educate people of different ages who show signs of fire-setting behaviour. They include campaigns such as the FireSmart programme, in which the service works directly with young fire setters. The service also participates in joint campaigns with Greater Manchester Police on anti-social behaviour.

When appropriate, it routinely shares information with other partners. The service then gives the information to the police to support the prosecution of arsonists.

The service doesn’t routinely evaluate its prevention activity

We found limited evidence of the service evaluating the effectiveness of its activity. There was also limited evidence of the service making sure that all communities get equal access to the prevention activity they need.

There was evidence of the service having done some ad hoc evaluation with residents who were living in high-rise, high-risk buildings. The service also did some evaluation of the telephone safe and wells it made during the first stage of the pandemic, and its winter safety campaign.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has developed an evaluation framework. Its intention is to make sure it isn’t missing opportunities to improve its services to the public.

3

How effective is the FRS at protecting the public through the regulation of fire safety?

Requires improvement

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service requires improvement at protecting the public through fire regulation.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service required improvement in its 2018/19 assessment.

All fire and rescue services should assess fire risks in certain buildings and, when necessary, require building owners to comply with fire safety legislation. Each service decides how many assessments it does each year. But it must have a locally determined, risk-based inspection programme for enforcing the legislation.

Areas for improvement

  • The service should ensure it allocates enough resources to a prioritised and risk-based inspection programme.
  • The service should ensure it allocates enough resources to respond effectively and in time to statutory building control consultations.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

The service doesn’t have a protection strategy linked to its service plan

At the time of our inspection, the service had no current protection strategy. It had decided to delay this until the national fire standards for protection were published. This was due to happen shortly after our inspection. However, the service’s Fire Plan and annual delivery plan do have activities aligned to protection. The service has also created working groups to look at the different aspects of protection. (For example, it is looking at supporting businesses and ensuring the quality of the service it offers.)

Generally, protection activity happens in isolation rather than throughout the whole service. The service’s protection, prevention and response functions don’t routinely share information.

The service has increased its protection resources

Our 2018 inspection included an area for improvement for the service to ensure it allocates enough resources to a prioritised, risk-based inspection programme.

We are pleased to see that the service has added 18 staff to its protection department since our last inspection. However, the team is still under-established with 17 vacancies yet to be filled. Currently, the protection department doesn’t have enough staff to achieve the current risk-based inspection programme. Also, it is unsure how many staff will be needed for the new one; this depends on how many buildings it will identify as high risk.

We look forward to understanding the effect of the new strategy and structure once it is fully in place.

The service needs to improve its response times to building consultations

The service doesn’t always respond to building consultations on time, so doesn’t consistently meet its statutory responsibility to comment on fire safety arrangements at new and altered buildings. As part of a review of protection, the service has prioritised statutory consultations. During our inspection, we collated data and found that the service had improved the time taken to complete consultations within the first few months of 2021.

The service aligns protection activity to risk

The service’s risk-based inspection programme is the same as it was during our previous inspection. It is focused on its highest-risk buildings. Recently, the service reviewed its risk-based inspection programme to make sure it can keep up with the increasing number of high-rise buildings being built in Greater Manchester. However, this project has been slowed down due to a delay in introducing the IT system that is needed to support it. We were told that this was due to competing priorities within the IT department. We found that the service doesn’t record all fire safety audits in line with the policy and timescales it has set for itself.

The service has proactively carried out fire safety audits at high-rise buildings

Since our last inspection, the service has created the Built Environment Project. Its aim is to ensure that it is compliant and prepared, alongside other agencies, for the considerable transformation that is taking place within the Greater Manchester built environment.

Audits have been carried out at all high-rise buildings the service has identified with cladding similar to the cladding installed on Grenfell Tower. Information gathered during these audits is made available to response teams and control operators, enabling them to respond more effectively in an emergency.

It is on track to visit all the high-rise, high-risk buildings it has identified in its service area by the end of 2021.

The fire safety audits sampled were completed to a high standard

We reviewed a range of audits carried out at different premises across the service. This included audits as part of the service’s risk-based inspection programme, after fires at premises where fire safety legislation applied, where enforcement action had been taken and at high-rise, high-risk buildings.

The audits we reviewed were completed to a high standard, in a consistent, systematic way, and in line with the service’s policies.

Relevant information from the audits is made available to operational and fire control teams.

Since our last inspection, the service has improved the protection activity it carries out at regulated premises following fires. It now completes and records a full audit.

Quality assurance for fire safety audits is inconsistent

Since our last inspection, the service has put additional resources into performance and assurance of its protection activity. However, we reviewed a range of files and were disappointed to find no examples of quality assurance. The service recognises that quality assurance has been inconsistent, especially during the first stage of the pandemic. It plans to introduce a new assurance process alongside the new strategy.

The service uses its enforcement powers well

The service consistently uses its full range of enforcement powers and, when appropriate, prosecutes those who fail to comply with fire safety regulations. From the files we sampled, we saw that the service supports building owners. However, where necessary, it will enforce its full range of powers.

