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Lincolnshire 2021/22

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 15/12/2021
Requires improvement

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service’s overall effectiveness requires improvement.

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

In Round 1, the service received an overall good grading, with only ‘protecting the public through fire regulation’ being graded as requires improvement.

The service has published a new IRMP. However, at the time of our inspection, it still wasn’t reporting on the progress of this plan. This plan describes how prevention, protection and response work will be resourced to reduce the risks and threats to the community. But the service still has work to do to make sure that it has enough resources to meet demand. It needs to focus on monitoring and assessing the results of its work, to establish what works and what it can do better.

The service still needs to improve how it works with local people to better understand risk in the community. The service needs to target the hard-to-reach parts of its community and those who are most vulnerable. Levels of prevention activity are low and mainly carried out by its specialists, after referrals from other organisations. Although the service has arranged for its fire prevention work to be assessed by Lincolnshire University, this remains an area that still needs improvement since our first inspection.

It has improved its protection work and how it targets high-risk premises. This includes, for example, building owners and landlords who don’t follow all the fire guidance and regulations that they should. Evidence of this is the increase in non‑compliance rates. The service has invested in additional resources to support its risk-based inspection programme. Although it was too early to understand, at the time of inspection, how effective these resources are. The way it stores and records protection data is also inconsistent, and it needs to improve how audits are quality assured.

Since our first inspection in 2018, the service has made good progress with putting in place national operational guidance. The service sets response standards for arrival at fires and road traffic collisions. But it doesn’t currently meet these targets. Since our last inspection in 2018, however, it is better at collecting risk data. Although the process does lack quality assurance.

Its control room function is resilient. This is, in part, thanks to its work with, and support from, the East Coast and Hertfordshire Control Consortium. This involves four fire services (Lincolnshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Humberside) sharing resources. These include IT networks, training and strategic plans. But the service could do more to improve training for control room staff. Critically, it hasn’t reviewed and published new fire survival guidance following the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations.

The service is ready to respond to major and multi-agency incidents. The service has a cross-border exercise plan with neighbouring fire and rescue services. This helps them to work together effectively to keep the public safe. The plan includes the risks of major events that the service could provide support or ask for assistance from neighbouring services. Exercises have significantly reduced during the pandemic, with eight exercises being carried out in the year 2019/20 and none in 2020/21.

We also heard from some staff that they have not been involved in either a cross‑border exercise or multi-agency training. The service should consider offering this training to all operational staff.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

How effective is the FRS at understanding the risk of fire and other emergencies?

Requires improvement

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service requires improvement at understanding risk.

Lincolnshire 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 needs to improve how it engages with the local community to build up a comprehensive profile of risk in the service area.
  • The service should make sure its firefighters have good access to relevant and up-to-date risk information.

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

Several sources of data inform the IRMP, but input from the public is limited. And the service doesn’t regularly review its work with other organisations

Following an integrated risk management planning process, the service has assessed a good range of risks and threats. When assessing risk, it has considered relevant information from a broad range of internal and external sources and data. This includes data from other blue light organisations (such as the police service and ambulance trusts), historical incidents, social and economic information, and the modelling of emergency response times.

During our first inspection, the service was told it needed to improve how it works with the local community. This would help it build a thorough risk profile in the area. While it has worked with communities and others (including health and social services, and blue light organisations), it recognises that it could improve how it collects and uses feedback.

Since our last inspection in 2018, it has improved how it works with other organisations. But the service recognises that it could do more to better understand risk in the community.

The service produces a range of documents but isn’t reporting on the progress of its IRMP

After assessing relevant risks, the service has recorded its findings in a clear IRMP. This plan describes how prevention, protection and response work is to be resourced to reduce the risks and threats to the community, both now and in the future. It uses this to inform the IRMP’s five supporting frameworks.

But during our inspection the service was still developing its service improvement plan. The aim is for this plan to set out the objectives and ways in which it will achieve its IRMP. As it was still being drafted, the service couldn’t demonstrate how effective it is in implementing the current IRMP.

The service has improved how it gathers information on risk, but it is not managing this information well

The service regularly collects and updates risk information about people, places and threats it has identified as being the highest risk. This includes information crews collect, which is then reported and processed centrally.

