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Staffordshire 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 requires improvement.

The extent to which the service looks after its people requires improvement.

Wendy Williams

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

HMI summary

It was a pleasure to revisit Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, and I am grateful for the positive and constructive way that the service engaged with our inspection.

I am satisfied with some aspects of the performance of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service in how effectively it keeps people safe and secure from fires and other risks, but there are areas where the service needs to improve and performance in some areas of the service has deteriorated since our 2019 inspection.

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

The service is good at how it identifies risks in its communities and puts appropriate measures in place to mitigate those risks. And it is good at how it identifies those people in its communities who are most at risk from fire and works with its partners to good effect to reduce this risk.

The service also has good financial management and collaboration arrangements in place.

But there are some behaviours in the service which are not in line with the service’s values which is having a detrimental effect on staff. And the service isn’t sufficiently prioritising work to improve inclusion and diversity.

Response standards and the availability of its fire engines have got worse and the service isn’t sure it has identified all its high-risk premises. The service also doesn’t use its workforce in the most efficient way to make sure that work is appropriately directed to the risks and priorities identified in the integrated risk management plan (IRMP).

Overall, while there are some good aspects of the performance of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, there are a number of areas where performance has declined since the last inspection and I expect to see progress made against these. We will continue to monitor progress through our usual monitoring arrangements.

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 27/07/2022
Good

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

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

We found Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to be good at how it identifies risks in its communities and puts appropriate measures in place to mitigate those risks. For example, it quickly identified all of its high-risk, high-rise buildings and carried out audits on them.

We also found the service to be good at how it identifies those people in its communities who are most at risk from fire and works with its partners to good effect to reduce this risk. Although the number of safe and well visits it carried out during the pandemic reduced, it still carries out more than the rate for services in England and makes sure that these are better targeted at those who need them most.

We were disappointed to find that, since our last inspection, the service can’t be sure that it has identified all of its high-risk premises or that it is carrying out enough audits compared to its own annual target. But it has improved its use of enforcement powers against those businesses that don’t comply with fire safety regulations.

We were also disappointed to see a deterioration since our last inspection in the service’s performance against its own response standards and the number of fire engines it has available. But we did find that the service is well prepared to respond to major and multi-agency incidents.

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
Requires improvement

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

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

We found the service to have good financial management arrangements in place so it can understand how it spends its money. And it has good plans in place for future reductions in its funding.

It collaborates well with the police which means it can be more efficient in the way it uses its fleet and buildings. But we did find that the technology it uses doesn’t always help staff to do their jobs effectively.

We were disappointed to find since the last inspection that the service isn’t using its workforce in the most productive way. It doesn’t clearly understand whether the work they do is directed to the risks identified in its IRMP. The service’s response model relies on the use of overtime. At the time of our inspection, a high level of vacancies meant this impacted on resource availability.

View the two questions for efficiency

People

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

Last updated 27/07/2022
Requires improvement

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service requires improvement at looking after its people.

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

We were disappointed to see a deterioration since our last inspection in the way the service looks after its people. We saw examples of behaviours that were inconsistent with the service’s values and the service has not placed enough priority on making the service more inclusive and diverse.

The service isn’t communicating effectively with staff on those things that matter to them. But it has recognised that it needs to improve and is working to identify where and how it needs to improve.

Although the service is good at identifying the skills its staff need, we found there aren’t always enough training courses available. We also found the service doesn’t fill vacancies quickly enough and doesn’t have a clear plan for how it will deal with the large number of staff who are expected to leave the service in the next few years.

We did find the service to be good at how it looks after the health, safety and wellbeing of its staff and it has put in place arrangements to identify and support those staff who have the potential to develop into leadership roles.

View the four questions for people

Key facts – 2020/2021

Service Area

1,049 square miles

Population

1.14m people
up2% local 5 yr change

Workforce

41% wholetime firefighters
59% on-call firefighters
0.52 per 1000 population local
0.56 national level
down23% local 5 yr change
down5% national 5 yr change

Assets

33 stations
46 fire engines

Incidents

2.8 fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
1.5 non-fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
2.6 fire false alarms per 1000 population local
3.8 national

Cost

£19.53 firefighter cost per person per year
£25.22 firefighter cost per person per year (national)

Judgment criteria

English Cymraeg