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Merseyside 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
Good

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

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

The service has identified and assessed a range of fire and rescue-related risks that could affect its communities. It has used a range of information, and consulted widely, to produce a comprehensive integrated risk management plan. The information in the plan has enabled the service to review its response standards, as well as change the staffing and location of fire stations to better serve its communities.

Staff from the service’s prevention, protection and response teams can readily access this information to prevent or mitigate risks for the public. They also contribute regular updates as they complete visits, inspections and audits.

The service has taken learnings from the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry to reduce risk. It is on track to have assessed the risk of each high-rise building in its service area by the end of 2021 and has completed a fire safety audit for all high-rise, high-risk buildings in its area. It is good that the service has also reviewed how many fire engines are sent to fires in high-rise buildings to determine the right level of response. (There are 256 high-rise buildings in Merseyside.)

The service works closely with other organisations in the public and voluntary sector, as well as with the police and ambulance services, to identify people at greatest risk from fire. For example, a recent study with Liverpool John Moores University.

It is good at sharing risk information with other organisations when it identifies vulnerability. However, it doesn’t review the number of referrals to other organisations generated by home fire safety visits. This means it is missing opportunities to review how it targets this activity.

In 2018, we gave the service an area for improvement to ensure that it allocates enough resources to a prioritised, risk-based inspection programme. We are encouraged to see that it now has enough qualified protection staff to meet the requirements of its (risk-based inspection) programme.

The service consistently uses its full range of enforcement powers and, when appropriate, prosecutes those who fail to comply with fire safety regulations.

It has prioritised resources to be able to respond to a range of incidents in its area. It also trains and works closely with other fire and rescue and emergency services so that it can respond effectively to multi-agency and cross-border incidents. We are impressed with the service’s approach to maintaining staff skills and competency in this area, particularly its innovative Sunday Six training plan.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

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

Good

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is good at understanding risk.

Merseyside 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.

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 effective at identifying risks within its communities

The service has assessed an appropriate range of risks and threats after a thorough integrated risk management planning process. When assessing risk, it has considered relevant information collected from a range of internal and external sources and data sets. Such information includes:

  • incident data over one, five and ten years, which is analysed to determine whether certain types of incident are increasing or decreasing;
  • performance data, which is used to measure performance against key (performance) indicators;
  • types of incident are reviewed and linked to risk factors such as social deprivation, mapping, time of day and other trends; and
  • community mapping with Liverpool John Moores University.

When appropriate, the service has consulted and undertaken constructive dialogue with communities and others. In 2019 it hired an independent research company to work with the public on its integrated risk management plan.

The company made sure the public panel includes representative members of Merseyside communities – that is, a good mix of age, ethnicity and gender. The last panel included 14 members of the community who have a limiting, long-term illness. Some of the panel members had taken part in previous panels and some were new.

The service also consults with staff and representative bodies.

The service has an effective integrated risk management plan

After assessing relevant risks, the service has recorded its findings in an easily understood integrated risk management plan. This plan describes how prevention, protection and response activity is being or will be effectively resourced to mitigate or reduce the risks and threats its communities face, now and in the future.

The latest version of the plan includes actions to:

  • improve the home fire safety strategy by including deprivation;
  • increase the number of available fire engines in the day and at night;
  • increase the number of protection officers; and
  • review the capability of the fleet.

The service has used its integrated risk management plan to review response standards. It has also used it to change the staffing and location of fire stations to better serve its communities.

The service has good processes in place to share risk information across the organisation

The service routinely collects and updates risk information about people, places and threats it has identified as being the highest risk. For example, operational crews gather risk information such as hoarding and oxygen use as they carry out safe and well visits. They complete and submit a risk information form which is shared with prevention, protection and response staff. This information enables them to identify, reduce and mitigate risk effectively.

Another example of how the service shares risk information is from the protection team. They notify fire control when they serve formal notices so that the information is entered in the mobilising system and available to operational staff attending incidents.

Where appropriate, the service exchanges risk and ongoing incident information with other organisations. For example, at the Resilience Direct national fire group, a national group that includes other FRSs, partner agencies and local resilience forums, that it chairs.

The service uses local and national operational activity to inform its understanding of risk

The service captures 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 has an operational intelligence and planning team that works with its operational improvement group to review and update pre-determined attendance parameters for fire control. This helps ensure that it can respond to fires and other emergencies with the appropriate resources.

