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Promoting improvements
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Tyne and Wear 2021/22

Read more about Tyne and Wear

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.

Roy Wilsher

Roy Wilsher, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services

HMI summary

It was a pleasure for the team to revisit Tyne and Wear 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 Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service in keeping people safe and secure from fires and other risks, although it needs to improve in some areas to provide a consistently good service. For example, the service needs to improve fairness and diversity in the workforce and how it develops future leaders.

We were pleased to see that the service has made progress since our 2018 inspection. The service is now more effective and has secured a sustainable financial future. But more work is needed to make the service a good place to work for everyone.

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

  • The service needs to do more to improve fairness and diversity to better reflect the community it serves. The service also needs to do more to support staff with developing leadership and managerial skills, at all levels of the service.
  • The service has made good improvements with training for risk-critical skills and how it prepares operational commanders to manage incidents. The service has also improved its prevention activities in people’s homes.
  • We also found the service is good at financial management and collaborating with partners and other agencies to provide an overall efficient and effective service to the public. But improvements are not always aligned to risk or provide the most efficient way of delivering the service.

Overall, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is providing a good service to the public and is financially sustainable. The service also continues to respond well to the pandemic, playing a leading role in supporting other agencies with testing and vaccination in the local area.

However, the service needs to improve ways to promote diversity and fairness within its workforce and do more to support and develop current and future leaders. The service also needs to continue to drive efficiency in operational delivery through innovative practice and transformational change.

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 27/07/2022
Good

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is good at providing an effective fire and rescue service.

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

It has improved areas of its prevention activity identified in round one, so we now grade it as good. But activity must be aligned to strategies and plans that are current and aligned to the integrated risk management plan (IRMP).

The service has adopted an approach to presenting its plans to the public that we found difficult to follow. From the plans presented it was difficult to understand how contributions from prevention and protection are fully represented in the IRMP. The service continues to be good at protecting the public by regulating fire safety measures and we are pleased to see it is on target to complete extra work required after the fire at Grenfell Tower.

The service has made improvements to its operational response, which we identified were needed in its round one inspection. It continues to have good plans in place to deal with major incidents and to 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

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s overall efficiency is good.

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

The service is investing in frontline resources and digital and data transformation. It is good at working with other organisations to generate savings for the public.

The service does, however, need to continue to take steps to reduce how much it relies on pre-planned overtime. It also needs to further develop its business continuity plans.

The service is affordable now and for the immediate future. Although it could make further efficiencies to its operations through making innovative changes.

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

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

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

The service has made good improvements with skills and training and building trust in the promotion process.

For most people, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is a positive place to work. Although some members of staff have said that they feel unheard and under‑represented.

The service needs to do more to promote fairness and diversity, especially in attracting staff from ethnic minority backgrounds, to be more inclusive/reflective of the local community.

The service also needs to do more to support and develop leaders at all levels.

 

View the four questions for people

Key facts – 2020/2021

Service Area

208 square miles

Population

1.15m people
up2% local 5 yr change

Workforce

98% wholetime firefighters
2% on-call firefighters
0.52 per 1000 population local
0.56 national level
down10% local 5 yr change
down5% national 5 yr change

Assets

17 stations
25 fire engines

Incidents

5.7 fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
2.2 non-fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
5.4 fire false alarms per 1000 population local
3.8 national

Cost

£28.48 firefighter cost per person per year
£25.22 firefighter cost per person per year (national)

Judgment criteria

English Cymraeg