Since our last inspection, it has improved how it gathers information. It has done this by introducing a generic template for station-based staff to collect all risk information.

While this now means that all data is collected centrally, we reviewed several records that showed updates to risk information could be done quicker and we found no quality assurance system in place. We sampled a range of risk information from nine files. These included information on the guidance in place for firefighters responding to incidents at high-risk and high-rise buildings and what information fire control hold.

Our inspectors could only get limited information from the stored records and information reviewed wasn’t always up to date or detailed. For example, important data such as why the site had been referred to the service or visited was not available, neither was the last or planned visit date. Also, the records hadn’t always been completed with input from the service’s prevention, protection and response functions when needed.

The service has upgraded mobile devices, which staff use to access up-to-date risk information although some staff reported connectivity issues. We also noted a significant delay between when short-term risk information is identified and when it is made available to operational staff.

That said, this information is available for the service’s prevention, protection and response staff. This helps them to identify and reduce risk effectively. For example, operational crews and control room staff can access information via mobile devices and data terminals. Information is also shared between departments.

The service has improved how it learns from operational activity

The service routinely updates risk assessments. And it uses feedback from its local and national operational work to challenge its planning assumptions. For example, the service produces a comprehensive risk profile using information from organisations it works with locally and nationally.

It also has a system to make sure that it reviews operational activity and resourcing against risk.

Following the Grenfell Tower recommendations, the service’s response would benefit from better prioritising, recording and monitoring

During this round of inspection, we sampled how each fire and rescue service has responded to the recommendations and learning from phase one of the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry. (Work on phase two of the inquiry is currently underway and hasn’t yet been published.)

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service has responded to learning from this tragedy positively and proactively. It is on track to assess the risk of each high-rise building in its area by the end of 2021.

It has carried out a fire safety audits. It has also collected and passed relevant risk information to its prevention, protection and response teams about buildings identified as high-risk, and all high-rises that have cladding similar to the type installed on Grenfell Tower.

But its action plan needs to become a useful document that supports its response to the recommendations. Some staff told us that they were unaware of what actions the service had taken in relation to those recommendations.

2

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

Requires improvement

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

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service was good 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 FRS needs to target its activity toward its most vulnerable and hardest to reach communities.
  • The FRS needs to implement a programme of evaluation to assess its prevention activity to understand what works.

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

Its prevention work is more aligned with risk. But activity levels are low and post-incident activity is inconsistent

The service’s prevention plan is clearly linked to the risks identified in its IRMP. And its community risk profile analysis uses data and information from other organisations to make sure activity aligns with risk.

During our inspection, we were told that the service had recently started to use information gathered from working with local communities to make sure that prevention activity clearly supports the IRMP.

A specialist prevention team carries out most of the prevention activity, with only some involvement from station-based staff. This is limiting the service’s capacity to carry out this work. The service carried out 4.7 home fire safety checks per 1,000 people during 2019/20. This is compared with 10.3 checks per 1,000 people throughout all services in England. Prevention work isn’t always carried out in isolation. There is evidence of relevant risk information being passed to the service’s other departments.

Following incidents, crews should provide post-incident prevention activities. But the records we checked during our inspection were inconsistent.

The service needs to improve how it defines and targets vulnerability; its activity levels for visits and campaigns are low

The service targets its prevention activity to the people most at risk from fire and other emergencies. It does this by responding to referrals from other organisations and using post-incident data. For example, of the 3,592 home fire safety checks carried out in 2019/20, 2,647 (74 percent) were aimed at people aged 65 and over and/or with a disability.

Since our previous inspection in 2018 the service has introduced a new way for organisations it works with to identify, and refer, vulnerable people. But during our most recent inspection in 2020, it wasn’t prioritising these referrals in line with its own definition of vulnerability.

We were told that the service has recently started to use the feedback from the community risk profile to help prioritise its prevention work.

The service doesn’t set levels of activity it expects from its station-based staff to spend on prevention. And activity levels are low. It could do more to communicate risks to people who have been identified as vulnerable. As there was limited activity during the pandemic, there is now a backlog of home fire safety checks.

Domestic prevention training, recording and activity throughout the service is inconsistent

Full-time operational staff and the prevention team do complete some prevention training. But on-call staff aren’t trained to carry out prevention work and the prevention team doesn’t have a formal training plan. The service has a quality assurance process in place to check that the visits are being done well.