The service has responded positively and proactively to learning from the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry

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.

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

It has carried out a fire safety audit and collected and passed relevant risk information to its prevention, protection and response teams about buildings identified as high-risk and all high-rise buildings with cladding like that at Grenfell Tower.

In addition, the service has reviewed how many fire engines are sent to fires in high‑rise buildings. (There are many high-rise buildings in Merseyside.) This is to determine the right level of response and assure the public.

2

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

Outstanding

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is outstanding at preventing fires and other risks.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service was outstanding 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.

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

The service’s prevention strategy is clearly linked to its integrated risk management plan

The service’s prevention strategy is clearly linked to the risks identified in its integrated risk management plan. It is based on internal and external data and intelligence.

Prevention work doesn’t take place in isolation, with risk information sent to other relevant teams across the service. Risk information is used to adjust planning assumptions and direct activity between the service’s prevention, protection and response functions. For example, when these functions share information about hoarding and oxygen users and update the mobilising system to reflect operational risks.

The impact of COVID-19 on prevention activities

We considered how the service had adapted its prevention work during our COVID-19 specific inspection between 28 September and 2 October 2020. At that time, we found it had adapted its public prevention work appropriately.

We were pleased to see the service continued to adapt its prevention activities during the first waves of the pandemic. For example, prevention staff and operational crews posted home fire safety leaflets where they would have done in-person campaigns. This includes day, winter warmth, older persons day and Christmas campaigns. Staff continued to visit high risk individuals and support mass vaccination and test centres.

The service effectively targets its prevention activities

The service’s strategy outlines their commitment to making every contact count and the person-centred approach. We saw evidence of this with the high number of visits completed. This has been maintained since our first inspection. In addition, the service undertakes evaluation of its prevention activities to ensure they are consistently targeting the most at risk.

Prevention activity is clearly prioritised using a risk-based approach towards vulnerable individuals and groups most at risk from fire and other emergencies. The service uses past incident data, index of multiple deprivation, and health data to target its home fire safety activities. It provides specialist equipment such as fire‑retardant bedding, oil filled radiators and letter box blanking plates to reduce fire risks in higher risk properties.

The service also proactively targets its activities to reduce anti-social behaviour, arson and violence, and improve water safety. We saw positive examples of its community work to increase awareness and reduce the risk of fire and other emergencies.

Staff are competent to carry out home fire safety and safe and well checks

Firefighters told us they have the right skills and confidence to do home fire safety visits.

Dedicated prevention staff receive extra training that covers a range of hazards that can put vulnerable people at greater risk from fire and other emergencies.

The service regularly checks how staff conduct visits through observation and feedback.

Staff understand vulnerability and have the confidence to respond to safeguarding concerns

The service has an eLearning safeguarding training package for all staff and separate training for staff with extra safeguarding responsibilities such as working with young, vulnerable people and/or out of hours.

Staff we interviewed told us they feel confident and have been trained to act appropriately and promptly.

We saw good examples of safeguarding referrals being made after fire-related incidents and home fire safety visits. The service reviews all safeguarding referrals made.

The service works well with others to reduce the number of fires and other emergencies

The service works with a range of partners such as Merseyside Police, NHS, Public Health England and local authorities to prevent fires and other emergencies.

We found good evidence that it routinely refers people at greatest risk to other organisations that may be better able to meet their needs. Arrangements are in place to receive referrals from others such as adult social care, hospitals, police and youth workers. The service acts appropriately on the referrals it receives. For example, it assesses all referrals to consider the risks and best course of action.

The service routinely exchanges information with other public sector organisations about people and groups at greatest risk. It uses the information to challenge planning assumptions and target prevention activity. For example, the service works with Merseyside Police and local authorities to target anti-social behaviour and arson. It also works with young people through the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership.

The service proactively addresses 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. A team of dedicated arson prevention officers work in the community to target anti-social behaviour and engage with communities. And trained staff work with young people aged between 4 and 18 years to provide one-to-one intervention.

The service receives referrals from other organisations, as well as after fire-related incidents. It uses information gathered during fire investigations to work with the police to prosecute arsonists.

The service quality assures and evaluates some prevention activities

The service has good evaluation tools in place for its home fire safety activities. These tools measure how effective its work is so that it knows what works, and that its communities get prevention activity that meets their needs. There is a quality assurance process in place to check how staff undertake visits.

