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Shropshire 2021/22

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This is HMICFRS’s second full assessment of fire and rescue services. This assessment examines the service’s effectiveness, efficiency and how well it looks after its people. It is designed to give the public information about how their local fire and rescue service is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable with other services across England.

The extent to which the service is effective at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks is good.

The extent to which the service is efficient at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks is good.

The extent to which the service looks after its people is good.

Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services

HMI summary

It was a pleasure to revisit Shropshire 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 Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service in keeping people safe and secure from fires and other risks. For example, the service is effective in preventing fires and is well prepared to respond to major and multi-agency incidents.

It is pleasing to see that the service has made progress since our 2018 inspection. The service has further improved the good levels of performance found last time. It has enhanced its arrangements for protecting the public through fire safety regulation. It has also improved how well it develops leaders and capability within the service.

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

The service has identified risk effectively through its community risk management plan. It has strategies in place to direct its prevention, protection and response activities to the identified risks.

Encouragingly, the service has a clear set of values and a positive culture throughout the organisation. Inspection teams found that staff enjoyed working for the service and that workplaces were positive, supportive environments.

The service is good at managing its finances and collaborating with other organisations to give the public an efficient and effective service.

But there are still some areas the service needs to improve. It needs to have robust measures in place to communicate effectively lessons learned from operational incidents. Its fire safety inspection programme needs to target risk more effectively. And the service should use the full range of its fire safety enforcement powers.

Overall, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service provides a good service to the public and is financially sustainable. It continues to respond well to the pandemic and supports other organisations in local testing and vaccination.

The service has identified future challenges, such as sustaining its high levels of fire engine availability by using on-call staff. It has embarked on a project to address these challenges.

I look forward to assessing progress on this and the other areas identified for improvement at our next inspection.

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 27/07/2022
Good

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

Shropshire 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 to its communities. It has used a range of information, and consulted widely, to produce a comprehensive community risk management plan (CRMP). The information in the plan has helped the service to review its response standards to better serve its communities.

The service continues to be good at preventing fires and other risks. It has improved its use of social media to help promote campaigns and communicate safety messages.

We are pleased that the service has provided more qualified protection staff to target risk more effectively. But the service should assure itself that its use of enforcement powers prioritises the highest risks and includes proportionate activity to reduce risk.

The service has improved its operational response since our inspection in 2018. It still has good plans in place to deal with major incidents and work with neighbouring fire and rescue services.

View the five questions for effectiveness

Efficiency

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

Last updated 27/07/2022
Good

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

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

The service has good financial management arrangements in place and a range of assurance measures to keep control of its spending. Scenario planning is used effectively so that strategic plans are robust.

Staff productivity continues to improve, and the service is collaborating well with other organisations to increase capacity and capability. But it could improve further with better use of technology and enhanced evaluation of its partnerships.

The service has a sound understanding of future financial challenges and has a good track record of effective financial management. But the future opportunities the service has identified to make savings or generate further income are limited in scope.

View the two questions for efficiency

People

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

Last updated 27/07/2022
Good

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is good at looking after its people.

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

The chief fire officer and other senior officers in the service have a strong purpose and have shown leadership in prioritising the values and culture in the organisation. This is evident from the effective measures the service has put in place to look after its people.

The service has created a positive working environment where staff feel valued and listened to. Standards of behaviour the service has set through the workplace charter are well understood and demonstrated.

The service seeks to establish a culture of learning and development. It makes courses and opportunities available to all staff, although training arrangements for control staff aren’t robust.

Since our last inspection, positive action awareness and understanding has improved throughout the organisation. Further innovative practices have also been introduced to advance equality, diversity and inclusion, such as the Voices group.

Performance development reviews are now mandatory for staff. And the service has introduced the career progression gateway process to identify staff suitable for progression. The service should consider reviewing these processes as we received mixed feedback from staff about their efficiency and effectiveness.

 

View the four questions for people

Key facts – 2020/2021

Service Area

1,347 square miles

Population

0.51m people
up5% local 5 yr change

Workforce

42% wholetime firefighters
58% on-call firefighters
0.89 per 1000 population local
0.56 national level
down4% local 5 yr change
down5% national 5 yr change

Assets

23 stations
30 fire engines

Incidents

2.3 fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
2.2 non-fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
3.0 fire false alarms per 1000 population local
3.8 national

Cost

£26.80 firefighter cost per person per year
£25.22 firefighter cost per person per year (national)

Judgment criteria

English Cymraeg