We reviewed several safe and well visits during our inspection, and all were in order, with relevant advice given. But the records of post-incident activity were inconsistent, with staff reporting that there is little activity. Also, that the information operational crews are given is either minimal or incomplete.

Staff know the safeguarding processes, and they make referrals to other organisations

Staff told us that they feel confident and trained to act appropriately and promptly to respond to any safeguarding issues. In 2020/21, at least 311 referrals were made to other organisations during safe and well visits. An example was provided where the fire service carried out a safe and well visit. The results were then shared with the police and ambulance service, and the individual was referred to Lincolnshire County Council for further support. This information sharing is a benefit of staff sharing a building.

The service should recognise the potential benefits of improving the way it works with other organisations

The service works with a range of other organisations to prevent fires and other emergencies. These include the Age UK charity, electricity provider Western Power Distribution, and the East Midlands Ambulance Service.

But the way the service works with other organisations is inconsistent. This means that the service isn’t using all available opportunities to prevent fires and other emergencies. Plus, some of the working  arrangements haven’t been reviewed or assessed. For example, we found that some data-sharing arrangements haven’t been reviewed since they began. During our inspection, however, we were told that the service had just employed an advocate to make improvements in this area.

Arrangements are in place to receive referrals from other organisations. Since our first inspection, the service now supports other organisations in referring members of the community who would most benefit from a visit. But the risk assessment referral process pre-dates the current (2018) definition of vulnerability. As a result, it doesn’t take into account several of the areas currently identified as vulnerable by the service. For example, hoarding, older people and those who live alone and need care or support. This means that the service isn’t prioritising its referrals according to the most up-to-date assessment of vulnerability.

There is some evidence that the service exchanges information with other public sector organisations about people and groups at most risk. It uses the information to challenge planning assumptions and target prevention work. For example, it shares information with the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership to support and improve road safety work.

The service shares information, and acts, to reduce arson

The service has a range of effective ways to target and educate people of different ages who show signs of fire-setting behaviour. This includes a dedicated fire-setting prevention scheme, targeting those with fire-setting behaviour and linked to local council and community organisations.

When appropriate, it also shares information and works with other organisations on joint projects, such as arson reduction and anti-social behaviour campaigns with Lincolnshire Police.

The service has arranged research into the effectiveness of its prevention work. But there has been little progress since our first inspection

After our first inspection, we recommended that the service improves how it evaluates its prevention work. Since then, it has asked Lincolnshire University to carry out a study. This was delayed due to the pandemic and is expected to be completed toward the end of 2021.

We will be interested to hear the result of this research and how the service uses this to improve its prevention activity.

3

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

Requires improvement

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

Lincolnshire 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.

Cause of concern

The service hasn’t taken sufficient action since the last inspection to appropriately resource its protection function.

Recommendations

By 30 September 2021, the service should:

  • produce a clear plan for how it will ensure all premises it has identified as high‑risk are audited in accordance with the timeframe it sets out in its risk‑based inspection policy;
  • review its administration of the protection function to make sure it can record and review all activity in a clear and consistent manner; and
  • make sure it has an effective quality assurance process in place so the service can assure itself that staff carry out audits to an appropriate standard.

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

Protection activity is aligned with risk, and the team is improving how it interacts with other departments. But activity levels are low and there is no evidence that the service has achieved its risk-based inspection programme (RBIP)

The service’s protection plan is linked to the risk it has identified in its IRMP. Since our last inspection it has developed its RBIP, which is now informed by local risk. But the service hasn’t been able to meet the demands of its RBIP.

Staff throughout the service are involved in this work, with information exchanged as needed. For example, protection team members carry out audits of premises. And full-time operational crews carry out hazard spotting to support protection work. Information is then used to adjust planning and direct activity between the service’s protection, prevention and response functions. This means resources are properly aligned with risk.

The effect of the pandemic on protection

We considered how the service had adapted its protection work during our COVID-19-specific inspection in October 2020. At that time, we found that the service was slow to adapt its protection work for the public. And it stopped most of its protection work between April and June 2020.