In September 2018, academics from Liverpool John Moores University worked with the service and Public Health England to review the content of safe and well visits. The study found that the service wasn’t targeting the people most at risk from dying in a fire, so it evaluated and readjusted its targets. (It has stopped bowel cancer screening and now focuses on social isolation, alcohol, smoking, falls and blood pressure.)

However, we found that the service does not review the number of referrals to other organisations generated by home fire safety visits. This means it is missing opportunities to review how it targets this activity.

During the inspection, other organisations were evaluating some of the service’s activities. For example, the winter warmth campaign and the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership. However, the service has not evaluated its prevention partnerships, to understand their effectiveness and benefit to the public.

3

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

Good

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is good at protecting the public through fire regulation.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service was good 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.

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

The service’s protection strategy is clearly linked to its integrated risk management plan

The service’s protection strategy is clearly linked to the risk it has identified in its integrated risk management plan.

Staff from across the service are involved in protection work, with information effectively exchanged as needed. For example, the operational crews who undertake checks on low-risk properties for familiarisation and to identify potential further risk and then forward to protection team where necessary.

We are encouraged to see the outcomes of fire safety audits are fed into prevention and response activities.

The service’s risk-based inspection programme aligns activity to risk

The service’s risk-based inspection programme is focused on its highest risk buildings.

Since our last inspection, the service continues to adjust the definition of high-risk premises in its risk-based inspection programme. It has also increased the number of performance indicators to have better oversight of protection activity and ensure it remains a priority.

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

The service has carried out fire safety audits at all the high-rise buildings it has identified as having cladding like that at Grenfell Tower. Information gathered during these audits is made available to response teams and control operators to enable them to respond more effectively in an emergency.

The service 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 service completes audits in line with its policies

We reviewed a range of audits carried out at different premises across the service including:

  • 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 were completed to an acceptable standard, in a consistent, systematic way, and in line with the service’s policies. Relevant information from the audits is made available to operational teams and control room operators.

The service’s current system doesn’t log the dates that audits are due for completion. This means it cannot assure itself that audits have been completed on time and within their targets. It has purchased a new system to address this.

The service undertakes some quality assurance of protection activity

The service has good evaluation tools in place to measure the effectiveness of its protection activity and make sure that all sections of its communities get appropriate access to the protection services that meet their needs.

We are encouraged that the service undertakes quality assurance of all visits that result in a formal outcome, such as an enforcement notice. However, the service should consider sampling a wider range of visits.

The service is proactive in its enforcement activity

The service consistently uses its full range of enforcement powers and, when appropriate, prosecutes those who fail to comply with fire safety regulations.

In the year to 31 March 2020 the service issued:

  • no alteration notices;
  • 41 enforcement notices; and
  • 28 prohibition notices.

It undertook two prosecutions.

The service has expanded its protection team to meet the requirements of its risk-based inspection programme

Following our 2018 inspection, we gave the service an area for improvement to ensure that it allocates enough resources to a prioritised, risk-based inspection programme. We are encouraged to see that the service has enough qualified protection staff to meet the requirements of its (risk-based inspection) programme.

The service has addressed the risk of losing green book (civilian) staff to the private sector by including more grey book (operational) roles in the team. (Staff employed under grey book terms and conditions tend to stay with the service for longer; green book terms and conditions don’t tend to be competitive with the private sector.)

It has also employed a fire engineer, which enables it to provide the appropriate range of audit and enforcement activity needed.

Staff are trained in line with the national competency framework.

The service is proactive in establishing partnerships to regulate fire safety

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

A member of the building risk review team has the role of authority liaison officer. The service benefits from this single point of contact, whose responsibilities/involvement with other agencies includes:

  • co-ordinating joint activity such as high-rise visits;
  • organising data sharing more efficiently;
  • organising joint inspections, for example, inspecting takeaways with the local authority; and
  • organising joint actions, for example speaking to landlords about fire protection after an inspection.

The service responds well to building consultations

The service responds to all building consultations on time, so consistently meets its statutory responsibility to comment on fire safety arrangements at new and altered buildings.

We are encouraged to see the protection department using technology to manage building consultations. It can now receive all initial building control applications from the five local authorities in its area online, rather than through the paper copies previously used.

A central team in Liverpool carries out the majority of consultations. It is well resourced and has access to a qualified fire engineer.