In the year to 31 March 2020, the service issued no alteration notices, 82 enforcement and 97 prohibition notices. While it hasn’t undertaken any prosecutions during this time, it has completed 24 prosecutions since 2016/17.

The service works closely with other agencies to regulate fire safety

The service works closely with other enforcement agencies to regulate fire safety and routinely exchanges risk information with them. Effective partnerships include:

  • local authority housing and food standards officers;
  • the Environment Agency; and
  • the high-rise team working closely with the combined authority.

The service works well with businesses to promote compliance with fire safety legislation.

Since our last inspection, the service has developed a business engagement and communication plan for 2020/21. The service proactively engages with local businesses and other organisations to promote compliance with fire safety legislation. For example, the service’s website features information for businesses about fire safety legislation, risk assessments and compliance. The service has given regular seminars and workshops for different sectors and organisations, such as housing associations.

Unwanted fire signals have reduced

In our previous inspection, we identified an area for improvement in how the service addresses unwanted fire signals. Since then, the service has published its new policy for tackling unwanted fire signals. An effective risk-based approach is now in place to manage the high number of unwanted fire signals. During our inspection, we saw evidence of a 25 percent reduction in those type of incidents, and a 40 percent reduction in mobilisations. We are encouraged to see the service gets fewer calls because of this work. Fewer unwanted calls means that fire engines are available to respond to a genuine incident should one occur rather than responding to a false one. It also reduces the risk to the public if fewer fire engines travel at high speed on the roads.

4

How effective is the FRS at responding to fires and other emergencies?

Good

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is good at responding to fires and other emergencies.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service was good in its 2018/19 assessment.

Fire and rescue services must be able to respond to a range of incidents such as fires, road traffic collisions and other emergencies within their areas.

Areas for improvement

  • The service should assure itself that risk assessments are accurately recorded and passed to oncoming crews.
  • The service should ensure it has an effective system for learning from operational incidents.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

The service aligns resources to the risks identified in its integrated risk management plan

The Fire Plan and annual delivery plan both contain activities that are aligned to the service’s response function. Also, the service’s work in 2019 on the Fire Cover Review looked at the number and location of fire engines and stations in relation to risk. The service has reviewed the types of incidents it attends, and the number of fire engines it needs for them. This has resulted in an increased attendance to high-rise incidents.

The service is achieving its target for the time taken to respond to life-risk incidents

There are no national response standards of performance for the public. The service has redefined its response standards this year. However, we are disappointed that the service isn’t disseminating this information to the public.

The overall availability of fire engines supports the service’s response standard

The service sets thresholds for the number of appliances (fire engines) needed to meet its response standard. Overall, availability for the year to 31 March 2021 was 99.4 percent. This is an improvement on the previous year’s figure of 96.3 percent.

Staff have a good understanding of how to command incidents safely

The service has trained incident commanders who are assessed regularly and properly. This enables it to safely, assertively and effectively manage the whole range of incidents that it could face – from small and routine ones to complex multi‑agency incidents.

As part of our inspection, we interviewed incident commanders from across the service. The senior staff we interviewed are familiar with risk assessing, decision making and recording information at incidents in line with national best practice, as well as the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP). There was evidence that station-level staff are less familiar with JESIP. Most staff were confident in the use of operational discretion. They know when to use their professional judgement in an unforeseen situation at an incident and that the service will support their decisions.

Fire control has some involvement with the service’s command, exercise, debrief and assurance activity

There is evidence that North West Fire Control staff are involved in the service’s command, training, exercise, debrief and assurance activity. The service may wish to increase the scope of this activity.

Fire control also has its own staff training programme. This is aligned to national competencies.

Fire control can give fire survival guidance to multiple callers

The fire control room staff we interviewed are confident that they could provide fire survival guidance to many callers simultaneously. This was identified as learning for all fire services after the Grenfell Tower fire. We also learnt that fire control has arrangements in place to communicate with other control rooms, and for calls to be diverted, if the need arises.

Fire control has good systems in place to exchange real-time risk information with incident commanders, other responding partners and supporting fire and rescue services. Maintaining good situational awareness enables the service to communicate effectively with the public, providing them with accurate and tailored advice.

Staff can easily access risk information

We sampled a range of risk information associated with a small number of properties involving long and short-term risks, including what is in place for firefighters responding to incidents at high-risk, high-rise buildings.

Most of the information we reviewed was up to date and detailed. Staff told us that it could be easily accessed and understood.

The service should improve the way it evaluates operational performance

We reviewed the records for a range of emergency incidents that should have resulted in a debrief. We found that the service isn’t always carrying out debriefs in line with its policy, as we would expect.

We also found that the service isn’t following up actions. For example, we learned of a major incident where lack of any follow-up action had several consequences. Operational staff could only recall limited examples of debriefs taking place. In addition, firefighters don’t always have access to the formal debriefs that have happened. This will prevent operational staff from continually learning from operational incidents.

The service should assure itself that its debrief process is effective, and that staff can access and understand any learning from operational debriefs.

The service uses national operational guidance to inform its policies

We are pleased to see the service routinely reviews its policies to assure itself that staff command incidents in line with operational guidance. The service has implemented all the national operational guidance elements that have been issued to date. It has also created a programme to keep abreast of any changes.