Since then, the service has carried out audits over the phone and has improved the way it works with other organisations to support enforcement activity. But it recognises that inspecting some premises has been delayed due to the pandemic. It expects to address the backlog of audits over the coming year.

Service leaders are confident that it is now targeting the right premises

The service has a risk-based inspection programme, but recognises it has not completed the audits within the set timeframe. For example, 95 high-risk premises, out of 439 identified, were audited during 2020/21. Most (71) of these were short audits. We found that the service isn’t consistently auditing the buildings it has targeted in the timescales it has set. During our inspection, we reviewed several protection files where the high-risk buildings hadn’t been inspected in the last 12 months, contrary to the service’s policy.

The service is on track to audit all high-rise buildings this year

The service has carried out audits at all high-rise buildings in the area. Information gathered during these audits is available to response teams and control operators. This helps them to respond more effectively in an emergency.

The service doesn’t inspect its high-risk premises in line with its policies. And information on its work is inaccurate and incomplete

We reviewed a range of audits of different premises throughout 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.

Not all the audits we reviewed were completed in a consistent, systematic way, or in line with the service’s policies.

The service carries out limited quality assurance of its protection work

The service has a quality assurance policy in place for protection although it recognises that improvement is needed in relation to short audits. Officers carry out a local peer review. But this isn’t monitored, and paper records were inconsistent.

The service isn’t good at measuring how effective its protection work is. Or how to make sure that all sections of its communities get equal access to protection services that meet their needs.

The service hasn’t carried out a prosecution in some time.

The service doesn’t routinely use its full range of enforcement powers. We found it has only occasionally progressed to prosecute those who fail to follow fire safety regulations. This is due to the time and resource needed to pursue these cases. But we are encouraged that the service is making improvements in this area.

In the year to 31 March 2020, the service issued one alteration notice, ten enforcement notices, four prohibition notices and didn’t carry out any prosecutions. This is a reduction compared with the previous year. In the last five years, from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2020, it has only completed one prosecution.

The protection team doesn’t have enough resources to meet demand

After our first inspection, we recommended that the service improves its protection resources. This would help make sure it had enough to support a prioritised and risk‑based inspection programme. During this inspection, we were shown a plan that addressed this. And more resources have been introduced over the last year.

During our inspection, it was too early to understand how good the service’s plan is in supporting its risk-based inspection programme.

The service doesn’t have enough qualified protection staff to support its audit and enforcement work.

Staff are trained in line with National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) guidelines. Currently, there is a focus on training protection staff who are ‘in development’ and needed to provide critical capacity that the department needs. (Staff ‘in development’ are receiving the training they need to complete to fulfil their role.)

The service has improved how it works with others, but recognises that it needs to do more

The service exchanges information with other enforcement organisations to regulate fire safety. This includes the Care Quality Commission, building control and Lincolnshire County Council. The service also has a representative at the regional enforcement group. This group also includes staff from Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire fire and rescue services (FRSs). These FRSs form the NFCC East Midlands Region. They discuss matters relating to their protection responsibilities.

The service responds to building consultations promptly

The service responds to most building consultations on time. This supports its statutory responsibility to comment on fire safety arrangements at new and altered buildings. In the 12 months to 31 March 2021, the service received 461 building consultation requests. It responded to 456 (98.9 percent) within the required time. It also completed 220 of 223 licensing consultations (98.7 percent) in the required time.

The service’s work with local businesses is limited

The service could do more to work with local businesses and other organisations to promote compliance with fire safety legislation.

We were told that, due to a lack of capacity, the service doesn’t take part in the primary authority scheme. This is where local businesses could benefit from fire safety advice.

The service recognised that it needs to improve. It recently employed a new member of staff and signed up to the better business engagement scheme, a government project to encourage closer working with businesses and regulators.

The service has reduced unwanted fire signals

An effective risk-based approach is in place to manage the number of unwanted fire signals (automated signals to the service from fire alarms). The service now has a policy to challenge any 999 call associated with a fire alarm. And it works with businesses and organisations to reduce the number of unwanted fire signals.

It gets fewer calls because of this work. In the year ending 31 March 2020, the service attended 2,541 false fire alarms. This represents 3.4 incidents per 1,000 people in Lincolnshire. This compares with an average rate of 4.1 per 1,000 people in England. Only 8 percent of emergency calls to the service in 2020/21 were automatic fire alarms (AFAs). This is one of the lowest proportions throughout all services in England. The service didn’t attend 46 percent of these AFAs in 2020/21 (577 of 1,257).