The service could be more proactive in its approach to local businesses

The service could do more to engage with local businesses and other organisations to promote compliance with fire safety legislation. This is partly due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. However, the service has missed opportunities to engage with local business and promote fire safety. It is aware of this and has a plan to address it.

The service’s unwanted fire signal policy is effective

The service has an effective risk-based process to reduce the number of unwanted fire signals (UWFS). It supports this by taking a consistent, robust approach with the worst offenders.

Fewer UWFS make fire engines available to respond to a genuine incident (rather than responding to a false one), as well as reducing the risk to the public with fewer fire engines travelling at high speed on the road.

In the year ending 31 March 2021, there were 3,849 automatic fire alarm (AFA) requests in the service area. This is a reduction of 34 percent from the previous year. The service did not attend 52 percent of these AFAs (please see our ‘About the data’ webpage for more details).

4

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

Good

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

Merseyside 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 it has procedures in place to record important operational decisions made at incidents, and that these procedures are well understood by staff.

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

The service models risk to understand demand and vulnerability

The service’s response strategy is linked to the risks identified in its integrated risk management plan. Its fire engines and response staff, as well as its working patterns, are designed and located to enable the service to respond flexibly to fires and other emergencies with the appropriate resources.

The service uses risk modelling to understand demand and vulnerability in its area. This has enabled it to make efficiencies that do not negatively affect its response standards and availability. For example, in October 2020 the service merged Eccleston and Parr Stocks stations to create St Helens station. And it varies its shift systems by area to best serve their communities.

The service consistently meets its response standard

There are no national response standards of performance for the public. But the service has set out its own response standards in its integrated risk management plan, including a ten-minute response standard to all life-risk incidents. It consistently meets that standard.

Home Office data show that in the year to 31 March 2020, the service’s response time to primary fires was 7 minutes and 19 seconds. This is in line with the average for predominantly urban services.

The availability of fire appliances (engines) supports the response standard

To support its response strategy, the service aims to have 100 percent of fire engines available on 100 percent of occasions. As a wholetime only service, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service has the resources to consistently meet this aim.

Incident commanders are trained to the appropriate command level

Following our 2018 inspection, we gave the service an area for improvement to ensure that staff know how to command fire service assets assertively, effectively and safely at incidents. This should include regular assessment of command competence.

Since then, the service has trained and accredited incident commanders who are assessed regularly and appropriately. Ongoing assessment includes reflective logs, incident assessments and assessments at the training and development academy . This enables the service 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. Those 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).

Fire control is involved in service training, debriefing and assurance activity

We are pleased to see the service’s control staff integrated in the service’s command, training, exercise, debrief and assurance activity.

In our 2018 inspection, we found that fire control staff did not have the same high quality of training received by firefighters. We are encouraged to find that since then fire control has been brought in line with the rest of the service in terms of training, recording training and debriefing.

Fire control can provide fire survival guidance to multiple callers

The fire control room staff we interviewed were confident they could provide fire survival guidance to many callers simultaneously. This was identified as a learning for fire services after the Grenfell Tower fire.

The service has created a compulsory eLearning package on fire survival guidance for fire control staff. However, we are concerned that it may be too theoretical and has not been sufficiently tested through practical training.

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

Risk information is easily accessible to staff

We sampled a range of risk information associated with several properties involving short and long-term risks. The sample included what is in place for firefighters responding to incidents at high-risk, high-rise buildings and what information is held by fire control.

The information we reviewed was up to date and detailed. It could be easily accessed and understood by staff. Encouragingly, it had been completed with input from the service’s prevention, protection and response functions when appropriate.

The service has a system in place to evaluate its operational performance

As part of the inspection, we reviewed a range of training events to help the service respond to emergency domestic, commercial and road traffic collision incidents.

We are pleased that the service routinely follows its policies to assure itself that staff command incidents in line with operational guidance. Internal risk information is updated when new information is received.

The service has an operational improvement group that considers significant incident reports, and reviews case studies and national or joint operational learning. This information is exchanged with other interested partners such as local authorities.

The service has responded to learning from incidents to improve its service for the public. We are encouraged that since our last inspection the service has improved its debrief process. All the staff we spoke to have a good understanding of the process and the value of capturing learning.

We are also encouraged to see the service contributing to, and acting on, learning from other fire and rescue services, as well as operational learning gathered from other emergency service partners. For example, we reviewed documents that the service has produced to capture learning that it has shared with other fire and rescue services.

