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Leicestershire 2021/22

Read more about Leicestershire

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 requires improvement.

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 Leicestershire 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 Leicestershire Fire and Rescue service in keeping people safe and secure from fires and other risks, although it needs to improve in some areas to provide a consistently good service. For example, the service has a large backlog of home safety checks (HSCs) from partner referrals. We found no effective plan to deal with this.

Across all areas of the service, evaluation is limited, and the service should identify ways to ensure more effectively the benefits of the service’s work.

I am pleased to see that the service has made progress since our 2018 inspection. The service took our recommendations seriously and produced a comprehensive improvement plan to monitor progress. It has made improvements in all the areas we identified, with 20 out of 24 areas for improvement from the first round being resolved. This is a good example of what improvements can be made when a service focuses on the main findings of our inspection. Areas we have seen the greatest improvement in are protection and how the service looks after its people.

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

  • introduction of new values and behaviours, with improved culture;
  • increased provision for staff well-being;
  • improved focus on equality, diversity, inclusion, and fairness;
  • improvements in protection and operational response; and
  • improved work with the community and partners to drive efficiencies.

Culture is improved and there are new values

The service has made improvements to its culture, with staff telling us directly and through our staff survey that this has improved since our last inspection. The service also has its own strong set of values that is underpinned by the Core Code of Ethics.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is improved

The service has excellent governance arrangements for equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Staff networks are valued and listened to, and we found evidence that staff have a good understanding of EDI. Nevertheless, the service is aware that it has more to do to reflect the diverse communities it serves.

Overall, this is a good performance by Leicestershire Fire and Rescue service, for both the communities it serves and its staff. It should now continue to make progress with the remaining areas for improvement whilst maintaining performance in other areas and we look forward to seeing how it builds on this success by our next inspection.

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 20/01/2023
Good

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

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service required improvement in its 2018/19 assessment

We are pleased with the progress that the service has made in going from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’.

It has improved its understanding of protection and how it responds to fires, while maintaining a good service to the public with its understanding of risk and planning for major incidents. But improvements in how it evaluates and prioritises prevention activity are required.

In 2020, the service introduced Our Plan: Corporate and Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) 2020–2024. The plan contains five clear strategies, describes how the service will meet its aims and objectives, outlines the challenges and explains how the service plans to meet them.

We were pleased to see the service meeting on time its inspections of high-risk premises and carrying out effective and consistent quality assurance of its protection activity. This is an improvement since our last inspection.

Improvements have also been made in the safe management of incidents by incident commanders and the introduction of new mobile data tablets on fire engines so firefighters can access risk information quickly.

Although there are many positives in this area, the service should make sure that operational staff have read and understood any urgent risk information or safety flashes; learning from operational incidents should be obtained and shared effectively; and the service should put in place a plan to address the backlog of home safety checks (HSCs) received from partner referrals.

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
Requires improvement

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s overall efficiency requires improvement.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service required improvement in its 2018/19 assessment

We found that Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service has made some progress in efficiency since our last inspection.

There are now sufficient resources in prevention, protection and response; however, the service should consider how these could be used more effectively to achieve its outcomes.

The service understands its future financial risk and has made sound planning assumptions. Encouragingly, the service has plans to move away from the day crewing plus duty system.

The service’s arrangements for managing performance don’t always link resource use to the IRMP and the service’s strategic priorities. There is a lack of performance oversight in some key business areas.

We found that the service comprehensively monitors, reviews and evaluates the benefits and results of its collaborations with other organisations. We are also pleased to see the service generating income from its estate. These were areas for improvement we identified in the last inspection.

The service still needs to test business continuity arrangements in some high-risk areas.

There are plans to improve the use of technology to improve effectiveness and efficiency, but these aren’t fully realised yet.

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

Overall, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service is good at looking after its people.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service required improvement in its 2018/19 assessment

The service has shown a strong commitment to driving improvements since our last inspection and we are pleased with progress. But some areas need to continue to improve.

There has been a significant change in senior leadership since our first round of inspections. Staff have reported an improving culture and confidence in the senior leadership team to build effective relationships. The service has established its own values and behaviours, which staff are familiar with and which are in line with the Core Code of Ethics.

Since our last inspection, the service has replaced appraisals with a new one-to-one performance management process. The service should fully evaluate this to make sure it is effective. The service has also made significant improvements to well-being provision for the workforce.

The service has introduced a new electronic system for recording staff competence. It should be evaluated to make sure it is effective and delivers the benefits anticipated.

The service recognises it needs to increase the diversity of its workforce. We are encouraged that it is joining the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) direct entry scheme from 2023.

We were pleased to see the service has improved its promotion processes since our last inspection.

There are clear policies on staff working secondary contracts. However, hours aren’t regularly monitored, and some staff are working excessive hours.

View the four questions for people

Key facts – 2020/2021

Service Area

985 square miles

Population

1.11m people
up5% local 5 yr change

Workforce

74% wholetime firefighters
26% on-call firefighters
0.42 per 1000 population local
0.56 national level
down6% local 5 yr change
down5% national 5 yr change

Assets

20 stations
32 fire engines

Incidents

1.8 fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
2.6 non-fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
2.5 fire false alarms per 1000 population local
3.8 national

Cost

£19.11 firefighter cost per person per year
£25.22 firefighter cost per person per year (national)

Judgment criteria

English Cymraeg