Fewer unwanted calls mean that fire engines are available to respond to a genuine incident, rather than responding to a false one. It also reduces the risk to the public, with fewer fire engines travelling at high speed on the roads.

Read the cause of concern progress letter

4

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

Good

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

Lincolnshire 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 make sure its mobile data terminals are reliable so that firefighters can readily access up-to-date risk information.
  • The service needs to assure itself that Control Staff have the appropriate level of training and can respond to complex and challenging incidents.

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

Response standards and wholetime availability are good

The service’s response plan is linked to the risks identified in its IRMP. Its fire engines and response staff, as well as its working patterns, are designed and located to help the service to respond flexibly to fires and other emergencies. The service has introduced an assured level of response for its main stations. This means that its 15 fire stations are assessed and prioritised for availability to respond to incidents.

The service uses risk-based, pre-determined attendances to decide how many fire engines, and what types of resources, are needed to respond to different types of incidents.

The service has set response targets, some of which it doesn’t meet

There are no national response standards of performance for the public. But the service has set out its own response standards in its IRMP. The service details its response standards in the IRMP:

  • First fire engine to arrive at domestic fires within the expected time, which is dependent on location, on 100 percent of occasions.
  • Second fire engine to arrive at dwelling fires within 25 minutes on 100 percent of occasions.
  • First fire engine to arrive at road traffic collisions within the expected time, which is also dependent on location, on 100 percent of occasions.

The service’s performance data shows that it didn’t achieve the first and third targets listed above during 2020/21. It achieved them on 90 percent and 81 percent of occasions respectively. Performance standards have improved following the introduction of the Lincolnshire Crewing System. This is in place at eight of the nine stations staffed by full-time members of the workforce. This involves staff working in the daytime and being on-call out of hours in fire service accommodation, for 24-hour periods. But some staff told us that they found this difficult to juggle with family and home life as they can be away from home for long periods of time.

Home Office data shows that in the year to 31 March 2020, the service’s average response time to primary fires was 10 minutes and 20 seconds. This is in line with the average for other predominantly rural services (10 minutes and 27 seconds).

The service’s on-call availability has been declining for several years

To support its response plan, the service aims to have its on-call firefighters available 91 percent of the time. But it doesn’t always achieve this standard. It achieved 87.6 percent availability during 2020/21. This was an increase due to the unique availability of on-call staff during the pandemic. The service also has a degradation plan that supports moving and adjusting resources when levels of staff availability fall.

Responding officers are competent in incident command

The service has trained incident commanders. They are assessed regularly and properly. At 31 March 2021, 267 of the 273 incident commanders were accredited within the required times. The remainder (six) didn’t carry out incident command. This means the service can safely and effectively manage the 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 the service at all levels of command. The ones 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).

The service could do more to improve the training given to control room staff

We are disappointed to find that the service’s control room staff aren’t always included in command, training, exercise, debrief and assurance work. But control room staff do complete training as part of the East Coast and Hertfordshire Consortium. This ensures business continuity for each control room. This includes the fire services of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Humberside and Hertfordshire. Plus, they can access risk information from all services in the consortium.

The service has been slow to update fire survival guidance training

The control room staff we interviewed are confident they could provide fire survival guidance to many callers simultaneously during a major incident. This was identified as learning for fire services after the Grenfell Tower fire. Staff have access to action plans and fire survival guidance. But we found that the guidance still pre-dates the learning recommendations. The guidance is currently being updated, then control room staff will be trained on it. This is expected to take place within the next 12 months.

The control room has good systems to exchange real-time risk information with incident commanders, and other responding organisations and supporting fire and rescue services. Maintaining a good awareness of emergency incidents as they are happening helps the service to provide the public with accurate and relevant advice.

Storing information following debriefs is inconsistent

As part of our inspection, we tried to review a range of emergency incidents and training that should have resulted in debriefs to identify good ways of working or areas where lessons can be learned. But, due to the way this information is stored, it was not possible to find an audit trail for the debriefing process. We were told that the service intends to introduce a new system to address this. At the time of our inspection, this was due to go live in June 2021.