The service keeps the public informed about ongoing incidents effectively

The service has good systems in place to inform the public about ongoing incidents and help keep them safe during and after incidents. For example, the service has access to media support 24 hours a day. A media liaison officer is available to support the incident commander if needed. The service uses social media and its website effectively to communicate directly to the public about incidents.

The service works well with other fire services

The service supports other fire and rescue services that are responding to emergency incidents. The service also has effective mutual aid arrangements with its neighbours. It regularly sends and receives help from neighbouring services (for example, during the Saddleworth and Winter Hill moorland fires of summer 2018 and 2020). In addition, the service has an agreement in place for cross-border exercising and training with its neighbouring fire services. Risk information from neighbouring services is available to crews who are attending cross-border incidents.

5

How effective is the FRS at responding to major and multi-agency incidents?

Requires improvement

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service requires improvement at responding to major and multi‑agency incidents.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service required improvement in its 2018/19 assessment.

All fire and rescue services must be able to respond effectively to multi-agency and cross-border incidents. This means working with other fire and rescue services (known as intraoperability) and emergency services (known as interoperability).

Cause of concern

Greater Manchester FRS should have its own marauding terrorist attack (MTA) response that is both resilient, timely and cost effective.

The service should ensure it is properly prepared as part of a multi-agency response to terrorist incidents. This includes the provision of a timely response to ensure public safety. Response procedures must be understood by all staff and properly exercised and tested. This should not come at the cost of wider fire cover for the public.

By the end of October 2021, the service should have a sustainable plan to maintain its response to MTA incidents. This should include meaningful training and exercising for all staff who would be expected to respond to a MTA incident.

Areas for improvement

The service should ensure it is well-prepared to form part of a multi-agency response to an incident and all relevant staff know how to apply Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP).

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the service’s performance in this area.

The service is well prepared for major and multi-agency incidents

The service has effectively anticipated and considered the reasonably foreseeable risks and threats it may face, but we have some concerns around the resilience of its marauding terrorist attack (MTA). These risks are listed in both local and national risk registers as part of its strategic assessment 2021. They include severe weather and flooding risks. The service has effective means of declaring a major incident, and of responding to such incidents. Since our last inspection, the service has funded a full-time member of staff to work in the local resilience forum. They are responsible for learning and training through all partner organisations.

The service has arrangements in place to respond to major and multi-agency incidents

We reviewed the arrangements the service has in place to respond to different major incidents, including control of major accident hazard (COMAH) sites and other high-risk sites.

The service has arrangements in place, which are well understood by staff. For example, staff understand the use of major incident action cards. Also, there was evidence of the service carrying out recent training and exercising for high-rise and MTA incidents with the local resilience forum.

North West Fire Control can mobilise additional and/or specialist fire engines or specialist skilled staff if needed, both regionally and nationally.

The service must improve the resilience of its response to MTAs

While Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service does have its own specialist MTA response, we have concerns about its sustainability. The agreement in place is short term, and at the time of our inspection it was due to run out. The service has made repeated attempts to resolve this issue locally.

We are also concerned that the training of non-specialist firefighters for MTAs has been suspended. This could affect how firefighters work alongside other blue light responders. If they aren’t following the same procedures, public safety could be compromised.

The service has a structured cross-border exercise programme

The service has a cross-border exercise plan with neighbouring fire and rescue services so that they can work together effectively to keep the public safe. The plan includes the risks of major events at which the service could foreseeably provide support or request assistance from neighbouring services. We were encouraged to see that feedback from these exercises is used to inform risk information and service plans. Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the service has organised ten high-rise exercises that have involved other blue light partners and neighbouring fire services.

Incident commanders have been trained on JESIP

Most of the incident commanders we interviewed had been trained in and were familiar with JESIP. During our inspection, we found that crew and watch managers were less familiar with JESIP than more senior officers. This is despite the fact that crew and watch managers have completed online learning.

The service is an active member of the GMRF

The service has good arrangements in place to respond to emergencies with other partners that make up the Greater Manchester Resilience Forum (GMRF). These arrangements include plans for control of COMAH sites, and an employee from the service working in the resilience forum to lead training and exercising.

The service shares national learning

The service keeps itself up to date with joint operational learning updates from other fire services and national operational learning from other blue light partners, such as the police and ambulance trusts. This learning is used to inform planning assumptions that have been made with other partners.

The service has shared some learning at a national level. For example, incidents such as the fire in 2019 at The Cube student accommodation in Bolton, and some incidents involving electricity pylons, were both used as national learning.

The service has a process in place to share any learning from national and joint operational learning through dedicated single points of contact. These staff share any learning with the workforce through bulletins and emails.

In 2020, the service created a built environment team. This team made an action plan that contains the main findings and recommendations from the following:

  • the Grenfell Tower Inquiry;
  • the fire at The Cube;
  • guidance issued by the National Fire Chiefs Council about buildings that fail in fire;
  • London Fire Brigade’s Grenfell Tower Fire Preliminary Report; and
  • the Greater Manchester High Rise Residents Survey.

Read the cause of concern progress letter