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Warwickshire 2021/22

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This is HMICFRS’s third 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 requires improvement.

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

Before I provide my assessment of Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, I would like to pay tribute to the late Chief Fire Officer Kieran Amos, who sadly died in November 2021.

Kieran retired earlier that year after 30 years of service in the fire and rescue sector. He joined Warwickshire FRS in April 2019 and much of his service in Warwickshire was spent leading the service’s response to the pandemic. During this time, the service worked steadfastly with other organisations to support the communities of Warwickshire.

Kieran is much missed by all those who knew him and we are indebted to him for his service.

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

I want to thank the service for working with us by accommodating the virtual approach of this inspection. These inspections would normally be conducted using a hybrid approach but inspecting against the backdrop of the pandemic meant we had to inspect virtually. I also want to recognise the disruption caused by the pandemic. This has been considered in our findings.

We are satisfied with some aspects of the performance of the service. For example, we are pleased to see that the service is contributing to its local community by operating a hospital-to-home scheme on behalf of local health trusts. The scheme transports patients who are ready for discharge from hospitals and helps people who might be vulnerable. We are also pleased to see that the service is good at tackling fire-setting behaviour and responding to national risks.

However, we are disappointed that the service has not made the progress we expected since our 2018 inspection. We identified three causes of concern:

  • the service hasn’t got better at detecting who are the people most at risk from fire and doing prevention work with them to reduce the risk posed to them;
  • the service hasn’t done enough since 2018 to identify high-risk premises; and
  • although the service has tried to improve diversity and inclusion since our 2018 inspection, its approach to this has made its staff disengage.

Moreover, in our last inspection we found the service’s ICT systems were unreliable. Regrettably, the service still hasn’t improved them, and this is hindering its work.

We also found that parts of the service don’t have enough trained people to do the work needed. This means that the service can’t work towards achieving its priorities.

Finally, we found that the service doesn’t do enough to check how long staff have worked on shifts, which means that it doesn’t always know if firefighters are fit for duty.

This year, we identified three recommendations. The service should:

  • develop a prevention plan which makes a priority of people most at risk from fire;
  • do better at identifying high-risk premises; and
  • take a proportionate approach to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 12/01/2022
Requires improvement

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

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

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service has not made the progress that we would expect since our inspection in 2018.

It has developed a new integrated risk management plan (IRMP) and identified the risks in the community as part of that. But the risk information available to firefighters still isn’t always up to date.

The service hasn’t made progress in making sure it targets its prevention work at people who are most at risk from fire. It has a significant backlog in this area. The service has made the needed investment in its protection team. But it is not yet seeing the benefit of this. So, we haven’t seen any improvement yet in its risk-based inspection programme. We did see an improvement in the level of enforcement action.

We found the service is good at responding to national risks. But it is not meeting its targets for responding to emergencies in its own communities.

View the five questions for effectiveness

Efficiency

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

Last updated 12/01/2022
Requires improvement

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

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

We found that the service hasn’t made progress since our 2018 inspection on some important developments. These developments would improve its response and training capability.

In 2018 we also found the IT systems were out of date and unreliable. The service still hasn’t improved them. This hinders it in performing some statutory functions.

Some parts of the service don’t have enough people with the right training and skills. So, the service can’t work towards the priorities in its IRMP. The service doesn’t manage staff performance in a way that lets it direct resources at priorities.

The service also isn’t collaborating enough with others to improve efficiency.

View the two questions for efficiency

People

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

Last updated 12/01/2022
Requires improvement

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

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service required improvement in its 2018/19 assessment.

Since we last inspected Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2018 it has put a greater emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusion, which is to its credit. But we found that its approach isn’t always proportionate and it has left its workforce disengaged.

The service has a set of values but we didn’t find these shown consistently.

Staff value the service’s wellbeing support. But we found that the service still doesn’t have a wellbeing plan or evaluate its provision.

There are some areas of health and safety that need improvement. We found that the service doesn’t monitor the working time of its staff to make sure they are fit for duty.

The service provides good risk-critical training for its staff but other training is inconsistent. Staff still feel that the promotion processes aren’t fair.

 

View the four questions for people

Key facts – 2020/2021

Service Area

764 square miles

Population

0.58m people
up5% local 5 yr change

Workforce

76% wholetime firefighters
24% on-call firefighters
0.55 per 1000 population local
0.56 national level
up6% local 5 yr change
down5% national 5 yr change

Assets

17 stations
23 fire engines

Incidents

1.8 fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
1.6 non-fire incidents per 1000 population local
2.7 national
2.6 fire false alarms per 1000 population local
3.8 national

Cost

£25.05 firefighter cost per person per year
£25.22 firefighter cost per person per year (national)

Judgment criteria

English Cymraeg