During the inspection we found that the service closely monitors its national operational guidance action plan. It has a team in place to ensure that relevant policies and procedures are updated or adapted as necessary. However, during reality testing, understanding of operational discretion (this allows incident commanders to use their professional judgment to make decisions in an unforeseen situation at an incident) and use of decision-logging varied.

The service is good at communicating incident-related information to the public

The service has good systems in place to inform the public about ongoing incidents and help keep them safe during and after incidents. It uses social media (Twitter) to provide regular updates regarding incidents. The website is used less so but is updated with information about significant incidents. (A significant incident is anything that could affect public safety, firefighter safety or improve organisational understanding.)

The service is also part of the local resilience warn and inform group.

5

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

Outstanding

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is outstanding at responding to major and multi‑agency incidents.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service was outstanding 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).

Innovative practice

The service’s preparedness team has developed a Sunday Six training programme to address six local and national risks: flooding, high-rise buildings, marine, wildfire, terrorism, and recycling and waste incident types. Topics are rotated every eight weeks to ensure that every watch (team) receives the training, which was adapted and provided virtually during the pandemic.

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. These risks are listed in both local and national risk registers as part of its integrated risk management plan.

We are impressed with the service’s approach to maintaining staff skills and competency in this area. Its Sunday Six training plan covers six subjects: flooding, high-rise, marine, wildfire, terrorism, and recycling and waste. Subjects are rotated every eight weeks to ensure that every watch (team) receives the training, which was adapted and provided virtually during the pandemic.

The service is also familiar with the significant risks that could be faced by neighbouring fire and rescue services that it might reasonably be asked to respond to in an emergency. These include marauding terrorist attacks (MTAs) and large fires. Firefighters have sufficient access to risk information from neighbouring services to effectively support over border incidents. The service increased its capacity to respond to MTAs after the tragic incident in Manchester Arena in 2017.

The service has the capability to respond to major and multi-agency incidents

We reviewed the arrangements the service has in place to respond to different major incidents. These include counter terrorism and COMAH (control of major accident hazards) exercises, and high-rise training. Staff we spoke to felt prepared for such incidents. This is reflected in an extensive multi-agency, major and over border training record, which shows the service’s commitment to training and testing.

Additionally, the processes in fire control include consistent action plans (processes) for major incidents. Operational staff told us they had received additional training in high-rise incidents.

The service works well with other fire services

The service is the lead authority for national resilience. It also hosts the national resilience fire control.

The service is well-versed in JESIP and how to deploy local and national assets across the country. It uses interoperable radio channels, that it tests regularly, to ensure that staff can communicate across borders should they send (or receive) a fire engine over a border.

The service exercises with other services

In 2019/20, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service undertook:

  • eleven multi-agency training exercises;
  • seven national resilience exercises; and
  • four cross-border exercises.

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 associated with major events that the service might be asked to respond to, or request assistance from neighbouring services.

We are encouraged to see that feedback from these exercises is used to inform risk information and service plans.

Managers across the service have a good understanding of JESIP

The incident commanders we interviewed had been trained in and were familiar with JESIP. These are national principles which support all emergency services in working together at incidents.

The service could provide us with strong evidence that it consistently follows these principles. The principles are frequently the subject of training for all levels of staff. They are also included in the service’s incident command procedures (those relating to operational assurance).

The service has good arrangements in place to work with partners

The service has good arrangements in place to respond to emergencies with other partners that make up the Merseyside resilience forum.

The forum was established in 2005. It is a multi-agency partnership that includes all the organisations needed to prepare for and respond to an emergency within the county and bordering areas. Its role is to prepare, test and review emergency plans to ensure they are fit for purpose.

The service is represented at all levels in the local resilience forum:

  • executive: the deputy chief fire officer is on the executive group;
  • strategic: an area manager and a group manager are on the business management group; and
  • tactical: there is representation from all levels of the service on the forum’s five working groups.

In terms of specific roles:

  • the group manager leads on preparedness and response;
  • the service chairs the risk working group; and
  • the service is represented on the transport and telecommunications working groups.

During the first waves of the pandemic, the service was able to maintain its statutory functions while supporting the national effort. The chief fire officer led the support for the pandemic and the deputy chief supported the local resilience forum.

The service uses national learning to inform its plans

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