Since our last inspection, the service has introduced an operational learning board to improve the way it learns lessons. This is a local forum where information from the service’s own debriefs and lessons learned, as well as from other services and responders throughout the country, is reviewed. Any learning is communicated to all staff via a quarterly publication and staff must confirm that they have read it.

We are encouraged to see that the service is contributing towards, and acting on, learning from other fire and rescue services. And it’s using operational learning gathered from other emergency service organisations it works with.

The service is making progress with incorporating national operational guidance

After our first inspection, we recommended that the service introduce a plan to make sure that national operational guidance was followed. This was to include joint and national learning, and the service was to make sure that it was clearly communicated throughout the organisation. It is making good progress with this and has a clear, well‑documented plan.

This is communicated to staff in a newsletter and there have been dedicated events to promote this work.

Appropriate provisions are in place to communicate with the public if there is an incident

The service has good systems in place to inform the public about incidents that pose a risk, and help keep them safe during and after incidents. This includes working with Lincolnshire County Council’s communications team. Although the team doesn’t work 24/7, alternative arrangements are in place for when there are incidents outside typical working hours.

5

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

Good

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service is good at responding to major and multi‑agency incidents.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service was good 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).

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

The service has plans and preparations in place for large or multi-agency incidents

The service has anticipated and considered the risks and threats it may face. These risks are listed in both local and national risk registers as part of its IRMP. For example, it has a corporate risk register that details risks such as flooding and high-rise incidents.

It is also familiar with the significant risks that neighbouring fire and rescue services could face that it might be asked to respond to in an emergency. The service has systems in place to share and receive risk information. And firefighters have access to risk information from neighbouring services, which includes risks up to 10km from the county border.

Responses to large and multi-agency incidents are rehearsed and well resourced

We reviewed the arrangements the service has in place to respond to different major incidents. This includes widespread flooding and large-scale industrial fires.

Staff reported that they are confident to ask for and mobilise national response assets. We were also told that multi-agency exercises take place. For example, an exercise at Lincoln Cathedral, and exercises with the RAF (with which the service has a long-term and strong relationship).

The service has good arrangements in place, and staff understand them. For example, the service has national resilience assets that include a high-volume pump, an urban search and rescue unit, and boat teams.

Specialist terrorist attack response teams are in place to respond to incidents in four counties

The service supports other fire and rescue services that respond to emergency incidents. For example, it has a specialist marauding terrorist attack team that responds to incidents in Leicestershire, Peterborough and Nottinghamshire. It is intraoperable with services in these areas and can form part of a multi-agency response.

The service could do more to make sure that its cross-border exercises are available to more staff

The service has a cross-border exercise plan with neighbouring fire and rescue services. This helps them to work together effectively to keep the public safe. The plan includes the risks of major events that the service could provide support or ask for assistance from neighbouring services. Exercises have significantly reduced during the pandemic, with eight exercises being carried out in the year 2019/20 and none in 2020/21.

We also heard from some staff that they have not been involved in either a cross‑border exercise, or multi-agency training. The service should consider offering this training to all operational staff.

The service has adopted JESIP principles

The incident commanders we talked to had been trained in, and are familiar with, the JESIP.

The service could provide us with strong evidence that it consistently follows these principles. This includes JESIP principles being incorporated throughout their training and all officers being able to confidently explain how and why they would apply them.

The service plays an active role in the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum

The service has good plans in place to respond to emergencies with other organisations that make up the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum . The forum is a multi‑agency network that plans and prepares for local and catastrophic emergencies. These arrangements include making sure that there’s enough funding for the forum to work effectively.

The service is a valued member of the forum. The chief fire officer has carried out the deputy chair role, and often the chair role, throughout the pandemic. Service staff are also part of the programme management and project groups. The service takes part in regular training with other forum members. It uses the learning to plan responses to major and multi-agency incidents. The service takes part in the forum’s joint exercise programme, and holds its own exercises and invites other forum members to take part.

National learning is considered and communicated to staff

The service keeps up to date with joint operational learning updates from other fire services and from lessons learned from other blue light organisations. This is used to adjust plans that have been made with other organisations it works with. The service considers national learning at a regular forum, and relevant information is communicated to all operational staff.

English Cymraeg